Is Coconut Milk Good For You?

Is Coconut Milk Good For You?
4.26 (85.13%) 39 votes

The impact of coconut milk and flaked coconut on cardiovascular disease risk.


What about coconut milk, though, which is rich in MCFAs? Harmful anyway? Harmless? Or helpful?

Some may remember those studies from 2007 that showed that an Egg McMuffin was McDeath on our arteries, olive oil didn’t do anything, and walnuts showed an immediate benefit. Well, that experiment was repeated, but this time with coconut milk. And the arterial reaction to coconut milk was as bad as the McDonald’s.

What about the whole food, though? Flaked coconut, which is just whole dried coconut. Research on defatted coconut flakes shows a cholesterol-lowering effect. That’s no surprise; all whole plant foods have fiber, and fiber lowers our cholesterol.

But this was for coconut flakes with the fat taken out, which isn’t available commercially. What about just regular flaked coconut that you’d buy in a store?

The fat part—the coconut oil—is bad, but the nonfat part of coconuts is good. Put them both together, and does the fat win out, making it harmful? Do they cancel each other out? Or does the fiber win out, making both flaked and whole coconuts helpful?

I’ll give you a hint: she thinks flaked coconut’s just yummy.

And the answer is: just harmless, based on studies of coconut-eating Malaysians.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

What about coconut milk, though, which is rich in MCFAs? Harmful anyway? Harmless? Or helpful?

Some may remember those studies from 2007 that showed that an Egg McMuffin was McDeath on our arteries, olive oil didn’t do anything, and walnuts showed an immediate benefit. Well, that experiment was repeated, but this time with coconut milk. And the arterial reaction to coconut milk was as bad as the McDonald’s.

What about the whole food, though? Flaked coconut, which is just whole dried coconut. Research on defatted coconut flakes shows a cholesterol-lowering effect. That’s no surprise; all whole plant foods have fiber, and fiber lowers our cholesterol.

But this was for coconut flakes with the fat taken out, which isn’t available commercially. What about just regular flaked coconut that you’d buy in a store?

The fat part—the coconut oil—is bad, but the nonfat part of coconuts is good. Put them both together, and does the fat win out, making it harmful? Do they cancel each other out? Or does the fiber win out, making both flaked and whole coconuts helpful?

I’ll give you a hint: she thinks flaked coconut’s just yummy.

And the answer is: just harmless, based on studies of coconut-eating Malaysians.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

Also check out the prequel: Is Coconut Oil Good For You? 

For more context, see my associated blog post: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

103 responses to “Is Coconut Milk Good For You?

Comment Etiquette

On, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

  1. I’m not sure how to apply some of the advise I’m learning from you to my athletic teens.
    Coconut water doesn’t have the fat so is that Ok? My children play rigorous sports practicing about 2 – 2.5 hours per day. In competition they may play 3 to 4 one hour games each day. The sport drink companies have made us believe that replenishing electrolytes is important. I guess they mean salts and minerals that are lost during activity. Do we need to replace “electrolytes”? Is coconut water a good healthy and natural source instead of a sports drink which is loaded with sugar?
    I’ve also heard chocolate milk is one of the best post game recovery drinks. I guess chocolate soy milk would be better than chocolate cow’s milk despite the added sugar. Is sugar bad if you are a young healthy, in-shape athlete? If you are playing multiple games in a day with little break time in between, many athletes need fuel and hydration but they can’t have anything heavy on their stomachs to prevent cramping. That’s why I believe chocolate milk has been recommended as satisfying that criteria.

        1. That’s nonsense. Coconut Water is very rich in Potassium. You seem to have forgotten about the importance of getting minerals, not just phytochemicals.

    1. These are great questions, Lisa. I will try to address each one at a time.
      First, you are right about coconut water. This is the clear juice in the cavity of the coconut. This differs from coconut milk, which is made from pressed coconut meat. Coconut water contains almost none of the saturated fat found in coconut milk.
      Now, here’s the scoop on electrolytes. It is true that we lose these minerals when we exercise, but this is not a concern since they are easily replaced when we eat our next meal. However, in activities lasting ninety minutes or more, replacing both electrolytes and fluids is crucial. In fact, in sports lasting longer than three hours, replenishing electrolytes can prevent dangerous conditions such as hyponatremia. So, although they are loaded with sugar, sports drinks can be a smart option during intense athletic events (such as competitions) when glucose, electrolyte, and fluid replacement is essential.
      Still, sports drinks are loaded with empty calories that provide little nutritional value. There are healthier alternatives, as you mentioned. Coconut water and soy milk are both great options. Coconut milk is almost 95% water and is loaded with electrolytes such as potassium and sodium, and therefore is a good natural alternative to a sports drink. As for recovery, chocolate soy milk has virtually the same ratio of carbohydrates, fat, and protein (see as chocolate cow’s milk, but unlike dairy, it is naturally cholesterol- and lactose-free, and low in saturated fat. It is also a good source of calcium, vitamin A, D, and B12, and loaded with antioxidants (see, with none of the unhealthy hormones found in cow’s milk (

    1. Looking at coconut meat itself, a 2x2x1/2 inch square of coconut meat has a whopping 14 grams of saturated fat. This is already 75% of the daily value of saturated fat intake (which is too high as is). Coconut milk is made of the concentrated coconut meat, so pressing and processing a high fat food will still create a high fat product. A much better alternative would be almond milk or hemp milk.

