3 Reasons Why Coconut Milk May Not Be Your Friend | Chris Kresser
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3 Reasons Why Coconut Milk May Not Be Your Friend

by Chris Kresser

Last updated on


Coconut milk is often a staple fat source for those following a Paleo diet. From a nutritional perspective, it’s an excellent choice. It’s high in saturated fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are both easily burned as fuel by the body. MCTs are particularly beneficial in that they don’t require bile acids for digestion, and they’re directly shunted to the liver via the portal vein.

Coconut milk and fruit can be a great snack for Paleo folks, and coconut milk smoothies make a great Paleo breakfast choice – especially in the summer.

So what could be wrong with coconut milk? Here are three things to consider.


Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical that has been used in consumer goods since the 50s. It’s found in reusable drink containers, DVDs, cell phones, eyeglass lenses, automobile parts and sports equipment. While the research on BPA is still mixed (some studies indicating harm and others not), given the uncertainty I think it makes sense to avoid it whenever possible.

BPA is used in the lining of certain canned foods. BPA especially leaches into canned foods that are acidic, salty or fatty, such as coconut milk, tomatoes, soup, and vegetables.

Is BPA exposure common? You bet. This CDC report found BPA in the urine of 93% of adults. Perhaps most troubling is that companies like Nestle, Similac, Enfamil and PBM all use BPA in the linings of metal cans holding baby formula. This is scary in light of a recent study which found an association between neurobehavioral problems in infants and high levels of BPA in their mothers.

So what’s the solution here? In short, if you want to be on the safe side and reduce your exposure to BPA, you have to reduce your consumption of canned foods (including coconut milk) as much as possible. I made this recommendation in 9 Steps for Perfect Health-#3: Eat Real Food. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found that families who ate fresh food for three days with no canned food, and using only glass storage containers, experienced a 60% reduction of BPA in their urine. The reductions were even higher (75%) for those with the highest BPA levels at the beginning of the study.

The good news, however, is that there are at least two brands of coconut milk that don’t have BPA in them. One is Native Forest, which you can purchase on Amazon if it’s not available at your local store. The other is Arroy-D, which is a brand imported from Thailand. You can get it here (but you have to scroll down and order the version that comes in cartons, not the cans at the top). I’m a little suspicious of Arroy-D, though, because one Thai reader mentioned that it does contain other ingredients aside from coconut milk. I don’t read Thai, so I can’t confirm this. If anyone out there can, please leave a comment below.

Coconut milk can also be made quite easily at home, with coconut flakes, a blender and cheesecloth. Here’s a video to show you how (get a load of the soundtrack). I find that blanching the coconut flakes prior to blending improves the results.

Guar gum

The other potential problem with canned coconut milk is guar gum. Guar gum is a galactomannan, which is a polysaccharide consisting of a mannose backbone with a galactose side group.

It’s primarily the endosperm of guar beans.

Beans and legumes have a variety of compounds in them that make them difficult to digest, especially for people with digestive problems (1 in 3 Americans, from the latest statistics). In my clinical experience, many patients with gut issues improve when they remove guar gum from their diet—including canned coconut milk.

Unlike BPA, there’s no evidence that guar gum may cause serious harm. So, if you’re able to tolerate guar gum, there’s no reason to avoid it. If guar gum does give you digestive trouble, Native Forest has just released a new version of its product that doesn’t contain it, and Arroy-D also does not have it. The other option, of course, is making coconut milk at home.

Fructose malabsorption

Fructose malabsorption (FM) is a digestive disorder characterized by impaired transport of fructose across the small intestine. This results in increased levels of undigested fructose in the gut, which in turn causes overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. Undigested fructose also reduces the absorption of water into the intestine.

The clinical effects of FM include: intestinal dysbiosis, changes in motility, promotion of mucosal biofilm, and decreased levels of tryptophan, folates and zinc in the blood.

Symptoms produced include bloating, gas, pain, constipation or diarrhea, vomiting and fatigue (to name a few). Recent research has also tied fructose malabsorption to depression.

Lest you think this isn’t a common problem, studies have shown that up to 40% of people in Western countries suffer from fructose malabsorption.

Even in healthy people without fructose malabsorption, however, only about 20-25g of fructose can be properly absorbed at one sitting. Glucose assists in transport of fructose across the intestine, so in general foods with equal amounts of glucose and fructose will be better absorbed than foods with excess amounts of fructose (in relation to glucose).

While fructose malabsorption can cause symptoms in anyone, those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are particularly affected. While the prevalence of FM is the same in healthy populations and those with IBS & IBD, the experience of FM appears to be more intense in the latter group. This is probably due to the increased visceral sensitivity common in IBS and IBD patients.

In fact, one of the most promising clinical approaches to treating IBS & IBD right now is something called the FODMAP diet. FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo-, Di- and Mono-saccharides And Polyols. These include:

  • fructose (fruits, honey, HFCS)
  • fructans (wheat, onions)
  • lactose (milk sugar)
  • polyols (sugar alcohols like sorbitol, xylitol & mannitol, along with fruits like apples, pears and plums)
  • galactooligosaccharides (legumes & beans, brussel sprouts, onions)
  • other sweeteners like polydextrose and isomalt

Studies have found that restricting FODMAPs can significantly improve the symptoms associated with IBS, IBD and fructose malabsorption.

What does this have to do with coconut milk, you ask? According to Drs. Gibson & Barrett, experts in fructose malabsorption, coconut milk is a FODMAP and should be avoided by people with digestive conditions like IBS & IBD.

According to NutritionData.com, coconut milk has very little sugar of any kind – including fructose. Nevertheless, I do have patients that cannot even tolerate homemade coconut milk (which has no guar gum in it), even though they are fine with coconut oil. I assume that they are reacting to the fructose in the coconut milk – but I can’t be sure.


Let’s bring this together into recommendations for three different groups of people:

  • Women who are trying to get pregnant, pregnant or breastfeeding, children and other vulnerable populations (chronically ill): should avoid canned coconut milk products except for those that are BPA-free, like Native Forest and Arroy-D. Note: Native Forest is organic, but Arroy-D is not.
  • People with digestive problems (IBS, IBD, GERD, etc.): may want to avoid coconut products entirely, except for coconut oil
  • Healthy people: may be fine with canned coconut milk, provided they don’t react to the guar gum, and provided they’re willing to take the side of industry scientists that claim BPA doesn’t cause harm in humans

Want organic coconut milk – but without the BPA and guar gum?

The good news is that with a little extra effort you can easily make this at home yourself.

  • Purchase coconut cream (Let’s Do Organic and Artisana are good choices) and blend with water to make coconut milk.
  • Purchase shredded coconut (again, Let’s Do Organic is a good choice), and follow the instructions below for making homemade coconut milk.

Homemade coconut milk instructions



  • Heat water until hot (but not boiling).
  • Add shredded coconut and water to blender (preferably a Vitamix!) If all of the water won’t fit, you can add it in two batches.
  • Blend on high for several minutes until thick and creamy.
  • Pour through a colander to filter out the coconut pulp, then squeeze through a cheese cloth or nut milk bag to filter the smaller pieces of coconut.
  • If you separated the water into two batches, put the strained coconut back into the blender with the second batch of water.
  • Drink immediately or store in the fridge. Fresh coconut milk should be used within 3-4 days of making it for the best flavor and texture.


Join the conversation

  1. This is what experienced when i was in my teens about 45 years ago. To us in Singapore we will make coconut milk for cooking and making desserts only. We dont drink coconut milk as a “milk” drink. Coconut milk is made by buying grated old (not young green) coconut which is brown in colour after it has gone through the green period. The flesh is very hard by then and it is finely grated. The grated coconut is then mixed with some salt water and pressed out with a muslin cloth. The coconut “milk” is then used in curries, or desserts such as bananas cooked in coconut milk with coconut palm sugar.

    Coconut water comes from green young coconuts and at that stage the coconut flesh is soft and can be scraped of the inside of a coconut and served with the coconut water. This is how we used to “drink” iced coconut water with the soft flesh floating in the coconut water.

    So coconut water (from young green coconuts) is totally different from coconut milk (from old brown coconuts).

    Hope this helps clarify a little more !

    • Additionally, my grandmother used to make fresh coconut oil by boiling coconut milk until it thickens and separates into the oil and the coconut crunch. The oil is put in bottles for cooking and also as a hair oil (we never used it for skin). The coconut crunch is fried with long beans and is a delicious vegetable dish whenever she made a new batch if coconut oil frim fresh squeezed coconut milk.

  2. Unfortunately carton boxes also have a plastic lining BPA and all – how else do you think it prevents the coconut milk from soaking the carton?
    And yes the best coconut cream is the raw homemade one from dry coconuts using a Green Star or similar juicer.

  3. There is organic Aroy-D Coconut milk. From research I’ve been doing to avoid BPAs, I’ve come across articles stating BPA-free is not necessarily better, because what is often used as an alternative is BPS. This has been shown to be as toxic as BPAs.

  4. How much water do you mix with how much coconut butter to make coconut milk. I love coconut milk and would like a change from almond milk for some things.

    Thank you.

  5. Hi everyone, I live in Alberta Canada.
    I use ‘Real THAI original Thai cuisine’ coconut milk in the carton.
    Its ingredients are:
    Coconut extract 85%, water
    In Canada our FDA has pretty strict rules about disclosing all ingredients on packages.
    I get my 1 litre cartons at super store.
    I only buy it in the carton not the cans.

    • I also live in Calgary Alberta and Safeway currently is running this huge sale for $1 a 400ml can. I bought about a dozen or of them I decided to make meals with them. A couple hours after first consuming some coconut milk drinks and some regular food, for about 10 days now I am still suffering from this canned garbage that I made meals with. I have had nothing but ER visits (around 5 times already) and cardiologist appointments. I just discovered that this canned garbage is the problem. Stay away from it as you are either allergic or could have a bad can.

  6. I just had a coconut milk smoothie (about 200ml) -land have felt nauseous for about 4 hours.

    I’ve had coconut milk in smoothies before but not as much and been ok.

    Any thoughts? Suggestions?

    • I am goin thru this right now. Just drank some coconut milk (native forest brand) in a drink and now I feel miserable. My stomach is painful, bloated and cramping. Can’t stop burping and lots of nausea. Never again!!

      • Too much coconut milk or coconut oil can do this. You have to build up a tolerance think. I once took a ton of coconut oil and have never experienced stomach pain and diarrhea like that in my life. It’s a shock to the system if you do too much too soon.

    • Having coconut milk as kefir which is fermented or as yoghurt where the culture is still live could make a difference. I now mostly don’t have unfermented coconut or coconut milk for digestive reasons. Fermented seems very good for me. Kefir is so much easier to make as no heating is needed. You just pour the milk onto the culture – Tibetan mushroom obtained from someone who needs to divide their culture. You can play around with the proportions until you get the thickness and taste you like. Easy!

