Coconut is one of the healthiest foods on earth. It’s rich in antioxidants, loaded with minerals and healthy fats, and helps fuel your body.
But what about coconut milk?
Coconut is indeed very healthy, but not all of the byproducts are as good for you. For instance, most of the cartons of coconut milk in the stores are loaded with sugar and other harmful ingredients like carrageenan.
Carrageenan is a type of seaweed extract that has been shown to cause gut inflammation, leaky gut, and a damaged intestinal lining. Seaweed is a healthy food, but processing it with high heat and chemicals can have negative side effects.
This happens to be the case for carrageenan, which studies have shown to cause gut inflammation and cancer.
Coconut milk that comes in cartons at the store is also typically loaded up with sugar. So if you do choose to drink coconut milk, make sure it’s the kind that is low carb and sugar-free.
Some types of coconut milk, especially in different countries, may also use carrageenan. If you must have coconut milk, make sure to look at the ingredient list before purchasing.
Is Coconut Milk Allowed On Keto?
Many ketogenic dieters seem to have trouble understanding whether coconut milk is allowed on the keto diet or not. Well, it depends on how you classify it.
It turns out that there are two types of coconut milk available in the market: canned and boxed.
The box version refers to the coconut-flavored liquid, which is sold in small boxes or tetra packs. It is not actual coconut milk. Rather, it’s a mixture of water and powdered coconut flavorings (and often thickened with guar gum). This product contains no saturated fat and very little to no protein.
Also, many brands contain ingredients such as added sugar, which definitely do not fit into the ketogenic diet.
On the other hand, canned coconut milk is much more likely to be keto-friendly, and one of its main ingredients is, in fact, coconut cream (rather than water).
Coconut cream can be low fat or full-fat, depending on which part of the kernel it comes from. Low-fat varieties have about half the calories found in full-fat varieties, but are also much thinner in consistency.
If you want to choose an option that tastes good and is keto-friendly, go for the canned coconut milk.
Otherwise, stick with powdered coconut flavorings or make your own. In any case, it would be best to avoid the boxed version altogether.
On the keto diet, an alternative to coconut milk is ghee, which has a similar consistency but a different taste. Also, being clarified butter, it does contain lactose, although only a small amount.
It can be used for savory dishes and, in some instances, as a replacement for dairy cream in sweet recipes. Butter is another keto-friendly alternative to coconut milk.
How To Use Coconut Milk On Keto
Coconut milk can be consumed in several ways:
- As an ingredient in various keto recipes
- In coffee or tea
- As a substitute for dairy cream
- Straight from the carton as a beverage
- Coconut milk also makes for a great addition to smoothies and shakes. The creamy consistency blends well with other ingredients and complements most flavors.
- If you love sweets, coconut milk is an excellent choice for desserts as well.
When using it as an ingredient, there are numerous ways to include coconut milk in your diet.
1. Make a dairy-free version of whipped cream by mixing in some coconut milk with heavy whipping cream (preferably organic).
2. Use it to replace the dairy in savory dishes like stews, curries, and soups.
3. Create a creamy dessert by mixing coconut milk with your favorite fat bomb recipe (e.g., chocolate or peanut butter fudge).
4. Add a can of full-fat coconut milk to a smoothie instead of using honey or heavy cream.
5. Make creamy keto coffee by mixing coconut milk and butter with some sweetener into your morning cup of Joe.
Is There Any Special Way To Store Coconut Milk?
The best way to keep the freshness intact is to place it inside an airtight container and then in the fridge, where it will keep for a few days.
Make sure not to let it come into contact with any other foods, as the taste of coconut milk can easily be transferred.
Possible Side Effects Of Coconut Milk
Just like any other type of food, coconut milk can affect people differently. For example, it might cause stomach upset and loose stools in some individuals.
This seems to happen more often among those who are not used to consuming large amounts of fat. If you experience this kind of trouble, consider cutting back on your intake to avoid discomfort.
Also, if you’re allergic to coconuts, steer clear of coconut milk and its derivatives, as they can cause serious health problems.
Homemade Coconut Milk Recipe
If you want to enjoy a glass of real coconut milk, rather than the boxed version, here’s how you can make some at home:
- Put grated pieces of young coconuts in a blender with water and blend until smooth.
- Add almond or coconut oil and blend again.
- Pour through a cheesecloth or mesh strainer into a bowl or jar. The mixture will be creamy white.
- To separate the coconut cream, refrigerate the coconut milk for at least 2 hours, then remove the coconut fat from the top of the liquid using a spoon.
Coconut milk is an excellent addition to the keto diet as it helps a lot with achieving fullness, especially when following a low-calorie plan.
It can be used in savory dishes, desserts, or beverages. Coconut milk also makes for a good substitute for dairy cream and butter in various recipes. However, try to avoid boxed versions, as they are usually loaded with additives unless you know how to read the nutrition label.
A homemade coconut milk recipe is a better choice and allows you to control the ingredients used for maximum health benefits.
Lastly, keep in mind that coconut milk can affect different people differently; some might experience bloating and stomach discomfort.
So if you do not like the way it makes you feel, cut back on your consumption to avoid such side effects.