Is Coconut Keto Friendly? Things you should know

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Coconut is a very popular plant in any part of the world. It has been tagged to be one of the most popular trees in the world as it is of much beneficial importance ranging from its provision on food to cosmetics, medicinal uses, building materials, and many more important uses.

Coconut is a very old plant whose usage has dated back to millions of years, even for religious purposes, especially in India. There are many species of coconut which include but not limited to; the Maypan coconut, king coconut, and the Macapuno.

The species varies in the taste of its water and the color of its fruit, as well as other genetic factors, as there are the Dwarf varieties too.

The flesh of the coconut, the white fleshy interior, which can also be referred to as the meat has fat and fiber with a moderate amount of carbs and protein which makes it a fixture of the Keto diet.

Is Coconut Milk Keto Friendly?

Coconut milk is a creamy, white liquid made from pureed coconut flesh. One ounce of plain canned or fresh coconut milk is broken down as of about 7 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of carbs, and 0.5 grams of protein. It is revealed that 90 percent of the calories in plain coconut milk come from fat, with the remaining 10 percent coming from a combination of carbs and protein. Therefore, the carb content is low enough that you should consider it to fit into a keto diet. It should however be known that certain types of coconut milk are not keto-friendly but the regular, full fat, canned coconut milk is great for a keto diet.

For instance, sweetened forms of coconut milk may contain enough carbs to push you over the daily limit of your carbs intake during a keto diet. So try to check the nutrition label to ensure that you are not buying the sweetened type of coconut milk.

Types Of Coconut Milk

  • Refrigerated Coconut Milk: this coconut milk is made using the extraction from the coconut meat. It is definitely non-dairy milk. Plenty of water and thickening agents like carrageenan or guar gum, which is made from guar beans, is added to help stabilize the beverages. It is not advisable for people with sensitive stomachs because some studies have revealed that refrigerated coconut milk can affect digestion.
  • Canned Coconut Milk: this form of coconut milk is thicker and shelf-stable compared to refrigerated coconut milk. It is made by blending coconut milk with a little water and sometimes, additives. The canned coconut milk can be made sweetened and unsweetened to the light and full-fat.
  • Coconut Cream: the thick layer at the top of the can of coconut milk is what is referred to as coconut cream. The coconut cream is full of protein and fat and contains less water than coconut milk. Because of its luxurious consistency, it is not a surprise that it has become popular as a plant-based alternative in baked goods. but you should be mindful of its low water content and the amount of hydration a recipe needs. It can also be used in Salad dressing and desserts like pies and cakes.
  • Coconut Butter: this is realized from grinding down the coconut meat, it is Keto friendly and it is sometimes called creamed coconut. The fatty, nutrient-rich texture on this can vary, from smooth and velvety in warm temperatures to hard and waxy in a cooler environment, and can be used in baked goods and on toast.
  • Coconut Oil: as the name implies, it is the oil that is extracted from the meat of the coconut. It can also come in different variations which include; the unrefined coconut oil, which is sometimes called virgin or extra virgin. This form of coconut oil is extracted without using any chemicals or heat. Then the refined coconut oil is labeled RBD which means refined, bleached, and deodorized. There is no obvious difference between the two but the superiority of the two. The coconut oil can be used for sauteing, roasting, and baking, body, and hair oil.
  • Coconut Water: It is made up of 94percent water and little fat. It is good magnesium, potassium, and sodium replenisher, thus a good post-workout recovery drink. There is no added sugar in pure coconut water and there are just six grams of naturally occurring sugar in a single cup, enough care should be taken while taking coconut water on a keto diet. Coconut water is also used in Smoothies, rice and could be taken raw on its own.
  • Coconut Flour: this is made by grating, straining and drying, and grounding the coconut meat. The coconut flour can sub for all-purpose flour if you are gluten intolerant or keeping carbs low while you are on a Keto diet. New research however projects coconut flour to be packed with fat, insoluble fiber, MCTs, and plant-based iron. The flour can be used in pizza dough, bread, cookies, and muffins.
  • Coconut Chips: they are made by scooping out fresh coconut meat, slicing it into delicate ribbons, then toasting it to create crunchy slivers that are more nutrient-dense, more fiber less sugar, than a potato or tortilla chips.
  • Coconut Sugar: also known as palm sugar, it is made from the coconut itself – from the nectar of coconut blossoms. Though coconut sugar has traces of minerals like zinc and iron, it is under debate over its low glycemic index counts. It is however important to take note of the fact that coconut sugar is still sugar and should be used sparingly in your journey through ketosis.
  • Coconut Nectar: the sap from coconut blossom is nectar before it is made into granulated coconut sugar. It consists mainly of sugar and a little sodium and is considered an alternative liquid sweetener, but some still say the syrup has a surprisingly earthy, bittersweet taste. Note that the coconut nectar is more expensive compared to other liquid syrup like maple syrup or agave though.

