The Best and Worst Milk Alternatives for Blood Sugar

Are you one of the millions of people that wakes up each day, excited to enjoy that warm cup of joe? Maybe you add in some creamer to give it a little more flavor? And if you can’t tolerate dairy (hey, me too!) you may have tried some different milk alternatives, such as almond milk or coconut milk.  

The Best and Worst Milk Alternatives for Blood Sugar

If you’re on the journey to better health, your morning cup of coffee is a great place to start making small changes that can make a big impact. There are many milk alternative options that could either: 1) set you up for success or, 2) make your blood sugar crash faster than lonely carbs on an empty stomach!

Lucky for you, I have a comprehensive review below so you can pick a milk alternative that comes with all the flavor, but without a blood sugar crash hangover.

In order to find the best milk alternative for your health, you need to master label reading! That black and white square, the nutrition facts, on the back of your milk container provides the best resource for getting the best overview of it’s true nutrient density. Here, you can determine: are there a lot of added ingredients? What is the sugar content? What kind of sweeteners, if any, are used? Is there any protein in there?

As always, I’ve done the research for you, and compiled a list of best and worst milk alternatives, along with some of my favorite brands of the best milk alternatives out there!

A note on Plant-Based Milk

Plant-based alternatives for many foods have become popular over the years, so it’s not surprising that there are so many plant-based milk alternatives on the market! 

Some #WWWO (What Would Whitney Order) Tips when picking out milk alternatives:

  • Unsweetened is best!
    • No added sugars means less chance of a blood sugar spike!
  • Look for protein!
    • If your milk alternative has protein it can stabilize your blood sugar and is a great way to get some additional satiety into your diet, helping to keep you full, longer!
  • Limit added ingredients
    • If the list of ingredients is a mile long, and has a lot of words you can’t pronounce, consider nixxing it for a product with less than 5 readable ingredients.

milk alternatives

Worst Milk Alternatives for Blood Sugar- 

Pea Milk 

Have you heard of Ripple? Ripple is a plant-based milk, with the ‘plant’ base being composed of pea protein. 1 serving contains 6 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of protein. Unfortunately though, cane sugar is the third listed ingredient. Following closely behind that is vegetable oil; a known inflammatory oil. 

If you can’t drink nut milks due to an allergy or intolerance, I would recommend flax milk as a nut free option. Even though this plant-based option has some protein, the added sugar and oils is less than desirable for your overall health. 

Instead of this option (which frankly, has the weirdest texture and mouthfeel), use one of our other recommendations, below! 

The Beloved Oat Milk

While this milk seems to be very popular amongst the milk alternative crowd, it is actually the worst for your health and blood sugar. They have the highest grams of carbohydrates because of them being made of oats; a whopping 14 grams per cup, with only 3 grams of protein. 

You may be thinking, But Whitney, I get the unsweetened version! I’m good, right?!

Actually, no. Because of the natural sugar maltose found in oat milk, even an unsweetened version will cause a spike in blood sugar. Maltose has a higher glycemic index, which leads to the unwanted spike and the dreadful crash post-consumption.

You’re better off skipping the oat milk for one of our best options, above. Your health and blood sugar will thank you.

Best Milk Alternatives for Blood Sugar- 

Flax Milk

This milk alternative gets all the stars in my book! With only 2 grams of carbs per one cup, and 8 grams of protein, this is a Whitness Nutrition favorite. I love when I can add in extra protein first thing in the morning, especially with my cup of coffee (enjoyed after a balanced breakfast, of course!). 

Another #bloodsugarbliss favorite, this milk alternative contains a great amount of protein and omega-3’s that are good for heart health! Flax milk is also wonderful for individuals with nut allergies or intolerances. 

My favorite brands? Good Karma and Malibu Mylk.

Almond Milk

Almond milk is a fantastic milk alternative! Coming in at only 1 gram of carbs per serving and 1 gram of protein, this nut milk option is a great swap for better blood sugar balance and overall health maintenance. If you are trying to swap out unnecessary empty carbs, almond milk in your morning coffee is a great place to start!

Not only does it have a low glycemic index, but it also a source of healthy fats and calcium! Some of my favorite brands include MALK and Joi Almond Milk Base. Nutpods is my favorite creamer alternative; containing no sugar and made with both almonds and coconuts, giving it a great creaminess! They also come in a wide variety of flavors. milk alternatives

Pistachio Milk

Whoa, talk about a new fun find! This creamy milk alternative is another option for those looking to change up their choices. It adds a natural nutty flavor to your cup of coffee, with none of the artificial flavorings. Containing only 3 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein, this milk option is a great one for those who dislike the more watery plant-based milk alternatives.

Pistachios are also a great source of antioxidants, healthy fats, and are a great source of potassium! Get all that added benefit in your cup of coffee by switching to unsweetened pistachio milk. I love the brand Táche!

Need more spunk in your cup?

  • Additions like Further Foods Chocolate Collagen (see how well it mixes into coffee here!); not only add flavor and chocolatey goodness, but provided added protein and joint support, too! Not a chocolate fan?This collagen is a great unflavored option and mixes in just as well!
  • Sprinkle cinnamon into your coffee to add warmth, flavor and blood sugar support along with your almond milk!
  • Local to Dallas, or just need some dietitian-approved coffee inspiration for when you want to treat yourself to coffee?! Grab my recommendations, here.

milk alternatives

“For extra support in making healthy and sustainable swaps in your diet, book a discovery call, join the waitlist or pick an appointment time today to work with me and start your journey to real change for real joy and real life”

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  1. Richard McCormick wrote:

    There is this back and forth about Oat Milk. Found this article that states for other reasons mentioned in this article that it’s actually OK for those of us with Diabetes. You might want to read this and for those of us using the Libre’ glucose monitor check that blood sugar after adding it to coffee.

    I made a huge error yesterday, drank allot of whole milk (full fat) and my blood sugars bounced up to 380 so that’s not good.

    Posted 3.2.24 Reply
    • Whitney wrote:

      Oat milk is a high glycemic load on the body. Since I wear a CGM, I can confirm it. There is no fiber and no protein. Whereas milk contains fat, carb and protein you’re better off. Plus, milk is a one ingredient naturally occurring food. Enjoy!

      Posted 3.2.24 Reply