    2. In general nasi lemak seems to be served with eggs, meat, fish. I think more proof is needed to show that coconut milk is bad for us. But, I don’t see any reason for me to consume it in the mean time, better safe than sorry. There are so many wonderful plant-based foods that taste wonderful and are good for us.

  2. Hi Dr. Greger,

    I just bought a 200g bag of unsweetened shredded coconut (which I love), but upon looking at the nurition label I noticed that a 100g serving (which is a pretty hefty serving) contains a whopping 65g of fat, 57g of which is saturated. This took me aback somewhat, but I really enjoy flaked coconut with my nuts and seeds mixture. What are the main differences health-effects-wise between plant and animal sat fats? Or more to the point can you overdose on plant sat fats?

  3. Saturated fat in plants and animals are all similar in that they have no “double” bonds but have different numbers of carbons ranging from 4 to 18. For all practical purposes you should avoid them as much as possible especially animal sources and processed plant oils like coconut and palm kernel oil. All oils have some saturated fat… yes even olive oil. Consuming whole plant sources as coconut flakes in the study mentioned in this video seems to be okay. The whole plant food comes with fiber, water(except for dried products, antioxidants among other substances. However the studies keep rolling in so keep tuned.

  4. What is the effect of the use of virgin coconut oil/milk on a wholefoods vegan diet?
    Granted all extracted oil is nutritionally inferior or even detrimental(heat/chemically extracted oils or those high in omega 6) to its intact plant form – making the notion that one should consume such foods in hopes of improving their health somewhat nonsensical- nonetheless the question remains if the mild use of virgin coconut milk/oil in a wholefoods vegan diet renders the ill effects of coconut’s saturated fat innocuous?
    In an Indian or Thai vegetable curry would the nutritionally loaded vegetables counteract the effects of coconut oil/milk, producing results akin to the whole coconut flake?
    Could this be the link in the often discrepant studies done on indigenous cultures using coconut; i.e. can those with diets primarily based on typical whole foods vegan fare withstand the use of coconut whereas those whose diets include a greater percentage of animal products cannot?
    Comments appreciated :)

    1. Coconut oil is essentially liquid fat, that being 91% saturated fat. Whole foods vegan diet means no processed foods, INCLUDING oil. If one includes oil in their diet they are no longer heart attack proof. Coconut milk is also another high fat food, and the same applies. It is best to avoid these foods. We should all try to keep our saturated fat intake to around 5 grams or less, and this fat would be coming from whole plant foods such as nuts and oats. In reference to the different fats in oils

      “All 3 fats were associated with a significant increase in new atherosclerosis lesions. Most importantly, the growth of these lesions did not stop when polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats were substituted for saturated fats. Only by decreasing all fat intake including the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats did the lesions stop growing.”

      Check out Dr. Greger’s link on the “fats” in details.

  5. No one has cleared up for me why my breast milk is so high in saturated fat, yet saturated fat is apparently bad for humans.

    Is it good for babies and young children up to a certain age? If so, what age?

    1. This is merely an assumption, but perhaps since babies are born with 0 fat on their body, the saturated fat is a good tool to bulk up the fat reserves of the baby for insulation. This is why babies appear so chubby. This is of course just my guess.

      1. Babies are born with 0 fat on their body? You sure that statement sounds correct? I’m all for a plant-based diet, but it makes no logical sense that saturated fat is bad for us, yet the perfect food to raise a human on is loaded with saturated fat. Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t to me. I suspect that Dr. Greger (bless him for the work he has done) is mislead on this one issue because, in general, people who eat lots of saturated fat probably don’t eat lots of vegetables since they’re too busy wolfing down steaks, for example. But what about vegetarians like me who consume lots and lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and saturated fats from coconuts and cheese? With all due respect to Dr. Greger and team (whom I respect), he does not have the data from a large group of people eating a healthy diet with plenty of saturated fats. He has access to the SAD diet who has plenty of the latter, but not of the former.