  7. Hello, I just arrived home from Israel with a tetra-pack of ‘coconut liquid’ from AROY-D, and I drank a half cup. 10 minutes later felt myself terribly, and I wasn’t sure if i will be vomiting, too, or just having diarrhea.
    The ‘coconut liquid’ has instruction in Thai language (I’m guessing), which I don’t understand. But between the lines it has a few English words that say’s:
    serving per container: about 3,
    serving size: 80 ml.
    And is a mysterious ‘60%’ with no English information.

    I am just wondering if it should be solved in water or something… Or it might be a coconut liquid that is made of coconut powder. I assume this because there was something weird on the package, it was re-labeled with Coconut Liquid, I peeled it off and it said underneath Coconut Milk.
    I have no idea what was wrong with it that they had to do this.
    I was writing this post right after it happened with me, and now I am feeling better already. 🙂 I think my stomach is special, it doesn’t like coconut in general.

    • I live in Israel and I buy AROY-D all the time, I eat Paleo and I use the coconut cream with my coffee or instead of whipped cream. Sometime I drink it alone. One day I drunk maybe half a carton(500ml) and I never felt sick.

      Just my daily experience.

  8. You did mention guar gum but unless I missed it (which is possible as I am very tired at the moment) some brands also contain xanthan gum which I know I am highly intolerant of and I believe it is more problematic than guar. Coconut milk also comes in tetra-paks which should be BPA free but some of those brands also contain gums.

  9. Coconut water is the clear water in young thai coconuts. Coconut water contains a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals with many health benefits.

    Nice explaination. Great post. Thanks for share (y)

  10. Interesting article and it’s interesting to note the comments regarding brain fog. I have been on a fairly clean paleo diet where I have eliminated everything from a bottle or can except coconut milk, almond milk, and hemp milk. I also struggle with brain fog and fatigue and had not made the association with the BPA or thickeners or emulsifiers used in my dairy free milks.

    • I recently started buying Natural Value coconut milk. It’s organic, the can has BPA free lining, and there’s no added guar gum. The only ingredients listed are organic coconut extract and water. It’s a product of the Philipines. Have you heard of this brand? Tastes fine. Just needs to be shaken and stirred better beforehand.

        • Wow, thanks so much for that info about can liners. I just drank about a cup or less of coconut milk in a bpa free can (field day) and I feel so weird this next morning. Like my head does not feel quite right. I can’t explain. I don’t like it though and I eat ALL fresh foods except for this experiment last night with coconut milk. Thank you so so much, I might have tried it again. But now never ever. I might wait 6 months then try homemade.

        • PAT, Thank you for sharing WHAT they are replacing BPA with. I have been wondering. I will have to learn how to presoak my beans & boil them at home instead of buying in cans. It takes time, but it’s safer than all these chemicals.

      • This is my concern too. I understand coconut to be antifungal and too much of it when you aren’t use to it can cause the Herximer(sp?) effect which can make you feel terrible.

  11. I am experiencing brain fog as well. The only factor different in my life is “drinking coconut milk”. Listening to others bring up this concern, makes me suspicious. Thanks for sharing!

    • Can I know how you drink coconut milk, drink it pure or mixed with coffee or other beverages
      And also estimates how many ML
      Per day or serving

    • Brain fog is also caused from lack of oxygen to the brain. Many years ago i fell face first onto a concrete floor from five to six feet up. I broke my whole left side of the face and never got it reconstructed.then last year i found a chiropractor with neurological background. He did a ten minute procedure on me that consisted of blowing air into a miniature balloon that was inserted into each nostril. He did each sode about three times. The pain was just like jumping into a pool without plugging your nose. I have to say i walked out of there in tears because i could not believe how clearly my thoughts were and how good i felt. The slighty closed off bones in my sinus area were cutting off my oxygen supply, slightly. If any of you with brain fog have ever had a face or head injury, this might be something to look into. It costed thirty bucks and i still feel amazing compared to about ten years of horrible brain fog.

  12. If you are interested in consuming BPA free coconut products. Trader Joes states that their canned coconut products do not contain BPA. And lists which products do on their website.

  13. I am getting extreme brain fog from drinking Silk Coconut milk which contains some of these gums. I will making this milk at home from now on. Just wanted to share in case someone else has this problem.

  14. Chris, wondering if you have considered the possibility that those with problems tolerating coconut milk could be getting a candida die off reaction? Fodmaps app has suggested that canned coconut milk should be ok but I still have problems with it. I also can experience nausea if I consume too much coconut oil.

    • A very good point Dee. Coconut in any form is not my friend. I wonder about the connection between coconut and candida. I experience extreme fatigue and brain fog, a sort of drugged feeling, when I use coconut in any form. I also had mercury and do not think it has all been chelate out. Have read that candida is prolific when having mercury as it gets out of control trying to fight the mercury.

      • at first I thought I had an allergy to coconut with itchy mouth, nausea and then later digestive pain. I have persisted with it mainly because i can’t tolerate dairy and nuts and I needed some type of milk and heard that coconut allergy is rare. After about 5 weeks the symptoms have reduced significantly which is why I am now suspecting candida? Would love more info on this topic.

        • You are correct, the itchy mouth and digestive upset are signs/symptoms of allergies. By continuing to drink the milk, your body developed a tolerance. If you were to stop drinking the milk for some time, then restart it, you could probably expect to have worse allergy symptoms from it.

  15. Coconut water is the clear water in young thai coconuts.Coconut water contains a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals with many health benefits.Thanks for sharing.

  16. Hi – I recently tested positive for e-histolytica for the 3rd or 4th time in the past few years. My Dr has subsequently prescribed me a heavy dose of two antibiotics (paromomycin and tindamax), which I have actually taken previously with mixed results. While these drugs fix my gut issues short-term, Im worried about the longer term damage they are doing to my gut flora. Since I concluded the last bout of antibiotics 11 months ago, I have tightened the diet to a more paleo-centric one focused on higher fat, lower carb and have been virtually gluten free, while also upping my exercise via crossfit and taking probiotics 2x a day. This is why I am particularly frustrated with the most recent positive test, and I simply don’t know what to do anymore. If the antibiotics will only relieve the symptoms for a few months, I don’t want to keep taking them as I fear they are doing more bad than good. But the natural more holistic alternatives haven’t had much of a positive impact either. Do u think I should continue with the meds and hope this is the last time? Any other paths u’d recommend I head down? I really don’t know what to do

    • Just a note in regards to your gut flora, you should look into fermenting as
      it will help you replenish. My dad teaches classes at a CC in Sedona, AZ regarding fermented vegetables and how the probiotics can positively impact your digestive system. It’s crazy simple and pretty tasty. I myself consume fermented cabbage on an almost daily basis ?

      Good luck to you!

      • Does fermented grapes count? I’ve started drinking 4-6oz of red wine for the health benefits. Does this help with the digestive tract?

    • Have you tried an enzyme? I had the same problem and my dr friend told me to take Omnizynes by Empirical Labs which you can purchase on Amazon. I had amazing results in just a few weeks. So I was told to start by taking 3-4 tabs with larger protein meals and less depending on the protein down to 1 with fruits, vegetables and such. It changed my life!
      I hope it works for you.

    • Great info on this site! I was looking for how to soften creamed coconut to make a pumpkin desert recipe and came across other topics.
      I too have digestive issues, but I believe I lost motility due to chemotherapy…horrible case of mucousitis. But I’m alive! 😉 So, of all people, my dermatologist told me to take a tablespoon of Bubbies sauerkraut each day. I got it a Fresh Market. It’s so frustrating taking so many things to hopefully make my digestive tract operate better that I forget to take it some days. I’m taking it now!! LOL Anyway, the jarred Bubbies sauerkraut is fermented. I personally like sauerkraut and eat a bit more right out of the jar. Thanks everyone!

  17. http://www.chefdoughty.com/blog/?p=173

    That (whacking it with a hammer on the ground) is not a great way to crack a coconut open. You’re handling food on the ground that is dirty. If you must do it this way, at least place the coconut in a clean plastic bag so the coconut doesn’t come in contact with the dirty concrete ground.

    If you’re in the tropics, coconuts are split cleanly in half by 1 to 2 whacks with a large heavy knife (jungle knife, hatchet, machete). You can use a chef’s knife (the back of it) instead and whack the coconut several times in the middle while turning turning the coconut. Here’s a video demonstrating the whacking – http://thehealthyfoodie.com/crack-open-coconut-easily-painlessly/

    It’s more sanitary than whacking on the ground and you get clean coconut water pouring directly into your bowl instead of onto the concrete ground.

  18. As I started reading your article it was apparent you are referring to canned coconut milk, so I stopped reading since I only use it packaged in a carton. Have updated your information?

  19. Is BPA-free organic coconut milk good for 1-year-olds? My baby is 10 months now. I am lactose intolerant. I’d like to give him coconut milk instead of cows milk when he turns 1. Any suggestions/advice?

      • Raquel .
        Also, my kid is 5 now. not so big on drinking milk, but loves goat yogurt, goat kefir and LOVES lots of greens.

        Arugula, Kale, Mix Power Green, Spinach ect.

        no sure if it has anything to do with it, but i think its from the milk having a mild grass flavor.

      • Goat milk is exactly the same as cows milk with one exception, it lacks the enzyme to curdle. Otherwise it has the same sugars , proteins, fats, mineral levels.

  20. also, this article makes no mention of another problem that can be associated with a lot of coconut (milk) products out there, & that is the forced labor of monkeys to harvest the coconuts in many countries, an ethical issue akin to those associated with palm oil production & the destruction of habitat & populations of orangutans & other species living where these palm oil plantations are replacing thousands of acres of virgin rainforest

    • Hi there, I live in a country that do use monkeys to harvest coconuts but in a very limited way. Because it takes time to train the monkey and you don’t get that much harvest because monkeys are not that efficient. Sometimes they just sit on top of the coconut trees and refuse to do any work.
      The misconception that we forced the monkeys to do the harvest is really not true. The monkeys are well look after and you could see the relationship between the owner and the monkey to know they have a good close relationship. Nothing like forcing them to work. Come and have a look and you will understand. The majority of the harvests are done by men using long poles with a curve knives.

  21. Great article. When I first read he negative title, I was thinking there was something bad or negative in the coconut itself. However that’s clearly not the case, but something the coconut juice is stored in. Then I immediately understood the story, as I too am painfully aware of BPA in containers.

    However, you then go on to say, wisely, about making one’s own coconut juice. But when I read that you use/recommend a Vitamix, my jaw dropped. Are you not aware that the jugs on all present day Vitamix machines are plastic – more specifically Tritan! Apparently tests have been conducted on so-called BPA-free plastics, only to reveal that actually they DO contain BPA! So BPA-free containing BPA. Yep!

    I’d steer well clear of ANY plastic jugs, especially so if heat is created, as BPA release is even more marked when the temperature is increased. Vitamix also does this, for making soups – AVOID!

    Go for either stainless or glass jugs. I’m given to understand that you can use a stainless Warings blender jug on a Vitamix (I’m not sure if it’s a standard jug, or one made especially for the Vitamix).

