Is Coconut Milk Better Than Cow’s Milk?

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Not exactly the same thing. But close.  (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Not exactly the same thing. But close. (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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Take a stroll down the dairy or ice cream aisle at your local grocery store and you will notice an old/new kid on the block. Coconut! From coconut milk and “ice cream” to coconut yogurt, the real question is— should you make the switch?

Because coconut oil is approximately 92% saturated fat (olive and soybean oils are 15% saturated fat), most of the fat in these coconut products is also saturated.

The fat in coconut oil is a bit unusual because it contains a high percentage of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs.) Most oils consist entirely of long-chain triglycerides (LCTs.) Coconut oil contains roughly 40 percent LCTs and 60 percent MCTs. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the difference matters because our bodies metabolize MCTs differently than LCTs. “MCTs are transported directly from the intestinal tract to the liver, where they’re likely to be directly burned off as fuel and raise the metabolic rate slightly,” explains researcher Marie-Pierre St-Onge of Columbia University. That means less is available to be circulated throughout the body and deposited in fat tissues.

So does all of this mean you should exchange your cow, soy or almond milk for coconut milk? No! Here’s why:

It’s still a saturated fat-rich product—which means it can raise LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Although it’s a milk substitute, it’s not an impressive source of calcium. One cup of SO Delicious Original Coconut Milk offers a mere 10% calcium. Cow, soy and almond milk are more generous—30%-45% of your daily calcium needs.
It’s made with sugar! You won’t actually find the word ‘sugar’ in the list of ingredients however, instead you’ll see the fancy phrase ‘organic evaporated cane juice’—which in layman’s terms means…sugar.
Of course, it won’t hurt to indulge in a small bowl of coconut “ice cream” (or any kind of ice cream for that matter) once in awhile—just make sure it’s only once in awhile. You don’t eat birthday cake every day…do you? Well…do you? Didn’t think so! For more healthy tips click here.

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