Coconut and coconut products have many uses across many different fields including the culinary world. It gives a tropical, sweet, and fruity taste to many dishes and drinks, so it has become a staple in many dishes and a favorite among many different people.
But, which of the products, if any, are low-carb, and can you consume coconut products on the keto diet? Keep on reading to find out if and which of them are low-carb and ketogenic.
What Is Coconut?
Coconut is a word that can refer to a few different things: the coconut palm tree, the coconut seed, or the coconut fruit. It is grown in tropical and subtropical countries, but it is popular all over the world. It is grown in tropical and subtropical countries, but it is popular all over the world.
The coconut palm tree or Cocos Nucifera is a member of the palm tree family and the only known member of the genus Cocos. The coconut fruit is botanically not a nut, but a drupe. The coconut fruit is the fruit, but it is also the seed of the coconut palm tree.
The coconut fruit has three layers and those are the endocarp- inner layer, mesocarp- the middle layer, and exocarp- the outer shell of a coconut fruit.
Coconut is known as the “plant of a thousand uses” because every single part of it is used. The coconut palm tree and the coconut fruit shells are decorative, the fruit is used for coconut milk and coconut water, coconut flakes, oil, and meat. It has many practical uses across many different industries, from the culinary industry to the cosmetic industry and many more.
In the list below, we will discuss coconut products: coconut water, coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut flakes and coconut milk and you will find out if they are keto-friendly or not.
Coconut water or also called coconut juice is the clear liquid that is inside the coconut fruit. At the early stages of the development of the coconut fruit, the coconut water serves as a suspension for the endosperm of the coconut, and as it grows it deposits into the coconut pulp (the white ring-like part inside the coconut).
The coconut water from young green coconuts is preferred more than the coconut water from mature coconuts. Coconut water has been used for many years in tropical places for its refreshing and hydrating abilities as well as its slightly sweet, nutty flavor that adds a tropical touch to anything it is added to.
Apart from its amazing and refreshing taste, coconut water also has many nutrients that may benefit your health. One of the beneficial nutrients that coconut water has is antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules that can modify free unstable radicals that your cells produce during metabolic processes and therefore coconut water may help protect cells from oxidative damage. (*)
Coconut water is rich in potassium, magnesium, and sodium, which are good for the electrolyte balance in your body, especially when you are dehydrated. There has also been some research done that suggests that coconut water may be helpful for lowering blood sugar when fighting diabetes. (*)
This is the nutritional information of 100 grams of coconut water (*):
|Total Carbs||3.71 grams|
|Net Carbs||2.61 grams|
Can you drink coconut water on the keto diet?
Coconut water is a natural drink with 19 calories per 100 grams. (*)
It is also not processed and can come straight from the coconut fruit, and it naturally has 2.61 grams of net carbs per 100 grams.
Therefore, coconut water is a great non-processed drink great for post-workout refreshing, as it contains electrolytes and antioxidants. So, if you are following a keto and low-carb diet, then coconut water might be something you can enjoy to add freshness to your day as long as you consume in moderation.
Coconut milk is a coconut product made from the grated pulp of mature coconuts. It is a white liquid that has a thick consistency and is rich in taste. Its richness comes from the high content of oil that it has. It is used in many cuisines across the globe.
The coconut milk is made by grading the white inner part of a mature coconut either by hand or with a machine and then adding a small amount of hot water to suspend the fat from the graded coconut pulp.
It can be made with different consistencies depending on the fat content. The thicker consistencies are often called coconut cream.
Coconut milk is easily made at home, and you can control the consistency of it.
Coconut milk is high in fat- coconut oil which has both long-chain fatty acids and medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid. These fatty acids are thought to help with metabolism and body composition as well as reducing appetite and decreased calorie intake. (*)
There has also been a study done on mice that showed that it can reduce inflammation. (*)
Here is the nutritional information on 100 grams of coconut milk (*):
|Total Carbs||5.54 grams|
|Net Carbs||3.34 grams|
Can you consume coconut milk on the keto diet?
Coconut milk has 230 calories per 100 grams, and it also has 3.34 grams of net carbs. (*)
Keeping in mind that it is a thick liquid, 100 grams can go a long way if you use it in moderation, it is also just slightly processed, but it should not have any added sugars or additives, although some brands may add both.
Coconut milk can be used on a keto and low-carb diet, as it is low in carbs and not highly-processed.
Coconut cream is thick, processed, highly-sweetened coconut milk that resembles condensed milk. It is used in cocktails like pina colada and in many desserts. It can also be used as a substitute for condensed milk in recipes.
In 100 grams of coconut cream, there are 330 calories, 6.65 grams of total carbs and just 4.45 grams of net carbs. (*)
Therefore, coconut cream can be used on a low-carb and keto diet and it is a great way to add thickness and creaminess to your recipes. It’s a dairy-free alternative to heavy cream.
Coconut oil or sometimes called copra oil is an edible oil derived from the meat or kernel of mature coconut fruits. While coconut oil has been used as food for many years, it is also used for hair grooming, for making soap and other cosmetic products.
