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Is coconut milk in smoothies good for you?

Smoothies have become an increasingly popular way to get a nutritious breakfast or snack on-the-go. While traditional smoothies are made with fruit, yogurt, and ice, some people opt to use coconut milk instead of dairy milk or yogurt to make their smoothies. But is coconut milk actually a healthy choice for smoothies? Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons.

Pros of Using Coconut Milk in Smoothies

There are some potential benefits to using coconut milk in smoothies:

  • It’s dairy-free and vegan – Coconut milk can be a good option for people who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy, or follow a vegan diet.
  • High in healthy fats – Coconut milk contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are a type of healthy fat that may promote weight loss and have other health benefits.
  • Nutrient rich – Coconut milk has an impressive nutrition profile. One cup contains 5 grams of protein and is rich in iron, selenium, copper, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
  • Adds creaminess – The thick, creamy texture of coconut milk can make smoothies rich and satisfying.
  • Boosts fiber – If you make your own coconut milk, you retain the beneficial fiber from the coconut meat which adds fiber to your smoothie.

Cons of Using Coconut Milk in Smoothies

However, there are also some downsides to keep in mind when using coconut milk in smoothies:

  • High in calories and fat – While the fats in coconut milk are healthy, it is still very high in calories and saturated fat. One cup contains 552 calories and 57 grams of fat.
  • Low in protein – Unlike dairy milk, coconut milk is not a significant source of protein, containing only 5 grams per cup.
  • Risk of gastrointestinal issues – Some people may experience bloating, gas, or diarrhea when consuming too much coconut milk since it is high in fat.
  • Contains additives – Canned and carton versions tend to contain stabilizers, emulsifiers, and preservatives unlike homemade coconut milk.
  • Potential allergen – While rare, some people may be allergic to coconuts.

Nutrition Comparison of Dairy Milk and Coconut Milk

Looking at the nutrition facts, coconut milk and dairy milk have very different nutrient profiles:

Nutrient 1 Cup Whole Dairy Milk 1 Cup Light Coconut Milk
Calories 146 46
Fat 7.9 g 4.5 g
Saturated Fat 4.6 g 3.9 g
Carbs 12 g 2 g
Protein 8 g 0 g
Calcium 276 mg 1 mg

As you can see, dairy milk contains more protein and calcium while coconut milk is higher in fat, especially saturated fat. However, reduced fat coconut milk cuts the calories and fat substantially compared to full fat coconut milk.

Smoothie Ideas with Coconut Milk

If you want to give coconut milk smoothies a try, here are some tasty combinations to consider:

  • Piña Colada: Pineapple, banana, coconut milk, ice
  • Mocha: Brewed coffee, cacao powder, banana, coconut milk, ice
  • Green Smoothie: Spinach, mango, coconut milk, lime, ginger
  • Blueberry Cobbler: Blueberries, oats, cinnamon, almond butter, coconut milk
  • Strawberry Cheesecake: Strawberries, cashews, vanilla, coconut milk, ice
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter: Banana, peanut butter, cacao powder, coconut milk

Should You Use Coconut Milk in Your Smoothies?

At the end of the day, whether or not you should use coconut milk in smoothies depends on your personal preferences and health goals. Here are some final pros and cons to consider:


  • Gives a creamy, rich texture
  • Tastes delicious paired with fruits and spices
  • Dairy-free and vegan option
  • Provides healthy fats


  • Much higher in calories and fat compared to dairy milk
  • Lower in protein than dairy milk
  • Higher in saturated fat
  • Risk of gastrointestinal discomfort if consumed in excess

If you do enjoy using coconut milk in your smoothies, opt for light coconut milk and be mindful of portion sizes. Keep intake of coconut milk smoothies to an occasional treat, rather than a daily habit. Be sure to include plenty of whole fruits, veggies, protein, fiber and healthy fats from foods like nuts, seeds, avocado in your overall diet.

The Bottom Line

Coconut milk can be used to make creamy, delicious smoothies that are dairy-free and vegan. However, coconut milk is much higher in calories and saturated fat compared to dairy milk. Light coconut milk is a better option to keep calories under control. Enjoy coconut milk smoothies in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet.