Is ricotta cheese keto? Unlike most other dairy products, the answer to this one is a bit complicated. In a nutshell, ricotta cheese is a tad higher in net carbs than most other cheeses but can be a keto-friendly product, as long as you’re careful with the amount you consume.
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta is an Italian soft cheese. Ricotta is made of whey – a byproduct that’s left after milk has been used to make cheese. It’s somewhat similar to cottage cheese in texture, though is usually less crumbly and lighter in taste.
As ricotta is a byproduct of cheesemaking, it can be made from a wide variety of milk whey. Large-scale producers most commonly use cow milk, but sheep, goat, and Italian water buffalo milk whey are also widely used to make ricotta.
A Keto-Cap (aka A Keto Recap!)
If you’re new to keto and want a bit more information, check out our keto beginners guide.
As a quick summary, if you need it, the keto (also known as the ketogenic diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet.
The whole concept of the keto diet is that your body transitions from burning glucose, in simple terms, sugars or carbohydrates, to burning fat as its primary fuel source.
For a keto diet, people will restrict their macros to eating;
- 70% of their calories from fat
- 25% from protein
- 5% from carbohydrates
Sticking to these macros for a period of time will put your body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is when your body has transitioned from burning carbohydrates as its primary fuel source to burning fat for fuel. It is at this point that you will start to see and feel the benefits of the keto diet.
There are a lot of new terms and abbreviations that you may come across, sometimes it can feel like a new language that you need to learn. In order to help you out and keep you on the right track, we have created a keto terms and keto abbreviations guide, bookmark these to make your keto journey easier.
Some people can be put off the keto diet because of the side effects, however, these are only short-lived and the health benefits of keto far outweigh the side effects.
One of the main benefits which attract people to the keto diet is that it can cause significant reductions in insulin levels (by up to 75%) and blood sugar levels, which can be attractive to those that struggle with diabetes, amongst other health complaints.
What is the Nutritional Value of Ricotta Cheese?
Here’s the problem – the nutritional value of ricotta cheese varies between 1) the types of milk whey that was used; 2) the producers.
If you check the internet the carb, fat, and calorie per 100g whole-milk ricotta* will fluctuate, with basically no two counters giving the same information. The best we can do is provide realistic approximates:
- Carbs: 4.1-7.3 grams
- Protein: 10.5-12 grams
- Fat: 10.4-12.3 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0.3-3.5 grams
- Calories: ~150-175
*Yes, there’s skim-milk ricotta as well, but it’s even less desirable on the keto diet due to lower fat content.
How Many Net Carbs are there in Ricotta Cheese?
To calculate net carbs in a product, we need to deduct the amount of fiber from the overall amount of carbs. There’s no fiber in ricotta cheese, which makes calculating net carbs an easy affair.
To put it very simply, at worst the amount of net carbs per 100g whole-milk ricotta cheese is around 7.3g. At best it could be as low as 4.1g net carbs per 100g cheese.
Is Ricotta Cheese Keto Friendly?
Here’s the complicated answer: it can be as long as you’re consuming it in moderate amounts and keep track of your macros.
If you’re buying the mass-produced ricotta as most people do, then you should be fine. Per standard serving (i.e. around 50-60g) even the more carb-heavy kind of ricotta cheese contains only around 2g of net carbs. Meaning, you can freely add a couple of servings per day to your diet without worrying about it too much.
Always check the label on the tub you’re buying to have a solid grasp on what numbers, exactly, you’re working with.
Are There Ricotta Varieties that Aren’t Keto?
There’s a sweetened Ricotta cheese variety, referred to as Crema di Ricotta, typically used as or in a dessert. It is significantly less keto-friendly, standing at 61g net carbs per 100g cheese. Please do not buy this by accident!
Staying hydrated on the keto diet is really important, for more on how much water you should be drinking, check out our guide to staying hydrated on the keto diet.
If you’re planning on dehydrating yourself(!) and drinking alcohol on the keto diet, check out our ultimate guide to drinking alcohol on a keto diet. Also, you may be interested in, how to recover from a cheat day.
Summary: Is Ricotta Cheese Keto?
In summary, yes, ricotta cheese is keto friendly! Just be careful not to go crazy with it as it is one of the higher in carb cheeses, otherwise, enjoy!