    Breville do make a machine very comparable to the Vitamix in performance, which has a glass jug, but they are limited, as there is a another similar model that has the dreaded (and to my mind cheap, like ALL plastic) Tritan jug (or cheaper plastic jugs too).

    I hope this at least alerts you to this hazard too, seeing as you’re obviously, and rightly, sensitive to anything containing BPA.

    Keep up the good work!

  22. If you are in Australia, Pure Harvest Organic Coco Quench coconut milk:


    Ingredients: Filtered water, organic coconut milk (20%), organic brown rice, sea salt.

    I buy a carton of 1 litre packs for about $3.50ea on special at a major supermarket. It has a high percentage of coconut milk compared to other brands. Their packaging is BPA free.

    I can’t develop a taste for nut, soy, goats, camel or any other substitutes. I am relieved to have found this product.

    • I just wanted to support this comment. I, too, have been a fan of coco quench for a number of years. I don’t consume dairy, can’t drink nut milks and try to avoid soy, so it is a welcome choice for someone severely limited in choice!

    • Yes. I just discovered this coconut milk myself. Organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, fair-trade & non-BPA. It’s a product of the Philippines. It’s a little hard to find sometimes tho. You can order it by the case through “Azure Standard” & they will deliver it to a drop off point in your area. They do not charge for shipping.
      The only drawback with this coconut milk is that it is not smooth when you open the can & it is necessary to stir it vigorously. Still, I think it’s the best on the market.

      • Plus, I tried using this brand to make yogurt (in a Yogourmet yogurt maker) and it didn’t work; it didn’t gel and the lite milk floated at the top and there was separated water at the bottom. I’m new to making yogurt and heard you “can” use coconut milk…so maybe I should’ve used the full fat version. ?

  23. I make homemade coconut from coconuts and avoid anything in a package. Buy whole coconuts drain the water crack open pry out the meat cut into smaller chunks add 32 oz filtered water to coconut meat blend in vitamix strain thru nut bag and you have fresh coconut milk.

    • Yes! We needn’t be relient on these huge, greedy, misleading businesses to do every little thing for us! Coconut milk is simple to make. Thank you for pointing out that it comes from coconuts, Susan. It’s like a foreign concept to so many people that we can make our own foods and drinks so easily from the fresh real thing.

      • Yes, Crunchy Mama, business are greedy and could care less about safety or health as long as its legal for them to do so and they continuing to bring in profits.

        Our government Depts like the FDA and EPA have been weakened by cutting budgets and allowing individuals with special interests connections to judge what can and cannot be offered for sale to the general public.

        Michael Taylor worked for Monsanto but has gone back and forth under several different administrations to be a decision maker in the FDA. He’s only one of many, even a Supreme Court Justice is an ex Monsanto employee, Clarence Thomas.

        We’ve all become too dependent on industrialized food when not that long ago people used to grow their own gardens and raised their own animals for meat consumption.

        The food today has little to no nutrition and filled with chemicals including pesticides, herbicides. growth hormones, antibiotics and things we need to look up because we don’t recognize the ingredients because they are anything but real food. Glyphosate is found everywhere its also known as one of the chemicals in Roundup AKA GMOs. All meat not 100% grass fed is also tainted they feed the ‘meat’ animals corn, BT corn which is a pesticide and cows like many other farm animals do not naturally eat corn or grains they eat grass. They use corn because its subsidized (welfare) by our tax dollars and make the animal grow faster so it gets to market quicker than we end up eating what its eaten and the dangerous cycle continues. If those same animals were not slaughtered their live span would be just a fraction of what it naturally should be because they too cannot live on corn especially contaminated corn, they need fresh clean grass to eat to see their full potential and live years longer.

        Know what you’re eating people! Its important, we are not artificial but made up of cells and bacteria. We will never evolve to eat chemicals……………never!

        Monsanto and friends hire their own scientist to spin the BS but the truth is staring us in the face just look at the level of illness’s people are having, its nothing like it used to be. Cancer is common as well as a host of diseases and conditions we never heard of 20-30 years ago.

        The soil is depleted on conventional farms instead of having healthy organism that give us nutritious foods we are left with sterile soil. That’s not how nature intended, the soil in my garden feeds my plants and that’s the way it should be and has been for thousands of years for others.

        If you can’t or don’t have the room for a garden you can join community shares or buy from local farmers and growers.

        No matter what you think about BPA it is also a factor and I for one avoid any toxin that I can.


        I doubt very much if Chris is trying to make a buck off of anyone buying the products he listed he’s simply giving you options that he knows are BPA free many of us share the info to help others but you can always find your own or read every label and contact the manufacturers and ask.

        That old saying ‘You are what you eat’ has never been more spot on…………..

        • If you can get fresh made coconut milk to last longer than 2.5 days or 60 hrs in the fridge, tell me your secret 🙂

          I’ve been drinking it fresh for a dozen years and I can never get beyond the third day, ever.

    • The best part for you IS the coconut juice inside the coconut. It does help to regulate your bowels. It’s a natural stool softener. This article is fear mongering.

    • And then the vitamix puts non-stick coating particles into your coconut milk. Look at youtube. Plus the company have been horrible at dealing with it and claim non stick coating is safe in small amounts. I’d never trust that company.

  24. Now Biona have changed their cans and that brand of tinned coconut milk also doesn’t have a lining with BPA in it. They also now list nothing other than coconut and water in the ingredients of their full fat milk (no guar gum stabiliser) and they use organically produced coconut milk. It’s easy to get hold of in the UK, more common in (non-specialist) supermarkets than Arroy-D.

  25. Excellent example of a deceiving commercial text. People wake up! The only reason Chris has written this article is because he wants you to buy those brands. Also the title and introduction is at least misleading as the reader expects to read something about why _coconut milk_ might not be good for you. Instead he goes on about canned products and other additives. Well it’s obvious that a highly processed or simply industrialised product derived from original coconut milk might have side effects. The fraction of people with PM might wish to avoid a whole bunch of food stuff that their body cannot process – it is all a matter of perspective. So what did we learn from this article? Nothing.

  26. I am living in Australia. I have been using a new coconut cream by Wokka a product of Thailand, processed for Manassen Foods Australia. It is supplied in a metal pouch (not in a can). Labeled as- Ingredients: Coconut Cream (100%). How do I find out if it is lined with BPA’s? And is there any other processing? Like Irradiated; Pastured; Hydrogenated or any other thing I don’t know about?

    • OMG this is a effing nightmare. WHY??? Are humans so sick as to do this?? Seriously I’ll never use coconut again because I’d never be sure unless they came from Florida or something. I honestly wont. I had no idea. Seriously wtf? Thank you so much for posting this. ♥

  27. To Jane and Rob, how kind of you both to respond to my query about losing weight or, more important, not gaining weight on hi fat low carb diets, when one is sedentary such as ourselves. You both had great info and I am following up. Blessings to you both, to myself, and to all… yes, it’s hard enough having a specific condition and then trying to find the best way to ameliorate some of its effects. Again, thank you so much!

  28. I am living France and have been buying the Aroy-D Coconut milk. Until a couple of months ago it stated “Ingredients: Coconut Water 60%, Water”.However, now this line is covered on every package by a sticker stating instead “Ingredients: COCONUT EXTRACT 60%, WATER; EMULSIFIER (E435)”.

    • I live in Illinois. I use Arroy-D coconut milk. The lining is BPA free. The ingredients listed are: Coconut extract 60%, Water. NO other ingredients are listed on the label.

  29. I did not see anything about Silk unsweetened coconut milk in your article. How does it compare? I use it everyday in my breakfast fruit, spinach and protein smoothie. I do have digestive problems but it seems when i use the Silk coconut milk I feel fine,
    I also love the new Cashew milk out now but it does seem to upset my digestion (along with other nut milks I have tried like Almond milk). I do not know why the almond and cashew milk upset my stomach but so far this coconut milk works well for me so will stick with it.

  30. I am suspicious with Arroy-D coconut milk in a can. Because I cook and ate it for the whole week, to make deserts (with black sticky rice).
    I feel so uncomfortable/bloat/lactacid on pelvic/stomach area. I thought it’s because I have my period. But I thought because I am having a period. But I went to emergency hospital, it seems doctor found nothing. Doctor is convinced it’s not because of coconut milk.

    I will try not eating coconut milk/fat/lactacid for a week. If I am cured, that means that coconut milk in a can is the culprit.

  31. Well, thanks for the background. At least I know I am not crazy. The most recent episode was very nasty with things happening on both ends of my body simultaneously. I think it goes back to a one cup of Goya Coconut milk ( the can was still in date) required by a recipe. A nearly identical experience was had a year earlier also with one cup of Goya coconut milk. The tie to lactose intolerance may be at work also; my body does better with “Lactaid” products.

    • I was Told That Pure Coconut Milk Straight from I coconut is unhealthy to men Because in the future or later on in Your life You Might not get kids, But I thought this Was supposed to be healthy because it’s natural. My Question is, Is this True?

  32. You should have indicated that the coconut milk you are referring to is not fresh, hence misleading. There are many countries who have an abundance of freshly made coconut milk. Does fresh coconut milk also to be avoided by diabetics?

    • Canned coconut milk seemed pretty apparent throughout the article. He even described the canned or box brands in detail. And then addressed fresh as well.

      • I 100% disgree. There is no mention of the word can in the opening of the article and at the end of the article I am still left unsure and to what he means by carton. I have never seen canned coconut milk, only cartoned, such as the So Delicious brand, in the freezer section. If you are not reading carefully and rely purely on the “shocking headline” you would avoid coconut milk all together. It’s a great alternative for toddlers that are lactose intolerant. To the other commenter, studies have shown that soy can lead to male infertility issues. I would google for more info.

        • Almond & Cashew milk might* be higher FODMAP. I’m not sure. Check out Low FodMap diet, Monash University’s 3 minute video.

        • @Me – True coconut milk is sold in a can. What you are referring to (Silk, So Delicious, etc.) is a coconut milk “beverage”. Not even remotely the same thing.

  33. Chris,
    Not sure if anyone helps you yet. What said on the Aroy-D label is 100% Coconut Milk. No Preservatives, and the address of the company.

    I’m not sure whether they put anything bad or suspicious in it or not. Just want to help you read the label 🙂

    The best way to get the coconut milk is to crack it open and squeeze the milk from the meat.

  34. I’ve also made coconut milk with fresh coconut a couple times recently. Removing the hull is the hardest part, and baking it in a 350 oven for 15 minutes then hitting it with a hammer does that for me. (Also good for stress reduction!)

    It’s reasonably economical – fresh coconuts cost $1.29-1.69 here and make about 500 mL of rich coconut milk each and Aroy-D coconut milk costs $5/L.

    • An easier way to crack open the coconut us to take it outside where you can use a hard rock or a kerbstone.