        1. Let me rephrase my 2 year old statement. Babies are generally born with little fat on their body. I would not expect a human adult to consume human milk for sustenance. Babies are a different story and have different needs. Yes I agree it is interesting that milk contains saturated fat, I don’t think that is an excuse for us as adults to think saturated fat is healthy because of this.It has been well established that a diet high in saturated fat raises serum cholesterol.

          “The saturated fatty acids, in contrast to cis mono or polyunsaturated fatty acids, have a unique property in that they suppress the expression of LDL receptors (Spady et al., 1993). Through this action, dietary saturated fatty acids raise serum LDL cholesterol concentrations (Mustad et al., 1997).”

        2. It is my understanding that some fat in the diet is needed to help absorb nutrients. I don’t recall the source just now on this info, but maybe it would be helpful to address this topic specifically.

    2.  I’m not aware of any studies on how long to breast feed infants. It seems reasonable to transition to a whole plant based diet and introduce new foods as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatricians… of course their recommendations to add dairy, meat and eggs should be ignored. A good guide, Nutrition in Kids, is available for free download on the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s (PCRM) website. I wouldn’t be concerned about the saturated fat in human milk as it is the best available product. Of course nursing mothers need to be careful of their diet so as to minimize chemicals in their breast milk… see

      1. I heard that because mothers breast milk is not usually exposed to oxygen, the cholesterol is not harmful. It’s when it’s exposed to elements that it become oxidized and harmful. I think that info came from Dr. Fuhrman. sorry, don’t know the source for sure.

        1. Not exposed to oxygen? Oxygen is everywhere though. Even if the baby did it’s best to “chew” the milk with no oxygen in it’s mouth, there is oxygen in it’s stomach that would be “oxidating” the milk/cholesterol/saturated fat. That doesn’t seem like a plausible explanation to me. I’ve heard of oxidized cholesterol (if one were to scramble egg yolks, for example), but that requires cooking the cholesterol, not exposing it to oxygen. Likewise, you would not want to pasteurize your own milk – you’d want it raw. I don’t think exposing it to a relatively small amount of oxygen would do anything.

      2. Back when I was breastfeeding my daughters, about a decade ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended at least 1 year and a European counterpart recommended at least 2 years.

  6. Your site is GREAT. Bruce Fife, C.N., “The coconut oil miracle”, Johny Bowen, Ph.D. in “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth” and Dr Oz (uses coconut oil as his bread spread) all believe that coconut oil is extremely healthy. You believe coconut oil is bad because of its affect on cholesterol. Would you comment on this.

    1. Don’t buy into the marketing BS of coconut oil. It is 91% saturated fat (butter is 68% saturated fat). The companies will then brag that their saturated fat is made up of mostly the least damaging kind. Indeed this is true, but 28% of the total saturated fat content in the coconut oil is the worst kind, so they give a half truth. Our body has no dietary need for saturated fat and an abundance of evidence supports the theory that saturated fat causes endothelium impairment leading to heart disease.

      This 2 year study looked at coronary artery lesions of the heart after consuming different types of fat. Polyunsaturated fat (omega 3 type of fat) Monounsaturated fat (75% of which makes up olive oil) and Saturated fat (the kind found in mostly animal products and coconut oil). They looked at angiograms a year apart after intervening with increasing one type of fat in each group. All 3 fats were associated with a significant increase in new atherosclerosis lesions. Most importantly, the growth of these lesions did not stop when polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats were substituted for saturated fats. Only by decreasing all fat intake including the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats did the lesions stop growing.

      The burden of proof is upon the companies to provide scientific evidence that coconut oil is healthful.

      1. Thanks for the reply. I have to admit I am still on the fence on coconut oil. Bruce Fife, cn., n.d. makes a good argument for it being a very healthy food. Also the Pacific Islanders who ate more coconut based food than anyone, had almost no heart disease.

        1. Present some studies to prove its benefits. Doctors, like Atkins, can talk about certain food to make it sound great for you when its indeed quite harmful.

      2. No offense but your information is highly wrong (my opinion) because back then during patheolic era humans lived off meats and animals and even hunted and killed many back then and they continued to live longer then we live now because of all this government bullshit about wheat, grains, and legumes etc..did the cave man ever have bread NOOO they didn’t they had unprossed food INCLUDING COCONUTS that they would just eat raw so tell me if the cavemen lived longer and healthier over the years and not have any chemicals or disease including cancer which humans today somehow humans were meant to live off fat not carbohydrates.

        1. Ohhh my laken, you are so misinformed! You need to read some books and studies by Drs Esselstyn, Ornish, Furhman and others starting in the early 1940s. But I think maybe the best place for you to start would be either the Blue Zones or the Okinawan Diet…

      3. Our body has no dietary need for saturated fat? Then why is mother’s milk loaded with it? With all due respect to Greger and yourself, whom I agree with on most things, this issue does not make sense to me if nature specifically created the food we were meant to be raised on packed with the fatty acid that you claim the body does not need.

