Is Ricotta Cheese Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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Cheese is often keto-friendly but some options are higher in carbs. Find out whether ricotta cheese is keto-friendly and what other options you have.

Something to note first is that different ricotta cheese brands can vary in terms of carbohydrate content and in turn, how keto-friendly they are.

That being said, one example of ricotta cheese contains around 6 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams.

This is somewhat higher but ricotta cheese is still barely low enough in carbs to be considered keto-friendly.

You will likely have to pay extra attention to your portion sizes and the other foods you eat to stay in ketosis while eating this example of ricotta cheese.

In any case, there are many cheeses that are lower in carbs too. If you like these too, they will likely be smarter choices than ricotta cheese on a ketogenic diet.

How many total and net carbs there are in ricotta cheese

To figure out whether ricotta cheese is keto-friendly for your situation and in what amounts, you want to know how many total and net carbs it contains.

As mentioned, different brands of ricotta cheese can vary in carb content.

One example can offer valuable information but you may want to check the nutrition label of the brand you are considering.

100 grams of one example of ricotta cheese contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 6 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 6 grams

The 6 grams of net carbs in 100 grams of ricotta cheese is just low enough to be considered somewhat keto-friendly.

At the same time, you need to keep in mind that consuming this many carbohydrates will also often be enough to kick you out of ketosis.

One cup of the example ricotta cheese is about 246 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 14.8 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 14.8 grams

By eating more ricotta cheese you will also consume more carbohydrates.

Even though many people will not eat ricotta cheese in this amount, 14.8 grams of net carbs will often be too much to be considered keto-friendly.

Other nutrition details ricotta cheese

In some situations, you can add foods that are high in carbs to your ketogenic in small amounts because they contain a lot of valuable nutrients.

By looking at the other nutrition details, you can figure out whether ricotta cheese is one of these food examples.

100 grams of ricotta cheese contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 148
  • Protein: 9.6 grams
  • Carbs: 6 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 0 grams
  • Fat: 9.5 grams
  • Calcium: 25% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Phosphorus: 17% of the DV
  • Selenium: 16% of the DV
  • Riboflavin: 15% of the DV
  • Vitamin A: 13% of the DV

And other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Ricotta cheese does contain nice amounts of many nutrients but likely not to the extent where you have to make the effort to fit this food into your ketogenic diet.

If you like these nutrients, you can also choose one of the cheeses that are lower in carbs to make it easier to stay in ketosis.

Why ricotta cheese is not always keto-friendly

Ricotta cheese contains a decent number of carbs but that does not mean you can never eat it on keto. Going over the keto basics can help you understand why this is and how to avoid overdoing it.

Ketogenic diets are ways of eating where you lower your carbohydrate intake enough to get and stay in ketosis. Ketosis is a state where your body mainly uses fat as fuel (2).

How low your carbohydrate intake needs to be depends on details like your weight, genes, body composition, exercise habits, etc.

This fact of ketogenic diets makes things more complicated. However, there are still general recommendations that are not perfect but do help you figure out how much ricotta cheese you can eat on keto.

A typical recommendation for people who want to stay in ketosis is to get 55%-60% of their calories from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

If you do the calculations for your calorie intake, you will likely get that you can eat about 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day (not including fiber).

How much ricotta cheese can you eat on keto?

First of all, you need to know that some people are intolerant to cheese. These individuals may want to avoid or limit ricotta cheese even though it is reasonable in carbs.

That aside, with the guidelines above and the number of carbs in the rest of your diet, you can start to figure out how many grams of ricotta cheese you can eat on keto.

For example, let’s say you conclude that you can eat 27 grams of carbs on keto and that you already ate 24 grams in the form of other foods.

In that situation, you would theoretically be able to eat a bit less than 50 grams of ricotta cheese on your keto diet.

You do want to keep in mind that these are rough guidelines. In reality, it is helpful to be able to measure your ketone levels.

Additionally, keep in mind that you may need to limit your portions of ricotta cheese for certain health goals like losing weight anyway.

Even though ricotta cheese is a relatively weight-loss-friendly cheese and even if the number of carbohydrates is low enough to stay in ketosis.

Ricotta cheese substitutes on keto

Something important to note is that not all cheeses contain as many carbs as ricotta. In fact, there are many options that are a lot more keto-friendly.

If you like the taste, texture, and nutrients of these substitutes anyway, they may be better choices on your ketogenic diet.

The values next to these ricotta cheese substitutes are the amounts of net carbohydrates per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8):

  • Gruyere: 0.4 grams of net carbs
  • Brie: 0.5 grams of net carbs
  • Camembert: 0.5 grams of net carbs
  • Muenster: 1.1 grams of net carbs
  • Cheddar cheese: 1.3 grams of net carbs
  • Fontina cheese: 1.5 grams of net carbs

One thing to note about these substitutes is that they are also higher in calories than ricotta cheese.

If your goal of the keto diet is losing weight, this may influence your choice.

How to avoid eating too much ricotta cheese on keto

Another way to approach ricotta cheese on keto is to make sure your portions are small enough to stay in ketosis.

Spreading this cheese on top of your favorite keto-friendly snacks and hoping that you won’t eat too many carbs will typically not be a good idea if you want to stay in ketosis.

Instead, following some of the following tips can help:

  • Estimate beforehand how many grams of ricotta cheese you can eat while staying in ketosis
  • Use this amount of grams in your preparation sessions and put the rest of the ricotta cheese somewhere else
  • Don’t eat unlimited amounts of ricotta cheese while doing other things
  • If you really crave it too much, you may need to buy smaller portions of ricotta cheese

If you notice you are not hitting your health goals, whether these are staying in ketosis or losing weight, you may need to make your portions of ricotta cheese smaller.

Why do you follow a ketogenic diet?

By now you understand that ricotta cheese can sometimes kick you out of ketosis. Especially if you don’t pay attention to your portion sizes.

Whether this is an issue depends on why you follow a ketogenic diet.

More specifically, ricotta cheese can still be decent/good for weight loss and health even if it raises your carbohydrate intake too much to be considered keto-friendly.

Ketogenic diets can be helpful for these goals but there are typically other ways to achieve them too.

On the flip side, there are individuals who need/want to stay in strict ketosis every minute of the day.

If you are in this category, you may still be able to eat ricotta cheese but you want to be very careful about your portion sizes and the other things you eat.

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Is ricotta cheese low in carbs?

100 grams of one example of ricotta cheese contain around 6 grams of carbohydrates. Compared to many other foods this is still relatively low in carbs but compared to other cheeses, this is somewhat higher in carbs. Something to note too is that different ricotta cheese brands can vary.

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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.