      Look for the three lines or veins that run vertically from the top to the bottom of the nut. Hold the nut firmly in your hand with the centre vein facing away from your palm. Strike the nut against the kerbstone aiming the central vein at the kerbstone. A few sharp hard taps on the veins should result in the nut cracking horizontally around the nut. You can then retrieve the flesh using a sharp knife if necessary. I or muse you it works with a bit of practice

      This is how Fijian people do it. They then use the kernel to make Bilo or cups by polishing the shell with sand until all of the hairy husk is removed revealing a shiny tortoiseshell pattern

  35. I am reading a book – The coconut oil diet. My daughter is a registered dietitian. I was telling her the benefits of the oil. She told me to be very aware of how many calories the oil contained. Should that be a concern?

    • I have a masters in nutrition and I say, keep reading and use the coconut oil! Yes it is higher in calories, but it will cause satiety and reduce cravings. Calorie and nutrient dense food is the way to go. There is much more to food than just the calorie count. Coconut oil is filled with medium chain triglycerides that actually cause your body to burn more calories and fat. It is also antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial and good for your intestinal flora health. I went on a higher fat diet with coconut oil, grass-fed meats and dairy, and my triglycerides and LDL went down and my HDL went up.

      good luck!

      • I’m suspicious that you maa’m sound like shill of the coconut marketing association but masquerade as a ‘nutritionist’ , beware of the saturated fat content . I’m a coconut farmer and while our products are tasty and flavorful , I will NEVER advise someone who is heart health conscious to eat or use edible products containing coconuts . Good Nutrition :Less than 2.5 grams of total fat and not more than 0.5 grams Sat fat for every 100 calorie portion . Keep this BS going till America learns the truth about coconut fats , after all its ‘make hay while the sun shines’.

        • Well for anyone that doubts that cholesterol benefits of coconut fat, all they need to do is get a before and after blood test to see if it works for them. Easy peasy.

        • The cells in our body,from our understanding, are made up of (either saturated fat, or cholesterol). They both are GOOD for you. Your brain needs them…

  36. Or you could just buy a whole coconut from your local fruit store…

    Poke a hole in the top with a skewer (where the holes are)
    Only ONE of the holes will work. (For some reason)

    Use a drill that is thick enough to poke a straw through and drill the hole where you made the previous hole.

    Then you can either stick a straw in and drink, or pour the milk into a cup.


    p.s. I really liked this article! Thanks!

    • Ollie, that would be coconut water 🙂 Still very good, healthy and delicious but that is NOT coconut milk.

    • The liquid you drink from the inside of a coconut with a straw is the coconut juice/water. Coconut milk means the product when you squeeze the coconut flesh (or dried coconut softened by soaking in water), it is an extract of the solid part of the coconut. You can make it easily from the whole coconut, once you have the coconut opened in half (I think people use a saw), by scraping off the white flesh with a sharp scraper (be careful to avoid cutting yourself!). Then pulverize in a mixer/blender and strain through a fine mesh.

    • That’s not coconut milk, that’s coconut water. You have to grind up the meat, the coconut along with the water to make the milk.

    • The liquid inside a coconut is coconut water, not milk. To make coconut milk, you’ll have to blend the water (either coconut water or plain tap) with the pulp inside.

  37. We have 2 Asian markets in my area which has a few coconut milk and cream products. The ONLY one that is 100% pure coconut milk is Aroy-D. It’s in a box, although they do have cans. They have small boxes and larger ones. I wasn’t able to use the larger one all at once so I put it in the refrigerator. It got solid and I had to cut the box open, put it in a pan and heat it. I suppose I could have put the box in a pan of water, but was afraid it would leak. I couldn’t put it in the microwave because the inner lining is more than likely aluminum or some type of metal. That says to me that it is 100% coconut milk since it solidified upon being refrigerated. It even states on the package to use within 2 days or it will congeal. It has the best taste to me. I also buy a coconut cream in a 14 oz. can (probably BPA lined) by Savoy, and it says it is a coconut extract and water. Probably not as good, but is much less in cost than Aroy-D.

    • I freeze the coconut milk/cream by dividing the whole container into an ice-cube tray. I then use the amount of cubes I need. A medium sized cube weighs around 15 grams.

    • FYI, Savoy is an Aroy-D product and I use both for different things. Also, I use mine for weeks by putting it in a 16 oz, wide-mouth canning jar once I open the can. I take a piece of masking tape and write the date on it. I have had it in the fridge for as long as 4 weeks with no degradation in quality.

    • Savoy brand tastes like tin can so does Trader Joes.Thai kitchen is the best and no bpa liner,I buy it at Kroger

      • I was sold on Trader Joes fresh coconut milk in the milk jugs, refrigerated section. I also like that their canned version was low fat. I didn’t think it tasted bad, especially for using in recipes. Here’s a tip from Cuba: fresh coconut water, squeeze of lime and a shot of sweet Cuban rum!

  38. I don’t recommend coconut milk either. I drink almond milk, great option for those who are lactose intolerant.

    Nothing is like it use to be, which is why you should always look on the back to see what your really putting into your body.


      • Apple seeds contain cyanide, they are poisonous.

        I wish someone would answer this question (I have asked on a few websites): Won’t I gain weight on Hi Fat Low Carb diet IF I do NOT exercise? I have MS and just simply cannot exercise or even walk down the hall.

        Thanks and be well! Learning a lot! For hypoglycemia, I have replaced my “protein bars” with packets of almond or hazelnut butter. I also started coconut oil several months ago. I have GAINED 25 pounds over the past year (btw, the MS is progressing, I’m doing even less physical activity, using my power wheelchair in the house, etc.).

        • In answer to your question, here is my testimony:

          I am extremely sedentary. I lost weight, and kept if off, after switching to a very low carbohydrate diet. I eat moderate amount of protein and the rest is fat. I do not count anything, except to get to make sure to eat enough protein.
          My net weight loss was about 20 pounds, but only if I manage to stay away from the all-too-tempting nuts and full fat yogurt. I can eat either of those as if I were binging on cookies or ice cream, and an increase in abdominal fat follows.

            • Dear Jane, Thank you for your replies! You put it into perspective for me, especially coming from another “sedentary” person. I’ve been studying “Grain Brain” on the internet but finally read the phrase “aerobic exercise.” Said almost like a “given.” So, I know, the carbs have got to go ‘way down. Thanks so much, so kind of you to reply.

              • PS I also will let go of nuts and full-fat yogurt, which I was doing. I was advised to switch to these foods… Well, our own bodies tell us what works and what doesn’t. Be well!

                • I have autoimmune illness that left me pretty disabled/sedentary. I’ve lost 50 lbs following (The Paleo Mom) Sarah Ballentyne’s Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. I eat no nuts/seeds, but a couple of table spoons of coconut oil daily in addition to cooking w it & olive oil. My only carbs are green vegetables and I keep starchy/sweet veggies to a minimum (a few servings per week). I don’t each much fruit. Fruit is a treat or enhances a salad w just w sprinkle. Managing life… & weight can be so hard without full mobility. Best wishes!

                • Diane,

                  I hope you saw Rob’s reply too. He adds important details.

                  Sarah Ballantyne’s Autoimmune Paleo Approach and Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook explain the most nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet that I have seen.

                  Like Rob though, I would caution that for extremely sedentary people, the extra step of cutting out starchy vegetables and fruits is extremely important.

                  I recommend that you look up Terry Wahls, MD., who has MS herself, and is leading some clinical trials.
                  She has also published a book about a protocol and diet for autoimmune conditions.

                  Wahls includes neuromuscular electrical stimulation in her protocol, which I gather can strengthen muscles and promote strength and mobility.

              • There’s another similar group of low carb dieting called “Trim Healthy mama’s”
                I’m hearing great things from friends.

        • Hi Jane,
          My 2 cents: I quit all forms of MSG. Which means all processed food and most restaurant food. I eat whatever I want as long as I cook it from scratch or know all the ingredients. Currently losing 1 to 1.5 lbs a week with no change in exercise, and my achy joints, tendon issues, and rosacea are all rapidly clearing (1 month in). MSG (processed free glutamic acid) is implicated in many conditions and diseases, including weight gain and MS. See msgtruth.org or any blog or website that not influenced by big food producers.

        • Read up on pufas, hazelnut oil is an excellent way to gain unhealthy fat, especially when combined with sugar (particularly fructose). Coconut oil is excellent though.

        • Hi! Just wanted to add that I lose weight without exercising following a low-carb diet. I was too lazy and working too much but just shifting to low-carb instantly started the scale moving. I first tried Atkins which led me to discovering paleo. For me primal has made the most sense and I really like Mark Sissons attitude and take on things. I notice immediate improvement in so many areas following it. I unfortunately have a serious grain addiction so I keep going back but am getting better and better with limiting consumpton and choosing better quality when I do eat them. I’ve successfully kept off approx 25-30lbs and I credit it all to diet more than exercise. Exercise is important but diet seems to have the most impact. Good luck to you!

    • You should sincerely look into almond milks ingredients and truth about it. The amount of almonds used in it is not worth the “colored water” you are drinking. I would consider makind almond milk myself.

  39. I have been searching also for a coconut milk that does not contain anything other than coconut and water. I thought I had found the perfect one with Aroyd-D which we can import here in New Zealand. EVERY other coconut cream in supermarket and health food stores contain guar gum. They can water it down and then thicken it using the gum. The effects of eating this cause explosive diarrhoea which I prefer to avoid. Sadly I am now getting this effect every time I eat the Aroyd-D brand. It does not state on the can or packet that it contains anything more than coconut and water, if this is the case it is deceptive and surely illegal to market a product without all the ingredients listed. I know each country is different. I like to know what I am eating. I have tried making my own coconut cream but it is quite a process. Any ideas?

    • Buy raw coconut butter from Artisana, Nutiva, and other brands mix it with medium warm water and you will get coconut milk. That is what i do when i need coconut milk and i make my own coconut yogurt this way. Raw coconut butter is coconut flesh pureed. so it is pure pure coconut with no additive and you can use it as butter on toast and it is yum! Try it!

    • Watch out for stuff from Thailand, they don’t have good regulations and some ingredients might not be listed on the label. I bought the Arroy-D and Natural Value and compare the milk and Arroy-D is a bit suspicious to me. It is too smooth and wonder if they homogenized the milk or add a thickener as i read in one blog that is what they do. If you look at the Natural Value milk it looks and taste more like real coconut milk. I am from Asia and i know what real coconut milk taste like. My recommendation would be Natural Value brand.

      • hi kim
        i was very interested in your comment
        about unlabelled products from thailand and that as an asian you have some awareness.
        what do you think of blue dragon? the uk distributor is in lancs
        i may be reacting to it…and my coeliac friend definitely does react to coconut milk but is ok with the oil. i seem to get constipated by coconut milk. Perhaps i was consuming too much…i may try re-introducing but having smaller amounts….so disappointed…it was making life worthwhile. any suggestions for alternative smoothies? is it FODMAPS is it fructose high? i’m confused….!!