      1. Doesnt the body produce less saturated fat when it is ingested? So that if you are just eating coconuts every now and then, its irrelevant?

        1. Eating coconuts every now and then is perfectly fine. Once every few weeks I am sure would not hurt as it is indeed a whole plant food. I cannot say the same for coconut oil. In regards to saturated fat though, any intake above 0 can increase our risk for heart disease so we should stay as close to 0 as possible. Although nuts and coconuts do have more significant quantities of saturated fat, these foods should not be the bulk of the diet, and if your saturated fat intake is 5% or less of your total caloric intake there is no need for concern.

  7. I was curious about something new I’ve seen called coconut butter.  It seems to be a whole food contain proteins, carbs, and fats…I didn’t check the fiber.  Also is coconut oil okay if you have low cholesterol?

  8. I’ve been eating a raw vegan desert that has coconut cream in it. I asked the owner what coconut cream was and his reply “Coconut
    Cream is the meat from the Organic Mature Coconuts..we scoop the meat
    out and juice its creamy…and its naturally rich. Coconut Oil
    is made from Coconut Cream!” What do you think Doc?

    1. Coconuts are one of the highest saturated plant foods. A 2″x2″x1/2″ square of coconut meat contains about 13 grams of saturated fat. This is 67% of the already very generous Daily Value of saturated fat set by the USDA. We should strive to keep saturated fat as low as possible. Consuming this desert perhaps once a week or less will probably do no harm, but eating this type of food too often could indeed pose some potential health risks.

  9. we use coconut in all our daily meals…coconut milk in our curries…do U think i should not add coconut milk in my food i have high cholestrerol. thank U.

  10. I don’t buy it.. Coconuts have had a bad rep for YEARS.. decades even.. BUT..
    ..only in areas where they are not a common thing.

    The fats in coconuts are GOOD fats, like the fat in fish.
    Coconuts are a staple food source in the areas they are produced for a reason. RAW coconut milk is nothing more than the coconut meat itself thrown in a blender with WATER and then squeezed.. coconut MEAT is good for.. water is good for you… tell me where the bad part is?

    1. A big one to show how OFF many scientists were… many simply compared it to a regular tree nut and simply attributed the health properties of tree nuts to coconuts without research… a coconut is more closely related to cherries and peaches than they are to a walnut/almond… hence why most who have nut allergies are NOT allergic to coconuts. Those with latex allergies are more likely to have a reaction with coconuts than those with nut allergies.

      Look at the REAL science behind a coconut.. they are an AMAZING food!

    2. Coconut fat is actually very high in saturated fat, which is not the good kind of fat.

      Coconut meat can be healthful as it is a whole plant food, but it should not contribute to the majority of the calories in ones diet.

      The reason that the milk may not be healthful is that it is an extremely concentrated source of saturated fat, and a cup of coconut milk has a whopping 57 grams of saturated fat.

      Whereas a 2″ X 2″ X 1/2″ piece of coconut meat contains 13 grams of saturated fat. Still quite high for the small amount, but not as dramatic as the cup of liquified coconut meat.

      1. There is more than one type of saturated fat..

        Animal saturated fat AND plant saturated fat
        and even still different types with those..

        Multiple studies on Pacific Island populations, who get 30-60% of their total caloric intact from fully saturated coconuts, have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease.

        Back in the 1930’s, a dentist named Dr. Weston Price traveled throughout the South Pacific, examining traditional diets and their effect on dental and overall health. He found that those eating diets high in coconut products were healthy and trim, despite the high fat concentration in their diet, and that heart disease was virtually non-existent.

        Similarly, in 1981, researchers studied populations of two Polynesian atolls. Coconut was the chief source of caloric energy in both groups. The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that both populations exhibited positive vascular health.

        Look up Lauric acid.. that is the saturated fat in coconut.. some consider it a wonder drug! Because of its unique chemical structure, coconut oil is more readily
        metabolized and used for energy in your body than other saturated fats.

        Coconut oil is about 2/3 medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also called medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. These types of fatty acids produce a whole host of health benefits. Coconut oil is nature’s richest source of these healthy MCFAs.

        By contrast, most common vegetable or seed oils comprise long-chain fatty acids (LCFAs), also known as long-chain triglycerides or LCTs.

        Many animal and human research studies have demonstrated that replacing
        LCFAs with MCFAs results in both decreased body weight and reduced fat

        Your body sends medium-chain fatty acids directly to your liver to use as energy. This makes coconut oil a powerful source of instant energy to your body, a function usually served in the diet by simple carbohydrates. But although coconut oil and simple carbohydrates share the ability to deliver quick energy to your body, they differ in one crucial respect. Coconut oil does not produce an insulin spike in your bloodstream.

