In this day and age, the majority of us are familiar with cow’s milk alternatives such as almond milk and soy milk. But did you know that coconuts also have milk?
Ever since we first discovered that coconut milk existed, we have been hooked. However, we weren’t too sure if keto coconut milk was a thing, so we took it upon ourselves to research the nutritional value of coconut milk and how we could incorporate it into the keto diet.
It turns out that you can incorporate coconut milk into your keto, and we are so excited to break down all the important information which you will need to help you add coconut milk to your ketogenic diet.
What Is Coconut Milk?
Let’s get one thing straight. Coconut water and coconut milk are two completely different drinks.
Coconut water is a natural product found directly inside a coconut once you smash it open, whereas coconut milk is made using the pulp of the coconut. Different types of milk can be extracted from the coconut by two different methods:
- During the first part of the process, the flesh of the coconut, otherwise referred to as coconut meat, is grated down and squeezed through a special cloth to give you a thick liquid known as “first milk.”
- The second part involves mixing the “first milk” with water several times and squeezing the mixture through the same cloth until the required consistency of coconut milk is achieved.
The best part of all this?
If you decide to leave the resulting mixture to stand for a while, it separates into a thick and thin layer. The thick layer is also known as coconut cream which contains a whopping 83.2 grams of total fat, and only 5.3 grams of carbs per serving. (*)
Coconut Milk Nutrition: Is Coconut Milk Keto-Friendly?
When it comes to the keto diet, we understand the importance of every food’s nutritional value. This allows us to count the essential macronutrients to ensure we have a healthy and balanced keto diet.
When asking, “is coconut milk keto” ”Does coconut milk have carbs?” ”Is coconut milk high in sugar?” we need to look into the optimum macronutrients for the keto diet and compare.
Remember, there are many varieties of coconut milk, such as canned coconut milk, unsweetened coconut milk, and your standard coconut milk.
Let us look at the nutritional value of one cup of unsweetened coconut milk below (*):
- Calories: 45
- Total fat: 4.8 grams
- Saturated fat: 4.3 grams
- Sodium: 11 milligrams
- Net Carbs: 0.6 grams
Let’s compare this to one cup of normal coconut milk (*):
- Calories: 445
- Total fat: 48 grams
- Saturated Fat: 4.3 grams
- Sodium 29 milligrams
- Net Carbs: 6.4 grams
- Protein: 5 grams
- Potassium: 497 milligrams
Evidently, when it comes to the keto diet, we would prefer to use the low-carb, unsweetened variety due to its lack of carbs. However, normal coconut is high in fat which is also essential for the keto diet.
The high-fat content of coconut milk can help boost us into ketosis, but consumption must be moderated not accidentally to go over the net carb allowance.
Don’t worry; we haven’t forgotten about the huge number of calories that come in a simple cup of coconut milk. These calories are derived from the large number of saturated fats found in coconut milk, but we will explain more down the line.
Coconut Milk’s Hefty Health Benefits
The high-fat content of coconut milk has probably scared you a bit, right? Well, don’t worry; we are here to actually explain how saturated fats are actually beneficial to your health!
Coconut milk comes with a plethora of health benefits, and we simply cannot wait any longer to share with you what this dairy-free, low in carbs, creamy drink can bring to you.
Saturated Fats: Cholesterol Killers
Saturated fats have had a tough time proving their worth within the medical field. Research has suggested that coconut milk and extract from various coconut products such as coconut oil have many health benefits, including lowering your total cholesterol levels. (*) (*)
Scientifically speaking, coconut milk’s chemical composition is mostly of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which have various benefits to our health, from regulating insulin levels to cutting down body fat and helping us with weight loss.
One of the lipids found in coconut milk is called lauric acid. (*) Lauric acid contains anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-microbial properties. Both of these benefits can help prevent and reduce inflammation in the body which helps acts against various diseases.
Source Of Electrolytes
As important as macronutrients are, we need to take into account the micronutrient properties of coconut milk. (*)
One cup of coconut milk contains the following micronutrients as a percentage of their total recommended daily allowance:
- 11% Vitamin C
- 10% Folate
- 22% iron
- 22% Magnesium
- 18% Potassium
- 32% Copper
- 110% Manganese
- 21% Selenium
All of these micronutrients work as electrolytes and help rehydrate our bodies well. During the keto diet, we are expected to naturally lose a vast amount of water, further accentuated when carrying out any form of exercise.
Therefore, it is vital to replenish these electrolytes efficiently, and coconut milk works as a wonderful electrolyte replenishing drink.
Many studies have been carried out to determine the benefit of MCT on weight loss.
Unlike longer-chain saturated fats, MCT does not get stored in the body as fat as it is taken directly to the liver, where it will be converted into energy and ketones. (*)
Further research has concluded that MCT oils and fats can alter your insulin regulation to help reduce incidences of type 2 diabetes and suppress your appetite, which aids in weight loss. (*)
Milk has been notoriously known as a non-vegan drink. Luckily, keto coconut milk is dairy-free and full of good fats that are hard to come by on the vegan diet.
Better yet, those who suffer from nut allergies do not have to worry about drinking coconut milk, unless, of course, they are allergic to coconuts too!
Are All Coconut Products Keto-Friendly?
Keto dieters search far and wide to find the best keto alternatives for their favorite dishes. Luckily for us, unsweetened coconut milk keto and other coconut products like coconut flour are used in many keto recipes.
So why do we love coconut-based products?
Using coconut flour to bake certain goodies is not only low carb but a wonderful way to curb your pastry craving whilst also benefiting from the sweet and sensational coconut flavor.
Coconut milk is also used widely by keto dieters to create many goodies and bakes. It is a trendy milk alternative and for a good reason: taste, nutrition, and keto-friendly.
Leaving your coconut milk to rest will result in separation; however, this forms coconut cream. Coconut cream can be used widely in the ketogenic diet as either a flavoring to thicken your coffee, as a topping for your favorite keto-friendly dessert, or to make a delicious and fragrant South-East-Asian curry!
Question Of The Hour: Is Coconut Milk OK for Keto Diet?
Yes, Unsweetened coconut milk is 100% keto-friendly, in our opinion. One serving size of the unsweetened milk has absolutely no net carbs and therefore can be used liberally to either drink, cook with, or make wonderful keto smoothies!
If you are looking for a thicker, creamier flavor, then by all means feel free to use normal coconut milk. The fat content is still perfect for the keto diet; however, just watch out for those pesky net carbs that may creep up your way.