10 Lowest Calorie Milk Options (Complete List)

Maybe you’re looking for a lower-calorie replacement for the whole milk in your coffee, or a lactose-free, plant-based milk alternative to add to your morning smoothie. The options can be overwhelming, so here are some top picks, according to a nutrition coach.

Key Takeaways

  • Two of the best low-calorie, high-protein milk options are unsweetened, reduced-fat soymilk and ultra-filtered fat-free cow’s milk . 
  • Plant-based milk alternatives are completely lactose-free and safe for people with milk allergies, but they have less protein than cow’s milk.
  • Ultra-filtered cow’s milk is lactose-free and high in protein but isn’t suitable for people with milk allergies.

What Is Considered a Low-Calorie Milk?

A low-calorie food contains 25% fewer calories than the regular product. 

Since an 8-ounce (oz.) cup of whole cow’s milk contains 150 calories, a low-calorie milk or milk alternative should contain about 110 calories or less.

Why Do the Calories in Milk Matter?

Drinking milk doesn’t cause weight gain, but beverages aren’t as filling as solid food, so it’s easy to drink extra calories without noticing.  

If you are drinking milk or adding it to coffee, cereal, smoothies, or shakes, switching from high-calorie milk to low-calorie milk can be an easy way to remove calories from your diet. 

For example,  switching from a cup of whole milk to a cup of unsweetened almond milk with your morning cereal will remove 125 calories from your meal, which would add up to fewer 875 calories at the end of the week. 

10 Lowest Calorie Milk Products

The top 10 lowest calorie milks are: 

Milk – Per 8 Ounce ServingCaloriesProteinFatCarbs
Unsweetened Almond Milk251g2g1g
Unsweetened Cashew Milk251g2g1g
Flax Milk500g2.5g7g
Sweetened Almond Milk601g2.5g8g
Sweetened Cashew Milk601g2.5g8g
Macadamia Milk701g4.5g7g
Unsweetened Soymilk807g4g4g
Fat-Free Cow’s Milk808g0g12g
Ultra-filtered Fat-Free Cow’s Milk8011g0g7g
Pea Milk904.5g4.5g6g

Almond Milk

almond milk

Unsweetened Almond Milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Carbs: 1 g

Sweetened Almond Milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 60
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 2.5 g
  • Carbs: 8 g

Almond milk is made by blending almonds and water, then straining the mixture. This strained liquid is called almond milk.

Unsweetened almond milk contains the least amount of calories of any milk alternative and fortified versions remain a good source of calcium (approximately 23% of your recommended daily value in 8 oz.). 

This plant-based milk alternative is also cholesterol and lactose-free. However, it is very low in protein at just one gram (g) per 8 oz. serving.

Almond milk is great if you are looking for a milk substitute for your cereal, smoothies, or coffee, but it doesn’t replace the protein found in cow’s milk.

Cashew Milk

cashew milk

Unsweetened Cashew Milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Carbs: 1 g

Sweetened Cashew Milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 60
  • Protein: 1g
  • Fat: 2.5g
  • Carbs: 8g

Cashew milk is made by blending cashews with water and straining the mixture.

Cashew milk is nearly identical to almond milk in every aspect, but it’s less likely to be fortified with vitamins and minerals. 

The other main difference between cashew and almond milk is the taste – cashew milk has a slightly stronger, earthy flavor.

Flax Milk

flax milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 50
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Fat: 2.5 g
  • Carbs: 7 g

Flax milk is made by blending flax seeds with water and straining the mixture.

Flax milk is similar to almond and cashew milk, though it has a thicker consistency and is a little higher in carbohydrates.

Flax milk is high in heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats, but like almond and cashew milk, it isn’t a good source of protein.

Macadamia Milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 70
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbs: 7 g

Macadamia milk is made by soaking macadamia nuts in water for several hours, then blending and straining the mixture.

Like almond and cashew milk, macadamia milk is very low in calories and protein, but it’s higher in fat and slightly lower in carbs

Macadamia milk’s fat content and slight vanilla taste make it a good option as a coffee whitener, and fortified versions also provide vitamin B12.

Unsweetened Soymilk

unsweetened soymilk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 7 g
  • Fat: 4 g
  • Carbs: 4 g

Soymilk is made by soaking soybeans before grinding them with boiled water. The mixture is then cooked, blended to create an even consistency, and strained to remove remaining solid parts.

Soymilk is a good source of plant-based protein and is often fortified with calcium and vitamins A, D, and B12, making it a close replacement for dairy milk

It has a thicker consistency than some other milk alternatives, and some describe it as having a slightly ‘beany’ taste.

