Can you coconut on a keto diet? Coconut is a popular health food and makes such yummy recipes but is it low carb enough to be keto-friendly?
Coconut is an adequate dairy replacement and often used to mimic dairy milk, cream, and butter. It’s caught the attention of the paleo crowd and now sparks the interested of low-carb dieters too.
Read on to learn all you need to know about which coconut-based ingredients are ketogenic and how to use them.
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Is Coconut Allowed in Keto Diet?
Coconut has a moderate amount of carbs and protein and high-fat content which makes it a very keto-friendly food. It’s naturally low-carb and high-fat which is what you want on a keto diet.
Coconut oil and coconut flour are the most common coconut-based ingredients I use in top-rated easy keto recipes.
7 Coconut Ingredients to Use on a Keto Diet
There are a number of different coconut products you can use in your kitchen. Each has its own unique properties and function. Let me explain a little about each one so you will understand what to shop for to best suit your needs. For your convince I’ll include a link to where I buy each of these foods so you can order them online and buy in bulk with ease.
Perhaps the most versatile plant-based fat, coconut oil is a staple ingredient in a healthy home. Cherished for its use in the kitchen, this oil can be used for frying, sautéing, searing, grilling, and baking. It is a common ingredient in personal care products, cold processed soap, and homemade toothpaste.
My preference is for a cold-pressed, centrifuged extracted oil because it is the most creamy, smooth, and clear. I find the flavor to be mild and enjoyable in sweet or savory dishes.
Of all the low-carb flours available, we use coconut flour the most. I like the taste and texture it contributes to low-carb baked goods. I feel satiated after eating it and am able to portion control better than with recipes built around almond flour. Coconut flour is naturally low in digestible carbohydrates and contains no gluten. The coconut flavor does not dominate sweet or savory baked goods.
Coconut flour is one of the most popular gluten-free, keto, and paleo friendly flours you will find. Made from a single ingredient, dried coconut meat, this is a great choice for your low-carb baking, breading, and thickening needs.
For me, this is undoubtedly one of the best ingredients for ketogenic baking. I use it because it’s high-fiber and will bind well in a recipe but is completely compliant for a low oxalate diet and various other wellness diets.
Coconut milk is a creamy plant-based milk substitute that is made by blending the coconut meat with the coconut water.
There is also a product called coconut milk powder. Mix the powder into hot water and you can make your own light coconut milk, standard coconut milk, or even coconut cream, depending on what ratio of powder to water you use.
Coconut milk is an ideal dairy-free milk for those with dairy sensitivities or dietary preferences. I use coconut milk in recipes like Keto Blueberry Scones, Sugar-Free Icing, and Mason Jar Keto Ice Cream.
Coconut cream is similar to coconut milk but significantly higher in fat. The cream does not taste as sweet as coconut milk does and has a thicker consistency.
Because it’s so tasty, I would recommend buying an organic coconut cream in bulk. Shopping in bulk usually helps save money on a keto diet too, so it’s a good budget strategy to start getting in the habit of doing.
This cream is a suitable alternative to heavy cream for those who prefer to use dairy-free ingredients.
Shredded coconut comes in all different shapes and sizes. Sometimes known as coconut flakes, shredded coconut is made from the dried coconut meat. Once dry, it is grated into different size pieces.
Make sure to buy an unsweetened product. Check the label, there should not be any ingredients other than coconut meat. Purchasing unsweetened coconut flakes in bulk is an easy way to stock up on pantry staples and ensure you have what you need on hand when the time comes to use it.
Large chips are great for snacking on and adding to trail mix or Hot Keto Cereal. Small flakes are perfect for coating No Bake Coconut Macaroons. In a pinch, I use coconut flakes as a replacement for coconut flour in Keto Carrot Cake and it works flawlessly.
Coconut butter is made by grinding dehydrated coconut flakes into a thick paste. It is thick like nut butter and can be scooped out with a spoon. Sometimes this is called “coconut spread”.
If you struggle with getting enough fat on a keto diet, coconut butter will be your friend! Blend it into a Blueberry Smoothie or spread a thick layer on a toasted slice of the Best Keto Bread with Psyllium Husk. Of course, it’s so good, you can eat it straight from the spoon too!
I also use it to make the “Dairy-Free Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting” from The Ultimate Guide to Low-Carb Baking.
Vinegar adds an enjoyable pucker to many recipes. Coconut vinegar is made from the sap of the coconut tree and crafted through a natural fermentation process that takes 45 to 60 days.
We are talking about a raw, unfiltered vinegar which includes the “mother” culture. All the enzymes and beneficial bacteria are intact!
Coconut vinegar can be used in all the same ways as apple cider vinegar.
What Kind of Coconut Oil for Keto Diet?
What to know what is the best type of coconut oil for keto diet?
There are a few on the market. I understand if you’re confused about the differences and wonder which coconut oil is best for you.