        Thanks Chris for all the thought you put into this article. can you poss help to unravel these more tricky issues….!! thanks x

    • Same issue I have had… possible symptoms of IB or colitis… I think I am ok with the stuff once it’s cooked. Some intolerances and allergies are not set off when things are cooked, as the chemistry is changed again by the heat. Ie some people who cannot have milk or banana find they can have it cooked – I’m using those for an example as I have heard of both separately. Have you noticed any difference? I realised a while ago that I used to not be able to tolerate coconut products but now do alot of coconut cream, cooked, with no immediate issue. I only realised after making a desert in which it was used in a fair quantity and wasn’t cooked. I am still testing my most recent hypothesis for myself though and wondered if anyone else had any thoughts or experience to add!

    • Aileenpnz
      As a kiwi you could get from Australia “Honest to Goodness” coconut milk or cream. It has not additives at all and no BPA in the can.

  40. Or….you can buy coconut milk in a carton in the refrigerated section by the milk products. BPA free. Who drinks it from a can anyways??? ewe….

  41. OMG…. the homemade coconut milk from the recipe in this article is absolutely delicious. This is better than any of the commercial coconut milks I have ever tried. I also make all my own nut milks and this is also better than any of those. It is now my new favorite.

    I used 1 and 3/4 cups of unsweetened shredded organic coconut with 4 cups of warm water. I added 2 dates for a little sweetness as well as a TBSP of vanilla and a tiny pinch of sea salt. YUM!

    It took less than 10 min with a nut milk bag.

    I brought some to work and everyone who tried it raved about it and wanted the recipe!!

    I can’t imagine ever buying commercial again!!

    Chris….thanks for the article and recipe!

  42. Hi,

    Thanks for the great information, there is just one point I find contradictory I wondered if you could clarify this for me…

    According to Drs. Gibson & Barrett, experts in fructose malabsorption, coconut milk is is a FODMAP and should be avoided by people with digestive conditions like IBS & IBD.

    According to NutritionData.com, coconut milk has very little sugar of any kind – including fructose.

    Thank you in advance, Kind regards, Kim

  43. Hello Chris, Just found your site Yest. I’m really enjoying all the great info ! I have IBS and I think fructose problems. Anyway I found I’m allergic to both coconut oil and milk , bloats and makes me get hives . That was a bummer when I first started Paleo !!
    I’ve been reading your e-books and on gut problems . I thought all along I had some thing going on . I ordered your probiotic . I tried just a cheap store brand, had real bad stomach cramps with trouble breathing. I was afraid to try another one. Back then I wasn’t looking at labels as much . Could have been something in it I was allergic to, but I seen that yours has worked for people prone to have them .
    I can’t have dairy , or fermented either .

  44. In my opinion, it is best to make your own. I have three kids all under the age of three, so I am typically doing this late at night. I use Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened, unsulfered coconut, either the flakes or the shredded version. It works very well in the Magic Bullet with hot water added. I just use a mesh colander and press it with a spoon. It makes fabulous coconut milk.

    1 cup shredded coconut, use more if using flakes
    1.5 cups water
    blend for 2-3 minutes
    put in mason jar and refrigerate

    I will use a little of this milk (once chilled) with a banana and some crushed ice and a little filtered water, put it back in the Magic Bullet and mix. This is an amazing tasting banana coconut smoothie.

  45. A couple of questions…. It was my understanding that Tetra Packs were lined with a plastic material as well – so BPA there as well? I’ve avoided them like the plaque since they came out.

    What is the reason for not boiling the coconut when making coconut milk? I was thinking the ‘steamer’ feature on my digital pressure cooker [stainless steel inner pot] would release more of the good stuff. I long suspected coconut meat shreds were heat treated in some manner to eradicate any sort of creepy crawlers or bacterium, so steaming the shreds wouldn’t cause any additional problems.

  46. I checked out the canned coconut milk “Native Forest” mentioned in the article. It contains guar gum. I looked around and found this one: amzn.to/1zw3IXs There’s no BPA, no guar gum or carrageenan. The ingredients are “coconut extract, water”. If you believe their label, all they do is take coconut flesh, water, and puree it. So it sounds good, but I’m not sure why the label says “extract” instead of just “coconut”. Finding easily trusted food should not be this difficult…

    • Coconut extract, as many other extracts, is probably made by soaking coconut in alcohol. It seems to me that if you want to be sure your coconut milk is pure, make it yourself from a whole coconut. It isn’t as hard or as time-consuming as you might think!

      • My one time experience was excruciating. The results were almost unbelievable and incredibly delicious. Maybe I just got a harder than hard coconut but the process took me nearly 3 hours for not much milk.Maybe I will try it again but I am more likely to try the coconut flake recipe posted here.

    • if it’s in a can and it’s not labeled “BPA free” then the can has BPA in the plastic lining. It’s not an ingreditent, it’s not going to be listed. Even if it’s labeled “BPA free”, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have other plasticizers that are less well known as BPA and potentially equally toxic. I say it’s better to stay away from canned foods as much as possible.

  47. I am in Australia. Our “additives” are coded by number. My current coconut milk has #407 & #418

    407 is clearly carageenan
    418 is “Gellan gum.(thickener, stabiliser, gelling agent)” This is not Guar gum (which is #412), but what is it really?

    And how do you like the secret codes on ingredients in this country? I have a “translator book” that I got years ago, but most people either memorize their “bad numbers” or ignore them, or – best option – eat food with NO NUMBERS at all.

    • According to Wikiiedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gellan_gum ), gellan gum is a product of the bacterium Sphingomonas elodea.
      Chris Kresser included it in the gums discussed at http://chriskresser.com/harmful-or-harmless-guar-gum-locust-bean-gum-and-more/ , saying, “Gellan gum is similar to xanthan gum in that it is an exopolysaccharide produced by bacterial fermentation. Unfortunately, the routine animal toxicity studies conducted for new food additives aren’t available online, but we do have a human study to look at. To test the safety of gellan gum, the diets of ten volunteers were supplemented with gellan gum at approximately 30 times the level of normal dietary exposure for 23 days. (21) Gellan gum acted as a bulking agent similar to xanthan gum, but no adverse effects were reported. However, a rat study with gellan gum supplemented at 5% of the diet for 4 weeks resulted in abnormalities in intestinal microvilli, which is concerning. (22) This rat study, as well as the lack of data overall, makes me cautious, and I think those with sensitive guts should avoid it just to be on the safe side. For everyone else, I doubt the small amounts found in food will cause a problem, but it might be best to avoid it if possible.”
      There’s also a bit more detail at http://www.nutrientsreview.com/carbs/soluble-fiber-gellan-gum.html: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not given gellan gum the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) status, but it approves its use in foods [4]. Gellan gum has “ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) not specified” status by JECFA [5], meaning toxicity at any amount has not been reported. Excessive intake may cause abdominal bloating, excessive gas (flatulence), loose stools or diarrhea [1].

      • Thank you Gillian. That seems somewhat less than guar and carageenan.

        I just wish it weren’t all number coded here. I have to carry a book around with me just to figure out what I’m eating!
        Thanks again

        • If you have a smart phone download the app Chemical Maize and use it while grocery shopping, all our Australian codes for food and cosmetics are in it.

  48. Where is the evidence claiming that coconut milk is high in fructose? You give a lot of statistics on fructose malabsorption and then zero on actual fructose concentration of coconut milk. I am curious to know if this is an actual issue in coconut milk or just an assumption. A high FODMAP food and a high fructose are two entirely different things.

    • In the paragraph right before ‘Recommendations,’ the author states explicitly that: “According to NutritionData.com, coconut milk has very little sugar of any kind – including fructose.”

    • I am wondering if the problem some are having with coconut milk is not the fructose but the salicylates. Chris did not mention them at all, but coconut does the same thing other salicylates do to me – brain fog and horrible fatigue. Check the food list for salicylates. Coconut is very high. Perhaps someone would like to address this.

    • I am wondering if the problem some are having with coconut milk is not the fructose but the salicylates. Chris did not mention them at all, but coconut does the same thing other salicylates do to me – brain fog and horrible fatigue. Check the food list for salicylates. Coconut is very high. Perhaps someone would like to address this. Why won’t you ever let me say anything on this site?

  49. I don’t know if it’s been mentioned below yet, but Native Forest does NOT have their ‘BPA Free’ label on cans anymore (as of February 2015 when I was last at Whole Foods– the closest health food store here)!

    I am SO disappointed. I can make my own, but with little kids, I have limited time..

    • If you have a Trader Joe’s in your town, try them. They say that almost all of their cans do not contain BPA, but make sure it applies to their coconut milk. I buy the light version and the label shows no guar gum either. I like the lighter taste of that product.

      • I think all this stuff is so funny. I’m sorry for those of you that have legitimate health issues. A friend of mine has celiac disease. It’s terrible. However, so many people out there are just such huge suckers and sheep. They just latch onto whatever BS trend rolls out, and follow everyone else. No one thinks for themselves anymore. No one knows how to find and read actual scientific research anymore.

        Most people I know who are on organic diets, or gluten free, or non-GMO have no idea what any of that stuff means. They have not done any research on those diets, or their effects. It’s just stupid. When asked they just say something like, “it’s healthier”. Press them and you get nothing substantial, just parroted catch phrases and hype words. There’s just so much crap info out there and everyone is too easily persuaded to change significant aspects of their lives like diet.

        First butter was bad. Now it’s good. “BPA is the devil!” Well, except there’s no real conclusive evidence about its harmfulness. There are as many studies exonerating it as there are condemning it. It may be bad, but this may all just be overreaction. “Organic is healthier!” Oh, but Stanford proved that organic and non organic veggies are chemically identical.

        And don’t get me started on Gluten free. Jesus, all the bandwagon people that have no clue. Ladies and gentlemen, you either have celiac disease or you don’t. It occurs in 1/133 Americans. That’s 0.75% of the population. Yet somehow gluten free items did $2.6 BILLION in sales in the U.S. in 2010, and are expected to hit over $5 BILLION this year. If you think these food companies aren’t bombarding you with marketing BS just to sell you crap you don’t need, you’re crazy.

        Sorry for the rant. Go back to enjoying your coconut milk.

        Oh, and author, the title was EXCEPTIONALLY inappropriate given the content. Talk about trying to suck people in with a title then blowing it on content. Your title basically said that coconut was bad for us. Then your facts said it MIGHT be bad for the small group of people with IBS, some types of additives in SOME coconut milk might be bad for people with sensitivities to those additives (DUH!!!), and that BPA is bad (but only maybe, according to the presented data). What worthlessness, except for the recipe. Really though, one of your three points is actually pointing out how BPA, not coconut milk, is (maybe) bad. Then points two and three are relevant to a small portion of the population. Given the title, you should be ashamed.

