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Is There Any Sugar Free Milk For People With Diabetes?

Milk contains a lot of nutrients essential for the human body. However, its carbohydrate content can affect blood sugar, which is a concern for diabetic people. Milk contains a natural sugar called lactose which when consumed by diabetic people can cause problems. To counter this problem, several brands have come up with sugar free milk. This type of milk is not actually free from all sugar content. It’s next to impossible to drain all lactose from milk.

As a result, milk goes through a certain process to separate lactose in sugar for instance galactose and glucose. In this form, the sugars are safe and easier to digest for people with diabetes. Natural milk from cows contains high amounts of carbohydrates. Therefore, diabetic people should factor this into their carbohydrate content.

On the other hand, skim milk contains low fats and calories and therefore a good option for diabetic people who still prefer cow milk.

Milk and Type 2 Diabetes Risk

There are different considerations to take into place when choosing no sugar milk for people with type 2 diabetes. One should focus on focus on carbohydrate intake as compared to fat. Still, not all fats are unsafe for diabetic people.

How to make milk part of your meal plan

There are several options for lactose free milk for diabetic people. They include:

Lactaid

lactaid milk

Lactaid is made from regular milk supplemented with lactase enzyme. The role of lactase is to split lactose from milk.

Lactaid milk sugar is also popularly known for making sugar free ice cream and cheese.

Lactose free milk is sweeter than normal milk despite containing no lactose.

The reason is that lactase breaks lactose into glucose and galactose making it sweeter and healthy for people with diabetes.

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Soya milk

Soya milk is another form of sugarless milk ideal for people with diabetes. This type of milk is made out of soya beans. It is relatively low in carbs and tends to have a chalky feel taste.

Unsweetened soya milk contains as low as 1.0g of carbs per 1000ml. This makes it healthy for people living with diabetes as it helps keep low blood glucose levels.

Also, soya milk contains a calorie content of 30 calories per 100ml. to understand which version of soya milk works best for you, it’s advisable to try a variety of them.

Pro Tips: Check “Now Foods Organic Soy Milk Powder” on Amazon

Milk, Soya, Glass, Carton, Blue, Drink, Beverage, Kid

Almond milk

Almond milk contains no lactose or cholesterol. Instead, it’s rich in nutrients such as fiber, protein, calcium, selenium, etc. it’s a healthy drink for diabetic people as it provides a high antioxidant and flavonoid content. Sugar free almond milk can have a mild almond flavor and sweetness. On the other hand, unsweetened almond is more conspicuously nutty. Diabetic patients looking for milk with low calorie, sugar free almond milk is a great choice.

Typically, sugar free almond milk contains between 10-25 calories per ml. Also, it contains low carbs than cow milk with an unsweetened flavor containing 0.1g per 100ml. The sweetened flavor contains as low as 3g carbs per 100ml. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk contains less carbs and calories making it ideal for people with diabetes. Super high in deliciousness, almond milk is a favorite milk swap. If you are sensitive to soy or dairy milk, the sugar free sweetened condensed almond milk can be a great choice.

Remember to check on ingredients like added sugar to avoid those milk brands with undesirable add-ins.

Rice milk

This is a sweeter version of sugar free skim milk. It’s very tasty but watery at the same time. The sweetness makes it not ideal for people with diabetes.

However, the unsweetened flavor can be a good alternative. While the sweeter version contains around 10g of carbs, the later contains as low as 0.2g of carbs. Rice milk contains no cholesterol or lactose. It also contains no significant amounts of calcium or protein.

Coconut milk

When I say coconut, most people might confuse with coconut water which drained out of an open coconut. However, sugar free coconut milk is made from the white flesh of a ripe coconut.

This sugar free milk contains saturated fats, vitamins, minerals, calcium, potassium, and more. It contains 2g of carbohydrates and 30 calories per 100ml.

Hemp milk

Hemp milk tastes almost similar to cow milk. It’s ideal for diabetic people due to relatively low carb and calories. It contains as low as 3g of carbohydrates and 40 calories per 100ml.

Oat Milk

Sugar free oat milk has similar nutritional values as rice milk. It lacks pronounced sweetness making it a better candidate for recipes where sugar is not needed. While it may contain high amounts of calories, its low in fat and has around 6g of carbs. Its lactose free milk, ideal for people with diabetes.

However, it contains gluten and thereby people sensitive to gluten should take caution. Unsweetened oat milk sugar free is the best choice for diabetics.

Nut milk

While it contains no lactose, there are plenty of other allergens you need to take concern of. It’s high digestible and contains high amounts of proteins. Sugar free nut milk has a creamy consistency similar to soy milk. It can also be used to make no sugar added ice-cream.

Skimmed milk

This is a relatively low fat version of whole milk. The only difference is the fat content whereby skimmed milk contains 0.3g per 100ml while whole milk has 8g per glass of milk.

Because skimmed milk contains less saturated fats, it’s a great option for people looking to lower cholesterol levels. It also contains natural sugar which has less effects on diabetic people, unlike whole milk.

Cashew milk

This is one of the latest non-dairy milk alternatives. The unsweetened version contains low calories with other brands containing fortified calcium.

A glass of unsweetened cashew milk is healthy for people living with diabetes. Typically, one glass contains 0g sugars, 1.0g carbs, 30 calories, and 2.5g fats.