        You read that correctly: coconut oil acts on your body like a carbohydrate, without any of the harmful insulin-related effects associated with long-term high carbohydrate consumption!

        Diabetics and those with pre-diabetes conditions benefit off a fast-acting energy source that doesn’t produce an insulin spike in your body. In fact, coconut oil added to the diets of diabetics and pre-diabetics has actually been shown to help stabilize weight gain, which can dramatically decrease your likelihood of getting adult onset type-2 diabetes.

        ….I could go on and on about this..
        again… look at the research done ON COCONUTS… don’t just see it has saturated fat and attribute all you read about every saturated fat!

        1. Do you have any studies that actually show that coconut oil is healthful?

          Coconuts and coconut oil are 2 different substances, one of them is a whole plant food, the other one is pure fat.

          Coconuts do not only have medium chain saturated fatty acids, they have long chain as well. 30% of the fat is long chain. I have not seen conclusive evidence that medium chain saturated fatty acids are negligible.

            1. It makes no difference, the barren nutritional value is still present, as is the saturated fat. Although an extreme example, the comparison is similar to organic cigarettes vs regular, really there is no difference, both can lead to poor health.

              1. But we are not talking huge gobs of it, are we? Just maybe a tablespoon a day? What about its antibacterial/antifungal properties? Is that not why is is used along with bentonite to fight yeast infection?

                1. Antibacterial properties exist among many foods, including alcohol. The in vivo effects of coconut oil have not been proven to be antibacterial. A tablespoon contains 12 grams of saturated fat, which is quite a copious amount. I can see it being used occasionally but a daily tablespoon may not be wise.

  11. If the goal is whole food, one could make coconut milk from dehydrated coconut meat and water. It’s easily made by starting with a product called Creamed Coconut which is dehydrated coconut meat ground into a paste. Any thoughts?

  12. Old topic I know, but I am a bit confused. I just checked my Coconut milk (the kind that you drink) and it says 5g of sat fat per cup. I checked my canned, full fat stuff (for cooking) and it’s 24g per cup. I know that’s a lot but usually that’s in a meal for 3-5 people, so spread out it’s not too much. Now I’m not cooking with caned coconut milk everyday, I was having coconut milk a lot in tea, smoothies, cereal etc but switched to soy milk for smoothies and and cereal and just use coconut milk for my tea. I also have a cup of dark chocolate coconut milk now and then (maybe every 2-3 days). Is this too much? Am I at risk? I make about 85-90% of the food I eat. I do use oil in my cooking, but not an excessive amount. Thanks!

  13. What about young coconut yougurt?
    I like to make my own coconut yougurt from the flesh of a young coconut and the coconut water. I hope it’s safe since it is a whole food …

  14. I suffer from severe depression and once I began incorporating coconut milk, which I make at home, fresh, every week, the benefits have been awesome……

  15. Thank you so much for all the information you put on the internet and the time you put into it. Can i assume from the information in this video that eating a hand full or 2 of desiccated coconut a day along with my whole plant foods based diet will not injure my arteries and will allow me to use the extra fat as fuel?
    P.S. Finding it hard to consume enough calories for my active lifestyle.

  16. What about home-made coconut milk made from coconut flakes? My guess is no good because you are losing the fiber that protect against the excessive oils. Any thoughts:

  17. So are you saying that there is no problem with cholesterol in coconut if it is consumed as a whole food (minus water) such as coconut flakes?

  18. i am a diabetic and also a heart patient having had quadriple heart surgery in 2008. Is coconut water and the inside extracts good for me?

  19. So it’s looking like my only options for healthy dessert making is whipped egg whites. No saturated fat, no cholesterol, no casein, no hormones. The only issue is the ethical farming of the egg. Which is in your control if you keep your own chickens or know the exact farming methods.

    1. Well, not necessarily. I remember witnessing a hen at a farm animal sanctuary have her egg stolen by the dog that lived there. She cried and cried and searched for the thing. She was still distressed and searching when we left hours later. I’m not sure how we’re supposed to know when they’d be okay, if they ever are, with us taking their eggs.

      1. I don’t know either but most eggs that we consume are unfertilized, they are virtually “hen periods”. As long as they are unfertilized I have no guilt. I’d have to wonder if hens can tell if their eggs are fertilized or not.

  20. What about eating coconut in general? I mean fresh meat from the coconut.
    Any benefits? Some say you lose weight cause of it. Sounds a bit magical.