        • I see it this way: Eat ONLY Fresh Veggies & Fresh Fruit and get your protein from grass fed farms, limit or get rid of coffee, soda, and other beverages that stress your adrenal glands, and you’ll be surprised how awesome you feel! If you haven’t seen the movie that came out last year called, “Fed Up”, I highly encourage you to do so! It was an eye opener to me. We are all allowing ourselves to be controlled on a global
          basis By the food industry and its practices. I think preparing your own coconut milk is fine, just be careful about where you get your coconut flakes. I do believe Bob Mills is the best choice here. The point is eat the way our bodies were intended to eat…natural, life sustaining foods. Eating this way WILL lower your grocery bill! Don’t feed into the food industries lies!

        • I agree Yo Mammie & Mary, there is a lot of rubbish talked about diets etc, with almost no reference to real research in the subject, as with your comment Mary, that we should “get our protein from grass fed farms”!! I presume you are referring to meat, which is not necessary as vegans can get adequate protein from many vegetables, like sweet potato (20% protein) etc. For the full research on wholefood plant based diets please read the book “The China Study” published in 2004 by Benbella, written by Prof T. Colin Campbell Ph.D. (with his son) describing his more than 30 years in nutrition research especially in China at the request of the Chinese Govt., with over 700 supporting scientific references. Also go to the website of Dr John McDougall MD for supporting scientific information and tasty recipes. The information in these peoples research is truly life changing, and not reliant on gimmicky diets like Paleo (whose developer states he based it on the evolution of the Cave dwelling hunter gatherers lifestyle, but fails to reveal that the hunter gatherers only lived for about 30-35years!! etc. Anyway check the references above for yourself, it just could save your life!

  50. Having read this post and a large number of the comments, it’s quite depressing! Trying to eat healthfully can be challenging. I just returned from a shopping trip looking for the illusive coconut milk , either canned or in tatra packs without BPA or guar gum to carrageenan… I nearly quit after a very reputable health food market could not provide one option. I was pleased to eventually find that a No Frills store carries “Real Thai” brand coconut milk in a tetra pack that is 85% coconut extract and water! It does exist….

    • We get the Silk coconut milk. It has nothing of concern added to it and is good-tasting. It comes in a wax container and lasts for a few weeks.

      • I use the Silk Brand as well, as it’s the only store bought option I have at the moment, but it does contain Carrageenan, which is something that is really not a good thing, just fyi 🙂

        • I used to buy Silk’s Coconut Milk until I noticed ‘guar gum’ & ‘carrageenan.’ I’d been having painful flare-ups in my joints & didn’t know why. Now, I do. Guar gum is highly inflammatory & I’ve never tolerated it. I was so glad to find coconut milk, I didn’t realize the Silk brand contained additives. I’ll be making my own with fresh coconut sold by vendors.

          • Silk Anything in the cartoon….garbage. I called the company to check out their ingredients and
            they wouldn’t tell me. Natural flavors?? Right…
            Most likely it’s a Trade Secret a.k.a we really don’t want you to know. The woman I talked to said she would get back to me. NOT!

        • I buy the SO brand in the tetra pak when in a pinch. Some organic ingredients, contains No carrageenan but contains guar gum and some other gum ingredient. Plus all kinds of vitamin mineral/vitamin enrichment and of course they are in a form that is not very absorbable.

    • It really would not be depressing if we get back to basics. By that I mean making from scratch all the things we buy ready made. I make my own mayonnaise, salad dressing and a lot more. I just make the from scratch thing a priority and other activities move down in importance. You think it’s important for your little kids to play sports (just an example)? I think it is detrimental as they are supposed to be learning how to navigate the world on there own with guidance from their parents not be ruled by some coach. It really is more important that they know WHERE their food comes from besides a grocery store. Those activities are what’s important.

  51. I find this article completely biased. It is a great article as far as canned coconut milk ,but the hype on the headline is completely uncalled for .I buy organic boxed coconut milk at whole foods. Please make the distinction .You are a respectable writer and honesty goes a long way too.

    • Thank you for saying that…the headline of the article is misleading based on what follows. There are many other food items that are also packed in BPA lined cans & containers. There are also quite a few foods that should be avoided for the health conditions listed in the article…the headline should have been more in line with the article & not stated in such a way to make it seems as though coconut milk is the lone culprit.

      • I am a blogger and do not think that the title was misleading in any way. Yes it was a bit dramatic but you have to come up with titles that are true yet get the readers to read. I do not feel that Chris villainized coconut milk at all. In fact he even gives a recipe to make your own. I think we in current times are way too dependent on convenience and companies to provide our food needs. For heavens sake, make your own and stop depending on big food to do it for you. Then, there would not have been a need for this article but I personally glad he wrote it.

  52. And there was no mention of organic So Delicous Coconut Milk. It’s in a carton, and very good. The creamer is different though as it has a seaweed ingredient for thickness, that causes me terrible gastro distress. But I’m a coconut milk believer.

  53. Hi. this thread is so long I couldn’t read them all. I apologise if I’ve missed any articles on powdered coconut. However, I use powdered dried coconut powder. Just add water to make either milk or cream. Its use was recommended to me by my Indian cookery teacher who is a retired GP.

  54. I purchase the Nature Value because its BPA free as well. However, I was recently reading an article discussing the substitution of BP-A with other bisphenols, like “s” which are equally as unhealthy. Chris, what are your thoughts on this? Seems like all cans require a lining for non-adhesion and non-corrosion.

    • If you are basing that statement on the “Eat Right For Your Type” book, that book and information about blood types has been debunked, thankfully. As a type A, my ethnicity is Sicilian (Mediterranean) and English/Irish. One is a big meat eater, the other is not. A’s are not supposed to have red meat, but when I don’t eat it, I have no energy. That book is a bunch of junk science. You can google the science that debunked it, if you care to find out, but I would never base my diet on that book. I already know it wouldn’t/didn’t work for me.

      • As Chris has stated over and over, everyone is different. I had pretty much been living on chicken, coconut, avocado and (unsulphured) bacon for about three days. I got up one morning and could barely walk. I searched the internet and found the blood type diet. Guess what? I had been eating four foods on my avoid list. When I stopped (immediately) the symptoms cleared up. I am a believer now.

      • I felt the same when I read the book, but I can tell you that in Japan (and probably other Asian countries), blood type is considered important information – nutritionally, sociologically, psychologically. Just thot I’d mention it. My diet is crazy due to IBS/MS.

        Oh, BTW – SO Delicious Frozen Coconut Milk is the BEST!!! I am SO happy to eat “ice cream” again! (yes, sugar, well, once in a while…)

  55. This article does not say to me that coconut milk is bad. It’s saying that we should stay clear of CANNED coconut milk. That distinction needs to be made, because it is very possible to make your own coconut milk. The problem with coconut milk is the additives, which is the case with ANY food that’s not organic. Make your own coconut milk with coconut shavings and hot water, and you will be fine.

    This is link bait.

    • Now I know that I’m not losing my mind. I had some at lunch and 30 mins afterwards, I was itching all over. At first I thought maybe it’s just dryness from the extreme Winter weather, but I was itchy in odd spots as well so I discounted that theory. The milk is the culprit, because every thing else I consumed at lunch I have on a regular basis without issues.

    • When I consume guar gum I get this tingly, itchy, sensation particularly on my limbs. How do I know it’s the guar gum? I tried a fibre supplement that is guar gum and only took half a dose….my skin and scalp were on fire for three days. No rash, just tingling. I can eat all of the coconut I want and nothing.
      Make sure you get a coconut milk that doesn’t have guar gum.
      Other brands use carageenan which is known to cause intestinal spasms….stick to homemade or pure coconut milk with no additives.

  56. I felt like I was going to explode for a few days — not horrible but just major bloating. I could NOT figure out what I ate, and then I realized I recently had been eating bowls of cereal with SO Delicious Coconut milk. Hmm…. thinking back, in the past, it made me feel bloated too. I finally got myself unconstipated and now I’m going to steer clear of coconut milk to see if it helps. I don’t NEED it in my diet, as I like yogurt for breakfast anyway.

    • I have this same problem with other So-Delicious products, but I can drink homemade coconut milk with no problems. I think it is something they put into it besides the coconut milk.

    • look for the additive “carrageen” in the coconut milk and also in ice cream substitutes. Google this word and you’ll never consume any food with this added. It causes really bad stomach distress.

      • Because I research everything I put in my body your post was a bit confusing to me. When posting to a site, with the intention of helping people, one should avoid painting with too broad strokes. I did as you said, and did a Google search for Carrageen. The first page consisted of 9 results with only one mentioning possible negative health effects. Deeper research revealed that you badly misrepresented the facts. Here is what I learned in a nutshell

        Health Benefits:

        Has a soothing effect on the mucous membranes throughout the body. It has a softening effect on the tissues and helps many respiratory problems including bronchitis and pneumonia.
        Soothes the mucous membranes of the digestive tract and also has a mild laxative effect.
        Contains antioxidants to help fight free radicals
        Has a large array of ionic minerals. Iodine being one mineral that supports your thyroid and many problems associated with poor thyroid function including fatigue, inability to tolerate cold, slow heart rate, low metabolism, poor skin and hair, etc.
        Used externally, it softens and soothes the skin. Put it on your wrinkles and any dark circles under your eyes! It also eases sunburn, chapped skin, eczema, psoriasis, and other rashes.
        Carrageenan Gum:

        There have been health concerns with the food additive “carrageenan gum” which is derived from Irish moss. This additive is found in ice creams, syrups, sauces, and many commercially packaged, highly processed foods. It is not the same as consuming pure Irish moss. Yes, carrageenan gum does come from Irish moss. But carageenan gum is heated and concentrated Irish Moss that is then highly processed into chemical form. Carageenan gum has lost the nutritional value of Irish Moss and makes it a potential health hazard.

        Thus it is apparent that an important distinction must be made when evaluating the benefits and deficits of this substance. It involves recognizing that Carrageen is actually good for you, while it’s highly processed chemical derivation Carrageenan can be of concern.

        I, nor anyone in my family have never experienced any sort of distress from ingesting either substance. That being said, I did find evidence that Carrageenan, not Carrageen, is known to cause problems for some people.

    • The culprit is not an allergy to coconut milk that causes the bloating and other adverse GI effects that you describe, the culprit is usually the dreaded carrageenan additive. Carrageenan wreaks havoc with the GI tract, not to mention it is a tumor promoter. It’s criminal that it’s in so many food products, and should be outlawed.

      • Leave it to our food industry to take a very healthful substance, then alter it so dramatically that it has nearly the opposite effect of the original substance. I have never had a reaction to Carrageenan so I never realized the difference between healthy Carageen and the highly concentrated chemical concoction that is Carrageenan. I have learned so much as a result of spending time at this site! I don’t eat store bought ice cream very often, but I know it has been ubiquitous in these products for quite some time. I will have to look at various ice creams to see if any of them are made without it. I believe Breyers has a brand that is all natural and the list of ingredients is very small, so it is a possible example.

        I will look up the link to the FDA page where you can send complaints about stuff like this… and then hope enough people send them that they take us seriously. Just remember to stick to the facts and do not get lost in an emotional outburst. Employees at the FDA are human too, and tirades tend to get trashed as they are viewed as unreliable frustrating and unhelpful.

