Is Kefir Keto-Friendly Or High Carb?

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Milk products are not always ketogenic so you may wonder how kefir performs in this area. Find out so you don’t undo your keto efforts.

100 grams of kefir contain around 7.48 grams of net carbohydrates.

Even in this portion size of half a glass, kefir is generally too high in carbs to be keto-friendly.

This is even more the case once you start consuming more realistic amounts like a cup.

That means people who want to stay in ketosis want to turn to other drinks like water, coffee, and tea instead of kefir.

How many carbs are there in kefir?

One of the most important details for figuring out whether or not kefir is keto is the number of net carbs in it.

100 grams of kefir contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 7.48 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 7.48 grams

At first, 7.48 may not sound like much but you want to remember this is only half a glass of kefir.

Even if you manage to find a kefir with slightly fewer carbs, you can likely expect similar amounts which means this drink is generally not that keto-friendly.

One cup of kefir is about 244 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 18.3 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 18.3 grams

The more realistic portion size of one cup should make it clear that kefir is actually somewhat high in carbs.

At least in terms of ketogenic diet standards.

Other kefir nutrition facts

In theory, you could potentially consider adding small amounts of kefir to your ketogenic if the other nutrients in it make this worth doing.

People tend to focus a lot on carbs while following keto but other nutrients like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals are still relevant for your health.

100 grams of kefir contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 52
  • Protein: 3.59 grams
  • Carbs: 7.48
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0.96 grams
  • Calcium: 12% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Riboflavin: 10% of the DV
  • Phosphorus: 10% of the DV
  • Folate: 5% of the DV
  • Potassium: 5% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

The extra nutrients in kefir are welcome but at the same time, not that impressive either.

In turn, it is likely not worth adding kefir to your ketogenic diet from a nutrition-only standpoint.

Why kefir is generally not keto-friendly

With some foods, the amounts of carbs are low enough to make you consider it in small amounts.

By quickly going over the keto basics you will understand why this is generally not a good idea with kefir.

You can consider any way of eating that gets and keeps you in ketosis to be a ketogenic diet.

Ketosis is a situation where you lower your carb intake enough to make your body mainly use fat as energy (2).

Exactly how much you need to lower your carb and kefir intake for this depends on details like your weight, exercise habits, genetics, etc.

However, there are some general keto guidelines to get at least some idea of how to approach this diet.

A typical example is that you want to get around 55%-60% of your calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates to get and stay in ketosis.

If you do the calculations, you will likely estimate that you can eat around 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day.

For many diets, this will come down to around 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day.

Since you likely eat other foods with some carbs too, the 18.3 grams in a cup of kefir is generally too high to be keto-friendly.

Even in smaller amounts, you likely don’t want to use this many of your carbs on one drink.

Is water kefir keto?

Since it includes the same word, you may wonder whether water kefir is not keto-friendly too.

Water kefir is actually relatively different from regular kefir. Including in terms of nutrition data.

One cup of water kefir contains around 2.3 grams of carbohydrates (3).

In turn, water kefir is generally keto although you may still need to keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Is Lifeway kefir keto-friendly?

Lifeway is a popular brand of kefir so many people will want to know whether it is suited for ketogenic diets.

One cup of plain, low fat Lifeway kefir contains around 9.6 grams of carbohydrates (4).

That means Lifeway kefir is generally not keto-friendly.

What is your goal with a keto diet?

By now it should be clear that even regular plain kefir is typically not that keto-friendly.

Whether this means that you should not consume this drink at all depends on your situation and goals.

For example, there are people who really need/want to stay in ketosis 24/7.

These individuals generally want to stay away from kefir.

On the other hand, you may want to lose weight or get healthier.

For these goals, kefir could still be a good/acceptable drink. Especially if the enjoyment of drinking it helps you stick to your healthy diet.


Does plain kefir have carbs?

Yes, even just 100 grams of plain kefir contains around 7.48 grams of carbs.

Will kefir break a fast?

Since kefir contains around 52 calories per 100 grams, it will typically break a fast if you consume it in normal amounts.

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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.