Is Coconut Milk Good For Weight Loss? The Truth You May Not Know 2024

is coconut milk good for weight loss
Discover the weight loss benefits of coconut milk. Photo: Inna Dodor/Shutterstock

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Coconut milk is a delicious, healthy beverage. It is made by grating the meat of coconuts, mixing it with water, then extracting the liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth. Is coconut milk good for weight loss? It certainly can be.

Though high in saturated fat, coconut milk can help improve cholesterol levels,[1] which can have positive influences on body weight.[2] It also supplies protein and dietary fiber. Coconut milk’s many health-boosting nutrients may support weight loss when paired with a healthy diet and regular exercise routine.

Does Coconut Milk Help You Lose Weight?

It can. Coconut milk has many health benefits, including the potential to help people lose weight. Coconut milk is nutritious, low in calories,[3] yet high in saturated fat. This fat, however, may not necessarily contribute to weight gain, especially when consumed as part of an overall healthy diet.

Is Coconut Milk Good For Weight Loss?

is coconut milk good for weight loss 1
Coconut milk can be a part of a weight-loss diet. Photo: Sea Wave/Shutterstock

Yes. Coconut milk has an impressive nutrient profile.[4] It contains protein and fiber, yet few calories, making it conducive to weight loss. Fiber increases satiety,[5] which can support weight loss, and positively influence the gut microbiome; protein also increases satiety which can support weight loss.[6]

One cup of coconut milk[4] contains 13.3 grams of carbohydrates; 5.28 grams of dietary fiber; 8.02 grams of sugar; 552 calories; and 5.5 grams of protein and other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Though low in calories, coconut milk is high in saturated fat.[3] Interestingly, some experts say saturated fat alone does not counteract weight loss — the lauric acid in coconut milk may even have cholesterol-lowering effects.[7]

Coconut milk is considered an ideal fat source,[8] especially when combined with an overall healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet — a diet that emphasizes whole fruits, vegetables, lean white meat and fish, and legumes. On the Mediterranean diet, coconut oil is also used as an alternative to butter. 

In general, plant-based diets[9] are helpful for weight loss, and in animal studies, coconut milk specifically did not negatively affect body weight.[10]

How Can Coconut Milk Affect Your Weight?

Coconut milk can have positive effects on weight. Coconut milk contains medium-chain triglycerides, which may support weight loss by helping the body burn calories[11] and increase satiety.[11] Feeling fuller longer and burning more calories can increase the likelihood of weight loss.

However, too much coconut milk can increase fat and caloric intake, which can cause weight gain. Therefore, consume coconut milk in moderation and pay attention to the effect it has on your body. You want to consume an amount that supports, rather than inhibits, weight loss.

Additionally, consuming too much coconut milk, or any food high in saturated fat, can increase the risk of coronary heart disease.[12] Small amounts of coconut milk are unlikely to increase this risk, however, an overall dietary pattern heavy in saturated fat can. You can add coconut milk to a healthy diet in moderation.

How To Use Coconut Milk For Weight Loss

How To Use Coconut Milk For Weight Loss
Coconut milk is an excellent alternative to dairy milk. Photo: vitals/Shutterstock

Consuming coconut milk is as easy as pouring yourself a glass or using it into your smoothie. Although there are many ways to consume coconut milk, it’s important not to overdo it. To know exactly how much coconut milk you should drink per day, consult a registered dietician.

Use Coconut Milk In Smoothies

Swap dairy milk for coconut milk in your smoothie. Add your favorite fruit, vegetables, nut or seed butter, and any liquid or powdered supplements you may be taking. Blend and enjoy!

Drink A Glass Of Coconut Milk

Pour yourself a glass of plain coconut milk and enjoy cold. At bedtime, you may enjoy warming the milk and adding a little cinnamon to help you sleep.[13]

Use Coconut Milk In Hot Chocolate

It’s good to treat yourself to hot chocolate once in a while. Choose a dark chocolate[14] syrup or powder with more nutrients and less sugar than milk chocolate.