    1. akaVenom: The coconut meat is beyond doubt better for one than say coconut oil or other coconut processed foods. I’m pretty sure there’s a NutritionFacts video showing that the fiber in coconut helps mitigate some of the detrimental effects of the more processed foods.
      However, keep in mind that the coconut meat is still going to be a high calorie dense food, including with lots of saturated fat. I would agree with you that the idea that you can lose weight with coconut is fanciful thinking. On the other hand, keep in mind that people lose weight on all sorts of diets/foods. Our weight is mostly a function of how many calories we take in. If you ate all coconut, but took in less overall calories, you could expect to lose weight. The real question is though: Are you putting your long term health at risk with your chosen diet.
      I think coconut meat is a great addition to a diet–in SMALL amounts. For example, I’m thinking: A bit of shredded coconut once a week on oatmeal to make it a more special meal. Something like that. Ie, an occasional condiment, but not a significant part of one’s diet.
      What do you think?

  21. Hello, I was wondering about possible benefits of adding a teaspoon of coconut oil in your filtered coffee? Are there any or is it just a trend based on a misconception?

    1. Thanks for your question Angie.

      According to a 2016 review and I quote:

      coconut oil, when compared with cis unsaturated plant oils, raises total cholesterol, HDL-C, and LDL-C, al- though not as much as butter does. (…) Therefore, this review does not support popular claims purporting that coconut oil is a healthy oil in terms of reducing the risk of CVD. There was no evidence that coconut oil acted consistently different from other satu- rated fats in terms of its effects on blood lipids and lipo- proteins.

      Hope this answer helps.

  22. since combining the coconut flakes with the coconut milk, basically eating whole coconuts, is “harmless” could one then draw the conclusion that while coconut milk on its own per the arterial impact from it is bad for you then what about how people actually use coconut milk?

    When I make a curry with it there are tons of spices (curry, turmeric, cumin, mustard seeds, coriander) and lots of plants involved (ginger, garlic, potatoes, onions, sometimes lentils, tomatoes, etc)?

    Would using the isolated coconut milk in a dish like I described above in turn act as least neutral on the body but more than likely positive considering the other items that I also add? All that other whole plant food stuffs I would expect to more than restore the i missing good stuff that was stripped out of the coconut to just leave me with the can of milk. All those other ingredients put flavonoids, minerals, vitamins, other types of healthy fats, plant sterols, phytochemicals, etc.

    Not looking for a free nutrition pass here, but coconut milk in a curry (Indian or Thai) is da bomb and I would hate to think that would be something that I should avoid. Might as well kick my teeth out at that point.

    thoughts? Comments?

  23. I am trying to find out if by adding plenty of vegetables and quinoa/brown rice to the coconut milk, in a curry, would this be considering healthy or neutral now? If its the fibre and nutrients that make the coconut flakes neutral, can you just add these elements elsewhere to neutralise the saturated fat?

  24. Sarah, that is a great question! Per Dr. T. Colin Campbell, the synergy of food absolutely matters! Both Dr. T and Dr. G. work along side one another. I recently completed a plant based certificate via Dr.T and was delighted to discover Dr. G was one of the online speakers. Here’s the next question: how is your system managing the amount of coconut that you eat? Certainly, it’s a medium chain fatty acid and also part saturated fat, but the real question is — how is your system managing it? Breaking it down? Burning it as fuel? How much are you consuming?

    Yes, I use coconut in my cooking, but I watch my numbers (via my bloodwork) too. Dr. G talks about lower total cholesterol numbers when people consume large amounts of plants.

    Here’s another one: I am glad to hear you are adding more veggies and whole grains! That’s stellar :)

    1. Thanks for your comment Dave,

      I analysed the study briefly (didn’t read into too much detail as it could take an hour). But I found a good review here that mentions this study & here is what they state:

      “For example, one study (170) has shown that the consumption of coconut milk does not elevate serum lipid levels, and another study (171) has found that a coconut milk porridge fed to sixty healthy people 5 d a week for 8 weeks caused a decrease in LDL levels and an increase in HDL levels. Further studies should be carried out to help validate these significant benefits of consuming coconut milk and cream, and to determine whether such benefits are counteracted by any unfavourable changes to serum lipid profiles.”

      Hope this answer helps.

  25. Hi, thanks for all the brilliant videos! I was just wondering if coconut yoghurt is good/bad/ok… I know it’s made out of coconut cream, so I’m guessing that’s not ideal? But is it worth is for the probiotics? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Ruth! If you care to take a snapshot of the food label and the ingredient list, then I will give you my best educated answer. Cheers!

  26. Hi there,

    What about coconut yogurt? I make my own and I usually have 1/4 cup with my breakfast. Does the fermentation process affect the fat? I love the flavour and eat it for the benefits of probiotics.