  57. CHAOKOH, the coconut milk in Tetra Pak, contains coconut extract, water and E435. But CHAOKOH, Coconut Cream (in Tetra Pak) doesn’t contain E435. AROY-D, coconut milk, contains just coconut extract and water. Hope it helps. I live in Europe, and buy my coconut milk from Asian stores.

    • oh, and because I read some of the comments, and I see people having questions about coconut milk and IBS: you should try to avoid E420(sorbitol) and also this E435, as it is related in some way to sorbitol. Personally, I had no problems with home made coconut milk, or the Asian one without additives. But I should also add, that I don’t use it often. For me is just something to add flavor in desserts, and occasionally to cook Thai green curry recipes for my dear ones.

  58. Your link to Amazon comes up with cans of coconut milk that are not available. Does Native Forest come in cans that are not lined with BPA?

    • Native forest IS BPA free 🙂 I get it by the case at whole foods, but starting a low FODMAP diet bc I think I’m reacting to it. I’ve been eating it for breakfast (chia seed pudding) for many many months now, in place of eggs. I ate eggs every AM for a year when I went paleo and became sensitive to them. Possibly the same thing happening with the coconut milk? Just goes to show that varying up your food is really important!

  59. Coconut is very high in salicylates also which some people, like myself, are highly sensitive to. Incidentally, avocado and olive oil are also very high in salicylates. So, vegetable fats are not an option for me. Butter, Tallow, Lard are all preferable.

    • I’m sensitive to some salicylates, but not the ones in avocado or coconut or olive oil. You may be able to have one or more of these. Have you tried them?

  60. Hi – This is a really helpful article, just one thing: I’ve carefully researched (30 years in clinical research) and developed protocols for elimination diets and also the digestion-rebalancing 21-day Rejuveo cleanse specifically geared to those who have intestinal issues (“cleanse” for lack of a better descriptive if you associate this with something fad or foolish).

    I use coconut milk liberally including to restore gut health in IBD, Crohn’s and other situations.
    *Because* coconut milk is a wonderful anti-microbial, anyone with a gut imbalance may want to start with small amounts. Still, it isn’t the coconut milk that is the problem, the problem is the gut dysbiosis (wrong critters living there) and then dying (which you want) but when they die they release toxic waste (and if a huge die off this could be mistaken as sensitivity to coconut milk).

    In 100’s of clients, some with some pretty big health issues, I have yet to find someone who was truly sensitive to coconut milk that was otherwise free of the ingredients in this article. According to the research literature, coconut is not a FODMAP. Most of the people I help have gotten some bad information about what they should be doing for their situation and I often see other things being consumed that cause bad reactions. But it has not been to coconut milk that I have ever seen–when started slowly.

    I think the world of the information on this site and perhaps this one article could be edited?

    PS you can get Native Forest BPA-free very inexpensively here:

    • Hi there. I began a strict sugar-free diet a week ago to try to help with bad breath and a persistent bad taste in my mouth as I read that yeast may be the problem. I am also off dairy. I have just eaten a yoghurt made from coconut milk and whilst it was delicious, I experienced a burning in the stomach and felt odd in general. Reading your post I am wondering if it might be the nasties dying off as you say or if I just cannot tolerate it. Confusing. Can you shed any light? Thanks

      • I had the same problem with how my breath was smelling. Saw my ENT and he said, it was reflux. So if your tummy burns from eating the yogurt…maybe you shouldn’t eat it. It may be causing the reflux.

    • I have a short guy child (due to cyst that developed in small intestines as an infant. This resulted into he removal of 2/3 of small intestines). I’ve struggled with weight gain with him which requires him to have a gtube. He needs 20-40 percent more calories. I’ve been recently trying to get a nutritionist for him but getting some push back from our pedi. Surgeon has him on a high sugar formula. So, after some research of my own, I decided to give him coconut milk, avocado, and banana smoothies via his gtube and take away the formula. It’s only been a couple days but no sign of discomfort. Any suggestions on what I can give him high cal and gut healthy

      • Hi Jeanne, I give my son a smoothy with raw milk kefir, 1/4c coconut oil, kale, blueberries and two raw egg yolks. He also gets a teaspoon fermented cod liver oil with his breakfast. His exceema has disappeared and he is thriving on a paleo diet 🙂

    • I have FM. I seem to do o.k. With coconut milk.. I am interested to know more from Marie Sternquist on healing the gut. I am vegan and still challenged to find foods to eat that are tasty and tolerable.. That’s for the info here!

    • Thanks for this! I have Chrones and I’ve been drinking coconut water, lately some coconut milk, and also like coconut flour. No adverse reactions. Also, there are many that aren’t canned!

    • I’m trying to heal my gut, and (TMI) have wicked diarrhea now. I made water kefir and drank a bout a quart of it over 2 days. I also consumed about a pint of home made coconut milk today. Do you think I over did it? I don’t have pain, just the runs.

  61. According to Monash University research, coconut milk is a low FODMAP food (meaning well tolerated by individuals sensitive to FODMAPS). Dr Sue Sheppard developed the diet at
    Monash University and, as far as I know, is the leading expert in this field.

  62. What about the ‘SO DELICIOUS’ coconut milk. I have had an allergy to milk protein for 35 years. I purchased this at Whole Foods as well as rice milk and soy milk. I have noticed a difference in my bowl since I started using this coconut milk. It makes me wonder if it is the coconut milk or something else like the guar gum in the milk.

    • So Delicious tastes great but unfortunately it contains guar gum & carrageenan. I won’t be buying again. Wish these companies could get something right.

    • I have a carton of So Delicious coconut milk creamer sitting here in front of me and I’m going through the ingredients. The first big issue is carrageenan which has been linked to intestinal and digestive issues. Unfortunately it has been approved for use in organic food. Sadly, the organic label is slowly but persistently being corrupted. (Look at the arial photos of “organic” milk operations where not one cow is outside, and NOTHING is being done about them breaking the law.) The list of what our family can eat (if we want to avoid illness and disease) is getting smaller and smaller every day. The food industry cares about making money, not about nurturing health through good nutrition. Sad but true.
      So because of carrageenan, guar gum and the chemicals used for coloring, So Delicious will be tossed in the trash and not purchased again.

      • I bought a pack of Aroy-D coconut milk, 8.5 fl oz in each container. Ingredients: coconut milk 100%. I’ve never had this but it’s in a lentil soup recipe so happy to have it in the house. Learned about Aroy-D right in this thread!

  63. This post is completely off topic with the headline. Yet, filled with research and study that doesnt support or analyze the actual facts related to coconut milk or coconut products in general.

    • This article is just what I needed. I never used coconut milk but it’s in a lentil soup recipe I want to try. So I’m looking at ingredients at various offerings on Vitacost and I see carrageenan and guar gum, two ingredients I don’t want to ingest. So thank you, Chris Kresser, for your excellent article.

      • hi
        thats how i make it!!

        thepaleomom cautions against more than 1/2 a cup of coconut cream a day….so as i haven’t succeeded with weight loss wonder whether its related?

        i love making it this way too…hope there’s nothing wrong with the ‘easy way’ in this case!!!!!

  64. Someone asked “what if you can’t eat other milks, what do you do?”. For those with stomach upset, It can be the coconut milk and/or, it could be the additive as we have seen debated. I had food sensitivity testing and found out it is the PROTEINS in milk that my stomach rebels against. The fats seem to do OK, but not great. So, it can make whipping cream or half and half, tolerable. Obviously, I wouldn’t drink that for reasons below.. If I were sensitive or allergic to almond milk, soy, etc etc. I would have to learn to not drink them at all, which I use only for a chai occasionally, now. I follow the GAPS protocol with some modifications to avoid dairy and eggs, which again, I am sensitive to. I have not had the yolk vs white tested, but from what I understand, most people are sensitive to the white (PROTEINS). I would not want to eat yolks, so I don’t bother. It is not so troublesome to me if an egg is part of a recipe – and I eat only a serving of that. Every once in awhile I’ll eat some curry with coconut out. I may not feel 100%, but it’s a trade off. Owing to the LP(a) genetic glitch which deposits fat rapidly to my vessels, I do not heap it on. I am mindful that it might not work for me to chow down on it. Bottom line, I avoid what doesn’t work. If it were chocolate…THAT could be a real problem..(!)

    • I couldn’t post a comment the correct way so I had to hit reply in order to post one… Anyways I was wondering, if people with IBS and such or those who believe they might, what’s a good alternative to coconut milk then if you can’t consume diary, or soy milk? I don’t know if almond milk would be any better, but I’m not really sure either so if anyone has any insight that I would love to know.

      • hi i have had IBS for 12 years now and i have never had issues with coconut milk or cream ever when i have used them. i have just changed my diet as i have started to develop issues with dairy so am now dairy free and i use almond milk, soya milk and coconut milk. i am just making my first batch of homemade almond milk and plan on trying the coconut milk recipe. i have used the creams out of a can and milk and never had issues after using them if that helps.

      • hi eric

        i have a friend who cannot tolerate any milk or plant milk. for her its just meat veg and water….!

        sobering thought….and helps with gratitude!! xx

  65. Oooooh, Thank you for this informative article. No wonder i get nausea from coconut milk! I have issues with FODMAP foods, Salicylates, Guar gum, Mold Mycotoxins (in many dried coconuts) and I don’t like hearing about BPA. Bummer, because it was going to be a good sub in Paleo desserts. But, not anymore. I have also been avoiding Carageenan. My gut can now tolerate Goat Yogurt, which I hope helps heal my gut too. I cheated & shared my hubby’s Dairy custard (from Whole Foods store)… and I did NOT get an upset stomach. maybe my gut is healing Hmm. I might try again, but won’t overdo it.

  66. The canned coconut milk I buy is from our local co-op grocery store. It’s organic, BPA free, and the only ingredients are coconut extract and water. It’s also GMO free, etc. The brand is Natural Value.

    • I also buy Natural Value and love that it is BPA-free and the *only* ingredients are coconut extract and water. My colleague is from Thailand and he read the Arroy-D packaging for me. He says that what is written in Thai agrees with what is posted in English.

  67. I really appreciate your blowing the whistle on “saturated fats”, “cholesterol”, etc,etc, —but I wonder why institutions like Harvard keep spewing out lies about cholesterol and saturated fats causing CVD , and about eggs being bad, etc,etc,etc.

    I am embarrassed that I have to educate my cardiologist about cholesterol and saturated fats. Can’t somebody read Harvard and Mayo clinic the Riot Act to make them stop lying to the public. Their approach really makes doctors look stupid in the eyes of the public.

    • Couldn’t agree more. It’s pretty scary how far behind even some of the brightest minds in the country are when it comes comes to the whole saturated fat/ cholesterol/ egg yolk deal.

  68. Good morning. I make a morning meal replacement shake similar to the one in the video link below everyday and was using coconut milk. Then I had the idea to use shredded coconut instead of the liquid as I wouldn’t have the unhealthy added ingredients of the canned product and get the additional nutrients and fiber that are in the shreds. What do you think?