Mix Coconut Milk With Protein Powder Or Supplements

You may choose to use protein powder or other supplements as part of your weight loss protocol. If so, consider adding protein powder to your coconut milk. However, if you plan to consume any supplements, herbal products, or diet pills, consult a doctor or registered dietician first.

Use Coconut Milk In Oatmeal

Your morning bowl of oatmeal can be even creamier and more nutritious by cooking it in coconut milk rather than water. You can prepare a coconut milk porridge with raw oats and leave it in the fridge overnight, or heat it on the stove to eat it hot.

Buy Plain And Unsweetened Coconut Milk

Read the ingredients carefully before buying coconut milk. Choose a brand that has simple, natural ingredients without any added sugar. Consuming too much sugar can contribute to weight gain.[15]

Coconut cream is also available in most supermarkets, but it is rich in fat and calories. You may want to avoid coconut cream on a weight-loss diet.

Other Benefits Of Coconut Milk

Immunity And Protective Properties

Fresh coconut milk is not just good for weight loss, it is good for you, too. The lauric acid in coconut milk supports brain development and immunity.[16] Coconut milk also has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-carcinogenic properties.

High In Antioxidants

Many of coconut milk’s protective properties can be attributed to its high antioxidant[17] count. Antioxidants help prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, which if left unchecked, can lead to various health complications.

Lactose-Free

Another benefit of adding coconut milk to your diet is that it contains no lactose, the main carbohydrate in dairy milk. Roughly 68% of people worldwide are lactose intolerant[18] and unable to break down lactose, which can cause a range of symptoms. Coconut milk is a more digestion-friendly alternative to cow’s milk.

Despite the many benefits of coconut milk, it is not a weight loss silver bullet. Weight loss is a whole-body effort. However, If your diet and lifestyle are conducive to weight loss, yet you’re not seeing the results you want, consult a registered dietician or physician — they may prescribe weight loss pills or fat burners to support you.

Also, consider adding other kinds of milk to your diet in addition to coconut milk that may as supportive of your weight loss goals. For example, unsweetened almond milk has fewer calories and saturated fat than coconut milk, yet is still high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. Or try coconut water as a hydrating fluid for when you work out;[19] coconut water also has fewer calories and fat[20] than coconut milk.

Conclusion

Coconut milk is a creamy beverage made by blending the external flesh and internal juice from coconuts and straining the liquid. The milk contains many of the essential nutrients as the whole fruit, including protein, medium-chain triglycerides, and dietary fiber — all of which can promote satiety and support weight loss.

Consuming modest amounts of coconut milk, along with eating a healthy diet and engaging in an active lifestyle, can benefit weight loss.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is coconut water good for weight loss?

Yes. Coconut water comes from the inside of the coconut, whereas coconut milk is made by combining the inside liquid with the outside flesh. Therefore, coconut water has less fat, calories, and nutrients than coconut milk.

Is coconut milk or almond milk better for weight loss?

Almond milk contains fewer calories and fat than coconut milk, which makes it slightly better for weight loss.

Does coconut milk burn belly fat?

No. There is no evidence to suggest that coconut milk burns belly fat. However, the nutrients in coconut milk can help promote satiety, improve health, and support weight loss.

Which milk is best for weight loss?

Unsweetened almond milk is lower in fat and calories than many other plant-based milks, while still containing fiber and protein. This makes it one of the best milks for weight loss.

What’s the best way to consume coconut milk?

There are many ways to enjoy coconut milk including using it in oatmeal and smoothies, or drinking it plain. Choose a brand that has no added sugar to avoid excess calories.

Can I drink coconut milk if I am lactose intolerant?

Yes. There is no lactose in any plant-based milk. Anyone with lactose intolerance can enjoy coconut milk without worry.

Who should avoid coconut milk?

If you have a known or suspected nut allergy, avoid coconut milk. Ask your doctor for an allergy test to be certain.

+ 20 Sources

EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A health coach specializing in Integrative Nutrition, I approach wellness with a holistic and functional medicine perspective. As a writer, I simplify intricate topics such as nutrition, gut and hormone health, mental well-being, and spiritual health,… See More