Fat-Free Cow’s Milk

fat-free cow’s milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 8 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbs: 12 g

High in protein and low in fat, fat-free milk is a fine choice for someone looking to add protein and carbohydrates to their diet. It’s also a good source of calcium, and fortified with vitamin D.

However, fat-free milk isn’t a feasible option for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies.. 

Ultra-filtered Fat-Free Cow’s Milk

Ultra-filtered fat-free cow’s milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 80
  • Protein: 11 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Carbs: 7 g

Ultra-filtered cow’s milk is made by passing regular cow’s milk through a filter that separates the protein and fat from the water, vitamins, and carbohydrates (including lactose). Then the protein, water, vitamins, and different amounts of fat are mixed together, but the lactose is left out. 

This results in lactose-free milk with more protein and fewer carbs than regular fat-free milk. While it still isn’t safe for people with milk allergies, it won’t cause issues for people with lactose intolerance.

Milk is a rich source of quality protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. It may help reduce age-related muscle loss and promote muscle repair after exercise.”

Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Pea Milk

pea milk

Per 8 Ounce Serving

  • Calories: 90
  • Protein: 4.5 g
  • Fat: 4.5 g
  • Carbs: 6 g

Pea milk is made by grinding yellow split peas into flour, separating the protein from the starch and fiber. This pea protein is then blended with water and strained. 

Like soy milk, pea milk has a higher protein content than most plant-based milk alternatives, with just over half the protein content of fat-free milk.

It is also creamier than most nut milks, making it one of the most cow’s-milk-like substitutes available.

Milk Nutrition Guide

lowest calorie milk nutrition guide

What is Considered a Milk Alternative?

Several different non-dairy, plant-based milk alternatives have hit the market in recent years. It’s not uncommon to see milk alternatives derived from oats, peas, nuts, rice, and other grains lining the shelves of your local grocery store. 

Despite the name, these beverages don’t contain any milk; they’re water-based, which makes them safe for people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies.

While some of these products – like hemp, coconut, and rice milk – are quite high in calories, there are others – like almond, cashew, and  soymilk – that contain less than half the calories found in cow’s milk. 

However, they also tend to contain less protein than cow’s milk, and can lack some vitamins and minerals if they aren’t fortified. 

Most plant-based milk alternatives are fortified with calcium, zinc, and vitamins A, D, E, and B12. However, even with fortification, they aren’t nutritional replacements for cow’s milk.

“The nutrients you get from plant-based milk alternatives can depend on which plant source is used, the processing methods, and added ingredients, so check the label carefully.”

Susan Mayne, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kind of Milk Has the Least Calories?

Unsweetened almond and cashew milk have the lowest calories of the plant-based milk alternatives at just 25 calories per 8 oz. serving. 

The dairy milks with the least calories are fat-free cow’s milk and ultra-filtered fat-free cow’s milk, which both provide 80 calories per 8 oz. serving.

Are There Any Milk Options That Have Zero Calories?

Many plant-based milk alternatives are low in calories because they’re mostly made of water, but there are no milk options that have zero calories. The options with the highest protein also have the highest number of calories.

What is the Best Type of Milk for Weight Loss?

For weight loss goals, it’s best to choose foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients, but there isn’t a single best type of milk.

Unsweetened almond and cashew milk are the lowest in calories and are often fortified with calcium, riboflavin, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. 

On the other hand, unsweetened soymilk or ultra-filtered fat-free milk might be the better option for people trying to eat more protein, and they’re also good sources of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.  

What Milk Has The Most Protein?

Ultra-filtered skim cow’s milk has the most protein at 11 g per cup.  

Soy milk has the most protein of the plant-based milk alternatives at about 8 g per cup. 

Other lower-calorie milk alternatives, such as almond and cashew milk, have just 1 g of protein per 8 oz. serving.

What Milk Has The Least Carbs?

Unsweetened almond, cashew, and coconut milk have the least amount of carbohydrates with just 1 g of carbs per 8 oz. serving.

What Milk Has The Least Fat?

Fat-free cow’s milk and ultra-filtered fat-free cow’s milk both have zero grams of fat. 

Almond milk and cashew milk have the least fat of the plant-based milk alternatives at 2 to 2.5 g of fat.

What Milk Has The Least Sugar?

Unsweetened almond, cashew, macadamia, and soy milks all contain zero to 1 g of natural sugar per serving and no added sugars. 

Unsweetened pea milk and dairy milks contain some natural sugars, but no added sugars.


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About The Author

Gabrielle Fundaro

Gabrielle Fundaro is an ACE-certified Health Coach trained in motivational interviewing, sport nutrition, and the Monash Low-FODMAP program. A former Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Georgia Gwinnett College, she holds a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise from Virginia Tech as well as a BS in Exercise, Sport, and Health Education from Radford University.