    1. I use Kara UHT Coconut Cream Net: 1000ml (33.8 fl.oz) Ingredients: Fresh Natural Coconut Extract (99.9%), Stabilizer (Xanthan Gum E415, Guar Gum E412, Carrageenan E407)

    2. Hi, Samantha Meiklejohn. Fermentation does not reduce or change the fat. If the coconut milk you use to make your yogurt is made from just coconut and water, with nothing else added, then I would think it would be the same as plain coconut. I am not sure why coconut milk would be different from coconut, unless it is because of added fat or other ingredients. You can also make yogurt from a combination of chia and almond milk. This may be a healthier option. I hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for the reply Christine. The only reason why I questioned about coconut milk/cream as I use it as an alternative to make dairy free yogurt and the only reason why I make yogurt is for the probiotic benefits and it tastes delicious. I’m highly allergic to tree-nuts so I have to count those out of my diet. I do wonder if there are any worthy nutritional benefits from coconut on a plant based vs other plant based foods.

  27. Regarding coconut milk, surely the solution is to coconut flesh and water, keeping all the fibre intact, and using that instead of any kind of coconut milk that removes the fibre.

    1. “Here is a link to a interventional study where coconut milk lowered ldl and raised hdl”
      I am not sure if you are cherry picking on purpose or just reading that you want to read.
      The coconut milk was not tested as a stand alone adder to the diet. It was powdered coconut milk, which I do not know if it would be the same in the body to eat coconut milk from a coconut or powdered then reconstituted coconut milk. I don’t know if anything about the coconut milk changes during the processing.
      Anyhow, they also made a porridge and then added coconut milk powder to it. I could not find anywhere in the study where they told you what all was in the porridge. Perhaps the porridge has ingredients in it that help with blood lipids.
      Perhaps their diet is so bad to begin with that eating the coconut milk powder porridge was much healthier than their traditional diet.
      Notice that after the first 8 week test (coconut milk powder) that they had LDL around 119 down from 134, or 15 points. Then the participants went through a two-week washout period before they ran the same test with soy milk in their porridge. Notice that at the start of the soy milk test, meaning only two week back on their normal diet, that their LDL cholesterol levels went up over 20 points on average to 139.3!
      Both diets dropped their cholesterol but their typical diet looks to be so bad that their cholesterol was high and likely any diet in which they added basically hot cereal to would have improved their lipid numbers.
      Something else to consider that is evidence of the poor health of the sample of people that they used in which the porridge, regardless of coconut milk powder or soy milk being added, was likely better than the normal meal that was replaced with that for 8 weeks. The evidence of that is the two week cool-off period in which their LDL levels rocketed up over 17% on average.
      To calculate total cholesterol: LDL + HDL + (triglyceride level / 5) = total cholesterol level. Now, we don’t even have their triglyceride levels and their cholesterol levels just adding LDL + HDL before the first round was 177 and at least 189.7 before the second round. If we assume the high end of the ideal level for triglycerides, 150, that takes the 177  and 189.7 to cholesterol levels of 207 and 219.7.
      This study appears to be designed to get the outcome that they want or they just didn’t know what they are doing since they clearly started with an unhealthy group of people with high cholesterol and replaced gave them what was likely a healthy snack or porridge with the added milks. So, was it the soy milk? Coconut milk? Porridge? Or perhaps the porridge meal made them full enough to skip one of their normal meals, thus they changed their actual diet for each testing phase?
      Yet you assume the coconut milk was the only cause.
      This study is as bad as some of the egg studies in which unhealthy people with bad diets are given a few extra eggs per week and their blood lipids don’t change…..because they are already living with elevated lipids.
      This study should be repeated using people with healthy lipid levels and a good diet already in place. Then just add one glass of coconut milk per day for 8 weeks but make sure that they keep eating their normal diet as well. Then see what their lipid panel looks like after 8 weeks of all that extra fat does to them.

      1. Hey thanks for the reply and sorry for the late response.

        I completely agree with you, using dried coconut milk basically ruins any validity this study has.

        With my total cholesterol at 101 I could try adding coconut milk and see what it does.

        That all being said, I have yet to see a study show coconut milk has negative effects on lipid profile or flow mediated dilation.

        There are a few population studies that show benefits of coconut milk, but there are so many potential variables in population studies its not worth looking into.

        And when did fmd become the gold standard of determining whether or not a food was healthy for the vascular system?

        fmd is an extremely finicky test, you can see this in studies on oil. There are multiple studies on the effects of fmd from oils that show decreases AND increases for the same oil.

        I think a better measure would be to look at acute and longterm lipid profile.

        Not saying coconut milk is healthy, I personally still avoid it. That being said there is still a lack of proof that it will negatively affect lipid panels.

    2. Also, very important to note the “coconut milk meal” used in the eg mcmuffin study often contains half a cup of peanut oil and up to 4 raw eggs. I dont have access to the full paper but if you guys do you should look into this asap, this might be dangerously misrepresenting coconut milk.

      1. “this might be dangerously misrepresenting coconut milk.”

