Is Butter Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb diet so animal products are often allowed. Find out whether butter is keto-friendly too.

Something to note is that butter can vary somewhat in nutritional details from brand to brand. That being said, there are still some general tendencies.

100 grams of one example of unsalted butter contains around 0.06 grams of carbs.

It should be clear that butter is very keto-friendly in terms of its amount of carbohydrates.

You can use it to pan-fry foods, as a spread, or as an ingredient in a variety of keto-friendly recipes.

One thing you do want to keep in mind is that there are still reasons why you would limit your butter intake.

The main one is that butter contains a lot of calories which still matters on the ketogenic diet. Eating too much of it could lead to weight gain.

Additionally, there is still discussion going on about the impact of butter on health. This will likely also vary from person to person due to differences in things like genes.

Carbs in butter

To figure out whether foods like butter are keto and in what amounts you can eat them, you want to know how many carbs they contain.

100 grams of one example of unsalted butter contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 0.06 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 0.06 grams

Even if different brands of butter vary slightly in their carb contents, it is unlikely that this is ever enough to kick you out of ketosis.

It is fair to say that butter is very keto-friendly.

Especially considering that 100 grams of butter is a lot.

Other nutrients in butter

Carbohydrates are definitely an important nutrient on ketogenic diets but things like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals still matter.

These can also play a role in whether you stay in ketosis and more importantly, how good your general health will be.

100 grams of unsalted butter contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 717
  • Protein: 0.9 grams
  • Carbs: 0.1 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 0 grams
  • Fat: 81.1 grams
  • Vitamin A: 50% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin E: 12% of the DV
  • Vitamin K: 9% of the DV
  • Vitamin B12: 3% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 2% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Besides vitamin A, butter is not too impressive when it comes to vitamins and minerals.

That being said, its high fat content can be helpful for people who struggle with consuming enough calories on their keto diet.

One thing you do want to keep in mind is that there are also kinds of butter that contain more sodium.

It is typically considered to be unhealthy to overdo it with this nutrient so you may need to control your portions of these other types of butter.

Is all butter keto-friendly?

As mentioned, different brands of butter can vary somewhat when it comes to the carbohydrates and other nutrients they contain.

That being said, all somewhat normal butters are keto-friendly.

This includes types like clarified butter (ghee) which contains basically zero carbs (2).

Which butter is good for keto?

Even though they will likely all be very low-carb, there are still different types of butter that can be better or worse for your keto diet in other areas.

The main ways to divide these into categories are salted vs unsalted and grass-fed vs non-grass-fed butter.

First of all, whether salted or unsalted butter is better for your personal keto diet depends a lot on the other foods you eat.

Sodium is an essential nutrient for people but at some point, too much can also be suboptimal for your health.

To solve this, you can estimate how much sodium you want to eat a day and how much of this nutrient the other foods you eat already contain.

You can then see whether salted or unsalted butter would align more with your keto and health goals.

The next category choice is somewhat easier. Most people will agree that the nutrient composition of grass-fed butter is typically healthier (3).

If you have the budget for it, this is likely better for healthy keto diets.

In short, if you already consume a lot of sodium, unsalted grass-fed butter will likely be the best for your keto diet.

How much butter is OK on keto?

By now, it should be clear that butter will not be the food that kicks you out of ketosis.

Even so, this does not mean you can just eat unlimited amounts of this food. Especially if you have certain health goals like losing weight.

The example of unsalted butter contains around 717 calories per 100 grams (1). This is a really big amount.

To figure out how much butter is OK on keto for you, you would estimate how much energy you use throughout the day and how much different types of calories influence your weight.

With this information, you can then estimate how much butter aligns with your weight loss goals.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to be perfect with this right from the start. You can always adjust your portions of butter and other foods if your results are not as desired.

Substitutes for butter on keto

Butter is not the only option when you want to bake or use a spread on the ketogenic diet.

There are many keto-friendly alternatives that you may prefer in terms of taste, health effects, or calorie counts.

Some of the following substitutes may be better on the keto diet:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Nut oils
  • Ghee
  • Nut butters (in controlled portions)

Similar to butter, these substitutes are relatively high in calories. That means you may have to limit your portion sizes to avoid weight gain.

Is butter or olive oil better for keto?

Olive oil is one of the more popular substitutes for butter. You may wonder how these compare for keto diets.

The types of fat in olive oil are typically considered to be healthier than the fats in butter. That would mean olive oil is better than butter for a healthy keto diet.

At the same time, it is fair to say that the research about the differences in health effects between these two options could be better.

That aside, 100 grams of butter contains around 717 calories per 100 grams whereas 100 grams of one example olive oil contains around 884 calories (4).

Lastly, keep in mind that personal preferences matter to some extent too. Enjoying the foods in your keto diet can make it easier to stay consistent.


Is salted or unsalted butter better for keto?

Both not enough or too much sodium can be suboptimal for health. That means whether salted or unsalted butter is better for your keto diet depends on how much sodium your personally need and the other foods in your diet.

Can we use salted butter in a keto diet?

You can likely use at least some salted butter in your keto diet. At the same time, you need to know that consuming too much salt can be suboptimal for your health.

Is unsalted butter high in carbs?

One example of unsalted butter contains around 0.06 grams of carbs per 100 grams. That means unsalted butter is not high in carbs at all. In fact, it is very low in carbs.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.