Coconut oil is produced with two main processes: dry and wet. The dry process requires the coconut meat to be extracted and then dried by fire, sunlight, or kilns to create copra and the wet process uses the coconut milk that is extracted from the coconut meat rather than dried copra.
Coconut oil has high amounts of long-chain fatty acids and medium-chain fatty acids like lauric acid- about 50%, capric acid and caprylic acid- 12% . They make both the good HDL cholesterol and the bad LDL cholesterol raise. (*)
But, newer research concludes that the saturated fats in coconut oils are unique and do not harm your heart, but in fact they protect your heart and cardiovascular system by preventing obesity and diabetes. (*)
The medium chain triglycerides that coconut oil contains, may also help with getting your body in ketosis, because unlike other fats, MCTs are absorbed and taken directly to the liver where they are used for energy. This has been used to research potential benefits on patients with Alzheimer’s. (*)
The fast energy that they provide goes to the brain and may help metabolism and ultimately aid weight loss. (*)
Here is the nutritional information for 100 grams of coconut oil (*):
|Total Carbs||0 grams|
|Net Carbs||0 grams|
Can you consume coconut oil on the keto diet?
All the calories that coconut oil has come from its fat content of 99.06 grams per 100 grams, making it 892 calories. (*)
Coconut oil is one of the best oils you can use on a keto and low-carb diet to increase your fat intake,and it also has many health benefits.
Coconut flour is made from ground coconut meat. It has high fiber content and it is gluten-free, which makes it an alternative to wheat flour and great for those with gluten-related health issues like wheat allergy, celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Coconut flour is produced by cracking open the coconut and draining the liquid. Then the coconut meat is taken out by scraping it from the shell and then it is rinsed, grated, and strained to separate the meat from the liquid.
Then it is baked at low temperature to dry and then it is ground into a powder that has a mild taste.
As mentioned above coconut flour is made solely from coconut meat, which makes it naturally gluten-free which is great for those with gluten-related disorders and those following a paleo diet.
Coconut flour is rich in soluble fiber which can absorb large amounts of water and create a gel-like consistency. When ingested, they absorb the water from the food you are eating and can help it stay longer in the intestines- and make you feel full longer. (*) (*)
Here is the nutritional information of 100 grams of coconut flour (*):
|Total Carbs||60 grams|
|Net Carbs||26.7 grams|
Can you consume coconut flour on the keto diet?
Coconut flour has 400 calories and 26.7 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. (*)
However, even though 26.7 grams of net carbs may seem like a lot, 100 grams of coconut flour goes a long way, so per serving of 2 tablespoons or 15 grams you would have 9 grams of carbs out of which, only 4 grams are net carbs.
That means that you can use coconut flour in your keto and low-carb recipes.
Coconut meat, the pulp, or the coconut flesh is the white ring on the inside of the coconut fruit that is protected by the coconut shell. The coconut meat is edible both raw and dried. It can be shredded to make coconut flakes or ground to make coconut flour.
Mature coconut meat is used for its high oil and fat content for producing coconut oil, coconut milk, and cream. Coconut meat can be added to many dishes, but mainly it is used for desserts.
Coconut meat is also rich in saturated fat which is both long-chain fatty acids and medium-chain fatty acids. It is also high in fiber and it may aid weight loss and digestion, as well as regulate appetite. (*) (*)
Basically, coconut meat has the same health benefits as coconut flour.
Here is the nutritional information of 100 grams of coconut meat (*):
|Total Carbs||15.23 grams|
|Net Carbs||6.23 grams|
Can you consume coconut meat on the keto diet?
Coconut meat is high-carb with 354 calories per 100 grams, and it has a relatively low amount of net carbs at 6.23 grams per 100 grams. (*)
However, coconut meat comes straight out of the coconut fruit itself without being processed or it is just dried, so coconut meat can be a great way to add freshness to your dishes with a tropical, non-processed, low-carb food. And, 100 grams of coconut meat goes a long way, so you would be getting even fewer carbs.
Coconut flakes/ Shredded Coconut
Coconut flakes or shredded coconut is the dried then shredded coconut meat and they are most often used for cooking. Coconut flakes are used in many cuisines across the world, mainly for desserts like buko pie and macaroons and in chocolate bar fillings.
You can use flaked and shredded coconut for your keto recipes as long as they are unsweetened and minimally processed.
Most coconut products such as coconut oil, coconut flour, shredded coconut, coconut milk and cream are keto-friendly
Coconut water has 2.61 grams of net carbs in just 100 grams and it is keto-friendly as long as it is consumed in moderation.
Low-Carb and Sugar-Free Coconut Recipes You Can Make
If you are on a low-carb diet or a non-strict keto diet, then coconut products in careful dosages can be a great addition to your daily meals and they can add a refreshing and tropical flavor to them.
In addition to their tropical taste, they also have quite a few health benefits that may aid your keto journey.
*Photo by karissaa/depositphotos