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Nutrition Facts of Coconut in diverse ways

You will find coconut available in a variety of forms, all of which have their unique nutritional profile.

Coconut Meat, Dried (unsweetened), 1 Ounce (Oz)

Calories: 187 (9 percent daily value, or DV)

Fat: 18 g (28 percent DV)

Saturated fat: 16 g (80 percent DV)

Protein: 2 g (4 percent DV)

Carbohydrates: 7 g (2 percent DV)

Fiber: 5 g (20 percent DV)

Sugar: 2 g

Coconut Milk, 8 Oz

Calories: 552 (27 percent DV)

Fat: 57 g (88 percent DV)

Saturated fat: 50 g (250 percent DV)

Protein: 5.5 g (11 percent DV)

Carbohydrates: 13 g (4 percent DV)

Fiber: 5 g (20 percent DV)

Sugar: 8 g

Coconut Water, 8 Oz

Calories: 46 (2 percent DV)

Fat: 0.5 g (1 percent DV)

Saturated fat: 0.4 g (0 percent DV)

Protein: 2 g (4 percent DV)

Carbohydrates: 9 g (3 percent DV)

Fiber: 3 g (12 percent DV)

Sugar: 6 g

Coconut Oil, 1 Tablespoon (Tbsp)

Calories: 121 (6 percent DV)

Fat: 13 g (20 percent DV)

Saturated fat: 11 g (55 percent DV)

Protein: 0 g (0 percent DV)

Carbohydrates: 0 g (0 percent DV)

Fiber: 0 g (0 percent DV)

Sugar:  0 g

Health Benefits of Coconut

Coconut contains a whole lot of digestion-friendly and satiating fiber. It also contains vitamin B6, iron, and minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. It is also known that about half of the saturated fat in coconut comes from lauric acid, which can help raise the levels of heart-protective HDL cholesterol which is also known as good cholesterol. But it increases the LDL, also called the bad cholesterol at the same time. Although it is not wrong to use a small amount of coconut oil in the context of a healthy diet, it should not be the only oil you use.

Coconut water has been said to be a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps balance sodium levels in the body and regulate blood pressure. But the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has dismissed the myth that propagates that coconut water is more hydrating than plain water or that it is a superior post-workout drink. It is however still very good as a post-workout drink.

Coconut flour, which has been pointed to as the dried, ground coconut meat has 5 grams of fiber in just two tablespoons, this makes it an impressive replacement for traditional white flour, especially for some gluten-free diets.

There has not however been a profitable debate as to whether eating coconut can help in losing weight. although it is commonly noted that coconut oil may help you lose weight because it is a good source of fatty acid called medium-chain triglycerides {MCT}, which are quickly metabolized in the body. But some people conflate coconut and MCT oil assuming that they both have the same impact on the body.

Another study has also proved that compared with a meal containing 20 g of fat from corn oil, eating one with the same amount of coconut oil did not improve satiety or boost metabolism. The study was carried out on obese adolescents.

Coconut may also promote blood sugar control as it is low in carbs and high in fiber and fat, so it may help stabilize your blood sugar. Another study also shows that coconut had anti-diabetic effects, this might be due to its arginine content. Arginine is an amino acid that is important for the functioning of pancreatic cells, which release the insulin hormone to regulate your blood sugar levels.

Coconut meat also contains phenolic compounds, which are antioxidants that may help protect cells from oxidative damage. The main phenolic compounds that are presently identified include gallic acid, caffeic acid, salicylic acid, and p-coumaric acid. The polyphenols found in it can prevent the oxidation of LDL {bad} cholesterol, making it less likely to form plaques in arteries that can increase the risk of heart diseases.

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Conclusion

Just as it is with every meal on keto, there are ways you include them in meals that make them anti-keto, but coconut while being a natural fruit is mostly keto all the way. Avoid the sweetened coconut milk completely on a keto diet since reduced-fat options are not as helpful as full-fat ones when it comes to reaching your fat targets. It can be imbibed into delicious meals or made into creamy drinks. All you need is to know and abide by your keto rules while indulging in Coconut keto meals.

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