The Atkins diet is one of several popular low carbohydrate diets. With Atkins, little or no sugar is allowed and only small amounts of starches, usually those that are more chemically complex 1. The bulk of the calories comes from fats and proteins. Kefir fits nicely into this regimen as a food with low sugar content and a small amount of carbohydrates relative to fats and proteins.
Kefir is a cultured milk product made from just about any type of milk, either animal or vegetable. Its bacteria and yeast produce fermented grains that separate from the base milk mixture. The grains clump into a white or off-white solid substance that looks like cauliflower. Its consistency is similar to yogurt and so is its taste.
- Kefir is a cultured milk product made from just about any type of milk, either animal or vegetable.
- Its bacteria and yeast produce fermented grains that separate from the base milk mixture.
Types of Kefir
List of Sugars & Starches
You can buy or make kefir from whole, nonfat, or low fat cow’s milk, as well as the milk of goats and sheep. Vegetable milk sources include rice, soy, and coconut. You can add any of a number of different flavorings to kefir including fruits, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, onion, and honey. Manufacturers or consumers sometimes add sugar to sweeten the taste.
- You can buy or make kefir from whole, nonfat, or low fat cow’s milk, as well as the milk of goats and sheep.
- You can add any of a number of different flavorings to kefir including fruits, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, onion, and honey.
The Atkins Diet
The Atkins diet limits the amount and type of carbohydrates you eat by having you select specific foods and portions 1. You also eat smaller meals at shorter intervals. The results of these dietary changes are lower and more consistent blood sugar levels and less storage of food energy as fat. As your body begins to burn fat rather than store it, your weight naturally goes down. Atkins dieters initially limit their daily intake of “net carbs” to 15 grams or less, and then gradually introduce more carbohydrates to reach an equilibrium point 1. Net carbs are the carbohydrate content of a food minus its fiber content.
Carbohydrates & Almond Milk
The type of milk used to make kefir and the types and amounts of additives obviously affect its nutritional value. One cup of plain kefir made from nonfat cow’s milk has 110 calories. The 240 g serving contains only 2 g of fat, 12 g of carbohydrate, and 11 g of protein. There is some residual sugar from the milk, about 8 g, which is about 3 percent of the 240 g serving. With 3 g of fiber, the net carbs are only 9 g. Other types of kefir have varying amounts of nutritional advantages and disadvantages.
- The type of milk used to make kefir and the types and amounts of additives obviously affect its nutritional value.
- With 3 g of fiber, the net carbs are only 9 g. Other types of kefir have varying amounts of nutritional advantages and disadvantages.
Kefir and Atkins
Because of the small sugar content and low value for net carbs of most Kefir foods, they should be good for the Atkins diet 1. Unsweetened kefir is similar to cheese in that it contains about 1 g of net carbs for a one ounce serving.
List of Sugars & Starches
Carbohydrates & Almond Milk
What Are the Benefits of Kefir?
Kefir in the Paleo Diet
Is Kefir Good for Acid Reflux?
How Healthy Is Plain Yogurt?
Cheddar Cheese & Diarrhea
Diet for Disaccharide Malabsorption
List of Good Carbs for Diabetics
Lactose Monohydrate & Lactose Intolerance
- Atkins: How and Why Atkins Works
- Kefir: Introduction to Kefir
- Atkins: Phase 1: What You Can Eat in this Phase
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- Today's Dietitian. Milk fat does a body good. Sept 2012.
- Harvard Health. Fermented foods can add depth to your diet. July 2018.
- Turan, I, et al. Effects of a kefir supplement on symptoms, colonic transit, and bowel satisfaction score in patients with chronic constipation: A pilot study. Turkish Journal of Gastroenterology. 2014; 25: 650-656. DOI: 10.5152/tjg.2014.6990
- Hertzler SR, Clancy SM. Kefir improves lactose digestion and tolerance in adults with lactose maldigestion. J Am Diet Assoc. 2003 May;103(5):582-7. doi: 10.1053/jada.2003.50111.
- Liu, Y., Alookaran, J. J., & Rhoads, J. M. (2018). Probiotics in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disorders. Nutrients, 10(10), 1537. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101537
- Su GL, Ko CW, Bercik P, Falck-Ytter Y, et al. AGA Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Role of Probiotics in the Management of Gastrointestinal Disorders. Gastroenterology. 2020 Aug;159(2):697-705. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2020.05.059.
- Rafie N, Golpour Hamedani S, Ghiasvand R, Miraghajani M. Kefir and Cancer: A Systematic Review of Literatures. Arch Iran Med. 2015 Dec;18(12):852-7.
- Food Standards Australia New Zealand. Coordinated survey of alcohol content and labelling of fermented soft drinks – Summary. August 2019.
Don Patton began writing after retiring from an engineering career in 2006. He holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and continued with graduate study in software engineering.