Camel milk

Camel milk is low in fats and cholesterol. It can be consumed by lactose intolerant people like diabetics. It’s a good alternative to enjoying sweetness similar to milk chocolates.

Particularly, patients suffering from type 2 diabetes can greatly benefit as camel milk contains natural insulin for the regulation of sugar levels in the blood

What type of milk should I avoid?

Its recommended avoiding milk contain high saturated fats, carbs, calories, and sugar. Such include

Flavored Milk

A good example is sweetened chocolate milk which contains 10g of added sugar per glass. While flavored milk is sweet, it’s not ideal for people living with diabetics. As an alternative, it’s recommended to take no sugar added chocolate milk which contains low carbs and calories. For instance, Lindt milk chocolate no sugar added contains 0g sugar, 3 carbs, and 40 calories.

Whole milk

For people living with diabetes, high fat diets can worsen insulin resistance. You should never think of drinking whole milk as it contains excess fats and sugar. Instead, pick 1% sugar free skim milk. Also, avoid other dairy products made from whole milk, for instance, cream cheese, yoghurt. You can choose their unsweetened versions such as the coconut milk sugar free ice cream, nestle sugar free powder, and more.

Therefore, when buying cow’s milk alternatives:

  • Check for total carbs and ensure to include them
  • Go for unsweetened brands with no added sugars
  • Ensure the milk is fortified with key nutrients such as calcium
  • Know the fat type contained in milk. Also, consider the amount as high fat content tend to affect insulin resistance.

The FAQs About Sugar Free Milk

Q. Is there any sugar free milk?

Answer: Naturally, milk is not sugar free. Instead, it contains high amounts of fats and lactose. To remove the excess sugars, milk is processed and lactose separated from it. Separating glucose and galactose is either through evaporation or chemical isolation. This way, we now have to sugar free milk with its natural sugars removed.

We also have sugar free milk from non-dairy alternatives such as soy, coconut, and almond. Even low fat milk contains some amounts of sugar. Therefore, it’s hard for people living with diabetes to find completely removed sugar free milk. A good number of these milk products are not actually milked at all. They are just milk-like beverages only that they contain less amounts of sugar. For instance, the sweetened version of almond milk is rich in natural sugar despite being a non-dairy product.

However, evaporated milk products offer a solution where you can find ‘sugar free milk’. Powered and evaporated milk is such type that is usually dehydrated and later sold as dry crystals. During the dehydration process, milk tends to lose much of its sugar. Still, only a handful of them is truly sugar free. People living with diabetes should check on the labels for undesirable add-ins containing sugar.

Q. What kind of milk should diabetics drink?

Answer: The kind of milk for diabetics goes down to taste and preference in terms of flavor, their daily diet as well as daily carb intake. For instance, people looking to lower their carb intake are advised to make almond and flax milk as they contain relatively low carb rates.

Cow milk contains a lot of carbs and people living with diabetes should factor this on their daily carb count. As a good alternative, skim milk is the best. It contains low saturated fats and calories making it an ideal option for lactose intolerant people. Therefore, glucose monitoring should be the key when determining the best milk for diabetics.

Q.  Is the sugar in milk bad?

Answer: It depends. Research shows that sugar in milk is generally not bad. A good number of people find it difficult to digest sugar (lactose) and will get intestinal upset. In addition, sugar in milk adds little nutritional value to such people. While this is true, sugars provide energy to the body in the form of glucose. It’s only that excess sugar tends to cause problems in the body such as insulin deficiency, insulin resistance, stress, and more. Both dairy and non-dairy milk contains some amount of sugar. Therefore, natural simple sugars are healthy as they contain enough carbs to power your body and brain. If you have to take milk, then avoid those containing added sugars due to a negative impact on health.

Q.  What is the healthiest milk?

Answer: Milk is considered healthy as it contains enough amounts of vitamins, essential fatty acids, proteins, and more nutrients. All forms of milk are created differently. Nutritional differences are vast. Different milk options present a variety of health advantages such as boosting your antioxidant intake. For lactose intolerance people, plant-based milk like almond is the best option. However, remember this will reduce protein and riboflavin intake. These nutrients are important to the body. While it’s not safe to drink raw milk, heating tends to compromise some of the essential nutrients in it. Therefore, pasteurized milk is a healthy drink to consider.

A noble strategy can be mixing a variety of them and drink. In that line, you will get nutritional values from each, particularly when you consume them alongside healthy diet plans. Always check labels for ingredients that may present undesirable effects on your health. For instance, people with diabetes should avoid added sugar in milk brands. For underweight people, added sugar is a good occasion. If you are overweight, then added sugar is not a welcome addition

Final Thought

Milk is a controversial topic. With a wide range of milk types in the market, it difficult to choose the best for each individual needs. From fat free to whole milk, plant based to the diary, chocolate shakes to almond types, there is plenty in the list. This makes it more confusing on what sugar free milk to buy.

With a rise in the popularity of plant-based types, one may end up thinking they are the best choice for cow milk. People always assume non-dairy milk alternatives are healthy. To make the best choice, always check on the content of each verse its pros and cons. In addition, go for milk containing no added sugar and low carb content.

Related Reading:

  1. Chinen Salt For Diabetes: Does it Really Help?
  2. When to Take Metformin Before or After Meals

Dr. SM Kamal Hasan, MBBS(Medicine), Rangpur Medical College and Hospital Rangpur- Dinajpur Highway, Cantt, Near Central Jail, Rangpur 5400, Bangladesh