Let’s compare and contrast the similarities and differences.
Refined Coconut Oil is steam cleaned and does not taste like coconut at all. This oil is completely neutral and will absorb all the other flavors of a dish.
Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil has a rich flavor and aroma. Used for bath and body as well as cooking.
Centrifuge Extracted Coconut Oil has a mild and light coconut taste. Typically more expensive. Recommended for eating raw and using for no bake recipes, smoothies, and homemade chocolate.
Coconut oil is just one of the fats we use on a keto diet.
Each grade of coconut oil is available at a different price. This may be a factor in your decision.
Some people dislike the taste of coconut, in which case a refined oil will be the one you want.
Others consider the least processed form of coconut oil to be the best. For them, a centrifuged coconut oil will be the preferable option.
You can taste them all and see which one you like the best.
To save money, I buy a 5-gallon bucket in bulk once or twice a year. Buying the amount upfront saves a lot of money and packaging when compared to getting many smaller containers. I also like minimizing the frequency of shopping too.
What is the Best Coconut Milk for Keto?
Coconut milk is the creamy white liquid that comes from pureed coconut meat.
On average, the nutritional breakdown of 1 ounce (30 ml) of unsweetened canned or fresh coconut milk contains 7 grams fat, 0.5 grams protein, and 1.5 grams fat. (3)
These ratios are perfect for any low carb kind of diet. There’s no problem with using coconut milk on a keto diet.
I like making my food from scratch and as fresh as possible. For that reason, I make my own coconut milk from the whole coconut. Follow the tutorial on How to Make Coconut Milk from Fresh Coconut and you can too!
When I do buy coconut milk, I support Wildly Organic who is a family-owned and operated US-based business that specializes in coconut products. They have high-quality options that never disappoint me. I talk about my experience with their milk and milk powder in the list above, see #3.
How Many Carbs are in Unsweetened Coconut Milk?
The majority of calories in coconut milk come from fat. It’s a low-carb food with only 2 grams of total carbohydrate per 1/3 cup (80 ml). This number dramatically increases with added sugar. Read the label and make sure you’re getting the product you want. (4)
Is Coconut Water Allowed in Keto?
Are you excited about all the diverse options coconut can give you? It’s pretty amazing to get such a variety from one single plant.
Coconut water is the only coconut ingredient that is not approved for a keto diet.
Yes, it’s refreshing and delicious. However, it’s a little high in carbs.
In every 8 ounce serving of coconut water, there are 10 grams of total carbohydrate. (5) Consider that most bottles contain 2-4 servings of coconut water and you see how easy it is to drink up to 40 grams of carb without realizing it.
I recommend you omit the coconut water because the carbs can add up quickly and the sweetness can trigger unnecessary cravings.
Does Coconut Flour Have Carbs?
After reading what I shared in the list above, you know coconut flour is a unique flour for the ketogenic diet.
It’s popular for being a suitable low carb alternative.
But how many carbs does coconut flour have?
It’s not zero-carb and still needs to be considered when you track macros on keto.
A 1/4 cup (30 gram) serving contains 18 grams total carb, 10 grams fiber, and 8 grams net carb.
Most recipes call for 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour.
Let’s use my Simple Keto Chocolate Cake as an example. It called for 1/2 cup coconut flour for the whole recipe. Once baked, divide the cake into 12 servings. This gives 3 grams total carb, 1.6 grams fiber, and 1.3 grams net carb per piece of cake from flour.
Used appropriately, coconut flour is a great food to enjoy on keto diet!
Is Shredded Coconut Allowed on Keto Diet?
If you’re this far into the article, you’ve heard enough on all the ways we can eat coconut meat by now to know, YES, shredded coconut is allowed on a ketogenic diet.
It’s the perfect thing to decorate cakes with, give texture to low-carb smoothies, and coat no bake truffles.
How Many Carbs Are in Shredded Coconut?
Check it out, per 1/2 cup (40 g) of shredded coconut there are 9 grams of total carbohydrate. Subtract the 7 grams of fiber and you see there are only 2 grams net carb!
Per 100 g, shredded coconut contains 22.5 total carbs, 17.5 fiber, and 5 grams net carb. (6)
I hope this breakdown was thorough enough for you and answered all your questions about eating coconut on a keto diet.
It can be hard to make all the diet adjustments at once but arm yourself with the correct information and the decisions become easy. Soon a low-carb lifestyle will feel second nature.
This post was originally published February 15, 2018 and updated October 10, 2020 with new images and information.
Meet Jessica Haggard
Jessica Haggard is the creator of Primal Edge Health, where she shares simple, nourishing low-carb, keto and carnivore diet recipes. With a focus on from scratch, homemade cooking, animal-based nutrition, and easy DIY beauty and personal care recipes, there’s always something new going on in her kitchen! Jessica will teach you exactly how to thrive with all the best ingredients and enjoy the journey along the way.
This content was originally published here.