Choosing the right foods when trying to lose weight can be confusing. What about buttermilk, is it good for weight loss or fattening?
Buttermilk, also known as chaas, is a type of fermented milk drink. You can drink it on its own or use it as an ingredient in certain recipes.
If you have a lactose intolerance or milk allergy you may need to stay away from buttermilk.
The exact nutritional values of buttermilk will vary from brand to brand but by looking at an example you get a better view of how good buttermilk is for weight loss.
Some buttermilk brands add sugar and sweeteners to their products. You generally want to avoid these when trying to lose weight.
While there are more helpful foods and drinks, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by drinking more buttermilk. Find out just how good buttermilk is, when you want to drink it, and how you want to drink it for more weight loss.
Micronutrients in buttermilk
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in buttermilk.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of this example of buttermilk provides you with approximately (1):
- Calcium: 12% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Riboflavin: 9% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 9% of the DV
And a few other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. these are not very large amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams compared to many whole foods.
The thing is that 100 grams of a fluid is more easily consumed than 100 grams of solid food. One glass of buttermilk would already be around 200 grams.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals buttermilk can help you a nice amount with a few vitamins and minerals. However, you will certainly need other nutritious foods.
Fermented foods and weight loss
Buttermilk is a fermented food which means if prepared right buttermilk contains something called “probiotics”. Eating more probiotics, both in food and supplements, may help you with weight loss (2, 3, 4).
For now, the claims about the potential of probiotics for weight loss are not waterproof (7, 8). More studies are required to make statements with more confidence. In any case probiotics will likely not be bad for weight loss and good for health so you might as well include them.
Keep in mind that heating up buttermilk too much destroys a lot of the bacteria. This is something you preferably want to avoid.
Protein in buttermilk for weight loss
Another thing in food that can help you on your weight loss journey is the amount of protein in it.
Buttermilk contains about 3.3 grams of protein per 100 grams. To compare, there are about 25.4 grams per 100 grams in salmon (9).
Compared to whole foods this is not a very big amount. For a liquid buttermilk contains a decent amount of protein.
Protein is considered to be the most filling of the 3 macronutrients. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
Eating enough protein will also help you prevent muscle loss. Muscle helps you burn extra calories throughout the day which is very good for weight loss. Protein calories also take your body more calories to process than calories from carbs and fats.
The amount of protein in buttermilk is more like a nice bonus. You will also need protein from other foods. In any case, some buttermilk can get you started towards your daily goals.
Do keep in mind that overdoing it with protein isn’t good either.
Is buttermilk good for losing weight?
To know whether or not you can drink buttermilk while trying to lose weight you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in buttermilk.
This example of buttermilk contains around 40 calories per 100 grams. 18.1 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (4.8 g per 100 grams).
You may be able to fit some in but buttermilk is generally not suited for low carb diets like the keto diet. It is very easy to go over your daily carbohydrate limit with this drink.
Besides that, this example of buttermilk is on the low side in calories per 100 grams compared to many whole foods. The problem is that buttermilk is a liquid.
Solid food will leave you feeling full a lot longer. Partly because liquid is easier to process, partly because solid whole foods often contain more fiber. Try eating 100 grams of potatoes vs drinking half a glass of buttermilk or any other liquid.
This makes buttermilk not very filling compared to the number of calories it contains. The extra vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and protein are nice but they are likely not enough to make drinking all those calories a good thing for your weight loss.
The particular example of buttermilk used may still be a good weight loss option depending on what other foods you compare it with. For example buttermilk would likely be a more weight loss friendly choice than soda.
Like with most foods, you can have some buttermilk and still lose weight. There are however more helpful additions to your diet if you are trying to lose weight.
When should you drink buttermilk for weight loss?
Consuming calories raises insulin levels, even if it is a moderate carb food like buttermilk. Insulin in turn can mess with the production of sleep hormones. On top of that, your body doesn’t like to digest and sleep at the same time. Sleep is important for your weight loss and health.
For those reasons the best time to drink buttermilk for weight loss is any time that is not right before bed or at night.
Buttermilk won’t be that fattening at night that it means the end of your weight loss journey but you preferably want to stop drinking it a while before bedtime.
How to consume buttermilk for weight loss
You can implement buttermilk in different ways into your diet. Some are better than others for weight loss. First of all you can just drink buttermilk on its own, similar to how you would drink milk. You can also add some spices, berries, or other fruits to your buttermilk.
You can also use buttermilk as an ingredient in other healthy dishes. Some examples include smoothies and oatmeal.
Buttermilk is also commonly used to make foods like pancakes, biscuits, pie, waffles, cornbread, cake, and doughnuts. You generally want to avoid these when trying to lose weight.