        Not sure what your point is since my initial comment was responding to a study that you think supports coconut milk but that study is filled with holes.

        That means, if you are right about the Egg McMuffin study, that both studies are poorly done and misleading. It doesn’t defend coconut milk in anyway.

      2. “the “coconut milk meal” used in the eg mcmuffin study often contains half a cup of peanut oil and up to 4 raw eggs.”

        I read the brief very closely and the high fat meal which contained coconut milk also does use oil BUT that is also to deep fry the little anchovies as well as to slicken the cooking vessel. I read several recipes and for a single serving, less you plan on drinking the pan of oil that the fish are deep fried in, you are going to get maybe a tablespoon of peanut oil per serving and less than one egg.

        The meal for 10 people used five eggs, hard-boiled and each serving was given half a boiled egg. Makes the dish look nice.

        Still, it appears that it has its flaws too as they changed multiple inputs rather than just the one, but either way – coconut milk is not good for you. That’s ok. Just know what you are eating is all. No reason to try to convince yourself that something you like is healthy for you.

        In many studies like this they are either changing too many inputs, they are using already unhealthy populations, or they simply compare a couple ways of eating, one if which is not as bad as the other. If anything improves they present it as of the two bad ways to eat the one that is less bad for you is healthy which is a false conclusion.

        Using the logic that you sometimes see, lets have a group of typical people (which would mean likely high cholesterol already, triglycerides, BMI, and other bad habits) replace their normal breakfast with the same breakfast but add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil. After 8 weeks record blood lipids then let them flush out for 2 weeks. Second 8 weeks have them eat the same meals but rather than having then drink 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 482 calories, we will have them eat 480 calories worth of Twix bars, 2 1.8oz packages. After 8 weeks we record some numbers and compare.

        Now, it isn’t likely that both tests will end with the same blood lipids or blood sugar levels so what we will end up with is two horrible ways to eat with one way being less horrible than the other.

        Of course I exaggerate somewhat, but many of the egg, butter / cholesterol, meat, etc. studies pull this garbage. They take a group of people and compare what they claim is healthy to some other item that is also bad for you in a population of people that are actually unhealthy to begin with and then draw phony conclusions that mislead people.

        If we took my oil and Twix study from above and ran it on people with 350+ cholesterol levels and the Twix bars happen to lower the average from 375 to 368 (well within a tolerance range) while the oil moved totals from 375 to 382 (again well within a reasonable tolerance). You could then clearly show that Twix bars lowered total cholesterol to 368 while oil raised it to 382. That makes Twix bars look pretty good since but both are terrible options.

        With some of these studies you really need to see what they change, what the group’s biomarkers are like coming into it. One of the studies you linked relied on how the people felt as to whether they were healthy or not and the even tell you that! I know fat smokers that feel pretty good but they sure aren’t healthy. Then you also need to look hard to see if they are trying to compare to evils and when one evil is worse than the other evil that, in their eyes, makes the lesser of two evils good for you. In other words, be an alcoholic because heroin is bad for you is the mentality.

    3. Isaac,
      Thank you for posting the hindawi study. Interesting! There does appear to be some protective effects in the more whole forms of coconut (coconut milk and flaked coconut) in that it may not raise cholesterol as expected in spite of the high amount of saturated fat. That’s the power of food in whole form with the phytonutrients and fiber working their magic. We do know extracted coconut oil will raise cholesterol. In this video the problem with coconut milk was the effect on endothelial function. That is true for all high fat foods; they decrease the ability of the blood vessels to dilate appropriately, thus leading to all sorts of problems such as high blood pressure, etc. This link may give you a more complete picture of all the parts of the coconut and its affect on your health.

  28. If I want to make myself a Thai-Curry-meal with a lot of vegetables, some curry paste from the local asian-foodstore and rice. How can I replace the coconut milk now that I learned it is not good to consume?
    Is there any possible alternative?

    1. Hello,

      thank you very much for your reply.
      Do you mean I need to buy unsweetened soy milk + a coconut extract (like a liquid) or do you mean I should buy a soy milk with coconut flavor? From what I can buy in Germany there is a brand called Alpro that offers a soy milk with coconut flavor but it includes 5% of real coconut milk.

      I am not quite sure what you meant explicitly. Clarification would help me a lot!

      Thanks in advance!

  29. Defatted coconut flour is already commercially available, and IMHO deserve a video of it’s own, or at least a little more than the 20 seconds you gave it on this video. According to the nutritional information on the package, defatted coconut flour has the same amount saturated fat as cocoa powder. So I’m interested to know whether it has health benefits, namely I’d like to know whether coconut flour is it better in reducing LDL compared to foods in the portfolio diet such as
    “plant sterol margarine and plant sterol fortified foods such as oils, juices, yogurt” which are the suggested food sources for plant sterols at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This