  69. If you live near a Trader Joe’s both their coconut cream and their light coconut milk come in BPA-free cans.

    If you’re trying to avoid additives, going with the full-fat version of anything is usually the better option. If you don’t want all the calories, cut it with pure coconut water.

    • I called them and yes: Trader Joe’s coconut milk cans are indeed BPA-free…however, it’s because they are NOT LINED with anything at all! Thus, the milk is in constant contact with the raw metal of the can, which I’m told is some sort of tin alloy. As I am highly sensitive to metals (can’t even touch my lip to the can for a split-second without developing canker sores for the next couple days, can’t wear metal sunglasses, can’t play with keys or chains without hands breaking out, etc), I am trying to get away from all cans period. Thus, I gotta find lined cans, but that are absolutely BPA-free (endocrine disruptor for me). However, the studies haven’t been done on the safety of all the OTHER non-BP liners yet because they are each proprietary. So, I want to go with a box products instead, although some of those have liners taht upset me as well. Unfortunately, nothing I’ve ever seen in a box container yet is free of harmful additives, like guar gum, carrageenan, etc (ugh: gut-rot and irritated GI track!).\

      So, I think I’m just going to go with trying to make the coconut milk myself instead. Haven’t investigated that at all though, so I appreciate the starting info on that.

      Why is just eating decent food either so damn hard, or so damn expensive, or so damn both?

      • If you go to Asian grocery stores, you may be able to find the Chao Koh brand that is sold in Tetrapaks. This brand is from Thailand like Arroy-D.

      • I get my no additive coconut milk in tetrapaks at import food.com – I don’t know why Chris says his thai friend says there are additives. Can anyone confirm? It tastes amazing!

  70. I see this conversation digressing into a bunch of debate over factual causes of heart disease, etc etc. This is at the core of the coconut vs non-coconut controversy, and it’s sat fat relationship to heart disease (debated). There are a number of cardiac whole genome studies going on right now, at NIH to determine genetic permutations and the contribution to heart disease. I am in one. Separately, approximately 25% of the GLOBAL population has LP(a), lipoprotein a, which is associate with a significantly higher rate of MI and stroke. There are also other permutations that have similar effects. Some people will eat all the lipids they want, and never have disease. Some will consume very little, and have significant disease. People also have defective methylation pathways. There is no blanket statement that will solve the debate whether one food is good or bad for you. We DO KNOW that CHEMICALS are not good for you, and excess sugar is not good for you. Go figure and debate away!

    • MB, I got through your first dozen, or so, sentences and was impressed that you seemed to realize that the biggest problem causing heartache and pain between those posting here is the use of worthless generalizations. Your second to last sentence reads: “There is no blanket statement that will solve the debate whether one food is good or bad for you.” So you seem to get it. Then your next to last sentence says: “We DO KNOW that CHEMICALS are not good for you… ”


      Question: What Is a Chemical?

      Answer: Short answer: Everything is a chemical. Longer answer: Chemistry is the study of matter and its interactions with other matter. Anything made of matter is therefore a chemical. Any liquid, solid, gas. Any pure substance; any mixture. Water is a chemical. Technically speaking, so is a chunk of your computer. A chemical can often be broken down into components, as is true with your computer. However, people generally use the term ‘chemical’ to refer to a substance that appears homogeneous or the same throughout its structure.

      Understanding this begs the question: What DO we KNOW about Chemicals that makes them not good for you?

      • OK. You got me. I am referring to BPA, BPA off of receipts for example, bad chemicals that are known (and even unknown) carcinogen or endocrine disruptors. That kind of thing – without being specific and taking all day about it and listing one trillion things 😉

    • That’s it! You wrote the answer I’ve been looking for (although I couldn’t understand all of it, but most!). My dietary proclivities have been changing most of my life, due to MS (not the other way around). And how does any of this information (grain free, high fat, etc.) change what happens in MS? MS is the destruction of the myelin covering of neurons that allows “sparks” to burn & scar, thereby causing mis-firings between nerves, brain, and the body. So, food problems are the consequence, not the cause (that’s my other rant, especially with regard to GF, high fat proponents).

      Anyway, I am constantly playing the “what works for me” game, and it changes from time to time. That’s true with supplements, food, drinks, medicines, FIBER (I cannot handle high fiber!). So, thank you for your professional, sensible advice!

  71. To….person that asked why worry about chol. still………..b/c their is a correlation btw high total chol. & heart attack (the correlation is a loose one and not a direct cause & effect). The point here is……eating much sat. fat even fr. healthy sources will make your total chol. go up, not increasing carbs…unless your carbs are Little Debbie w/ trans fat, etc. Also, many women I see on Paleo don’t have much muscle and have cellulite/excess fat….are 20% body fat or even more…..fr. low carb (see Tom Venutto’s book pdf form on the net for definitions of high and low carb, b/c most ppl. don’t know what that is in terms of grams….

  72. Never said sat. fat equals cholesterol, said sat. fat increased in diet can increase in the blood. 2nd, incorrect…the cholesterol in our blood is both fr. our diet and our bodies. My initial statement that increasing sat. fat in the diet, can make total cholesterol go up, is correct. 3rd, we are all physiologically the same (homo)….not different. 4th, never said LDL was not needed…said that in the high category, as well as total chol. being in the high category, their is a loose correlation for heart attack (not cause & effect). Lastly, faulty assumption. I’ve already been to college and taken bio, chem, etc. All the points you argued were either not in my statements, or faulty assumption. Nice.

  73. In 2009 the result of a study of 136,905 people with CVD that were hospitalized, half had low cholesterol and half had high cholesterol. So why do we still worry about cholesterol?

    • Because what they called low is not low….just like the studies about low fat diets when in the details it was 37% fat.

      Not one person has had heart disease that had a total cholesterol level below 150. Check out the Framingham Study that ran for over 25 years and you will see that…

      Studies have looked at levels between 180 and 250 to decide that cholesterol levels are not related to heart disease. However, if you want clean arteries get below 150 or if that is too difficult for you at least get your LDL below 100.

      Forget the Paleo Diet, it has too many problems. Do some research and you will find less meat, more vegetables does wonders…

      • I had a heart attack (acute MI) and my total cholesterol was 139. I am absolutely certain I’m not the only person that has had an MI with perfect cholesterol levels.

        My doctors watch my cholesterol to minimize risk, and I do too, but good numbers don’t mean immunity from CVD or heart disease.

        • total chol. levels of 139? no wonder you had a heart attack. anything under 200 is bad. doctors don’t know jack when it comes to chol. they and the big pharm turned it into a bad word. seriously do your research. sounds like you take lipitor or something .. very very bad will cause HA and other ill affects. you don’t even have to worry about total chol. unless it’s OVER 330. do your research! your body needs chol. to live! stop killing it off!

  74. I’ve been following the thread for a long time. I can only express that as an 8 year cardiac patient (microvascular dysfunction/disease), with a genetic variant called LP(a), which tends to “grab fat and put it into vessel walls”, one must know their own potential for risk and have a good relationship with your MD. Too many people manage their philosophies by blogs and blanket understanding posted therein. For me, Paleo means more Veg, fruit, nuts (in limits), coconut (sparingly), sat fat (with extreme moderation), etc etc. AS my cardiologist says, all things in moderation. (And as I would say, chest pain sucks; veg and fruits should be the base layer of your pyramid)

    • so why do people that have bad chol. (total over 330) start a diet of meat and veg’s heavy on the meat .. even bacon daily and their chol. gets better? again do your research and not on medical websites! all they know is treat symptoms and tell you to stay away from fat and take their stupid drugs. fat is not our enemy. white flour and sugar is among other things like this article states that people could be sensitive to because of the bad BUGS we have in our bodies or the additives have been transformed into non-food like carageenan. first thing one should do is get rid of the bugs. eat organic and fresh as much as possible .. watch labels and ditch the drugs.

  75. hdl and ldl were equal, give or take a few points…any other questions for me, I was just making a comment here, not interested in a whole big conversation going on here……not being rude, but too many comments sorry

  76. Dangerous thinking…to claim that increasing sat. fat, to a sig. level esp., won’t cause your own sat. fat levels to raise, & i.e. total cholesterol. Forgive me if I choose to take word of 3 world renowned cardiologists/thoracic surgeons, all of whom I know personally, over the people on this blog. And my own personal experience also reflected that when sat. fat is increased, esp. to sig. levels, total cholesterol goes up. My total went fr. 120 to 244. I also gained a good 5 lbs of fat & shot up to 15-17%. I lowered my sat. fat, and everything reversed.

    • Good for you but my metabolism is quite different and I actually GAIN weight and increase both total cholesterol and bad cholesterol when eating a low fat/high carb diet. I have the blood work to show the improvement. I think what’s foolish is ignoring your body’s signals and listening to the “experts”, when there’s no one size fits all when it comes to one’s health.

      • I didn’t say I ate a high carb diet……you can do both you know, don’t eat high carb & don’t eat more sat fats……life is not black and white.

    • What was the source (or sources) of the saturated fat that you were eating when your total cholesterol went up from 120 to 244 mg/dL? Different saturated fats have different effects – I have posted links and abstracts below to two reports from the medical literature that show this quite clearly. Let me know if you’d like to see more –

      Because total cholesterol is made up of HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol, can you tell us what the changes were in your HDL and LDL cholesterol? ( e.g., see a brief explanation of the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/What-Your-Cholesterol-Levels-Mean_UCM_305562_Article.jsp )

      And kudos for listening to your body and fixing your cholesterol problem by changing your diet!

        • Your experience is really interesting – and suggests to me that genetic variation may be involved, especially if your HDL/LDL ratio went down (meaning increased risk) when your cholesterol went up. A few small studies in humans show that our genes can make a real difference in how our bodies response to changes in type of fat in our diet – here’s one such study:

          http://www.researchgate.net/publication/12587472_Genetic_factors_associated_with_response_of_LDL_subfractions_to_change_in_the_nature_of_dietary_fat/file/3deec52681aaa90e30.pdf (full text)
          Wallace AJ et al. Genetic factors associated with response of LDL subfractions to change in the nature of dietary fat. Atherosclerosis. 2000 Apr;149(2):387-94.
          . . . . We investigated the contribution of polymorphisms in the genes for apolipoprotein (apo) B, apo AIV, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) to variation in the changes in plasma concentrations of dense LDL between a high saturated and a high polyunsaturated fatty acid diet. A total of 46 freeliving individuals (19 men and 27 women) completed a crossover trial with two dietary interventions of 4 weeks each, a high saturated fat diet (providing 21% energy from saturated fat and 3% energy from polyunsaturated fat) and a high polyunsaturated fat diet (providing 11% energy as saturated fat and 10% energy as polyunsaturated fat). . . . The greater decrease in dense LDL cholesterol with an increase in polyunsaturated fat seen in those with the apo AIV H360 variant, who represent roughly 10% of the general population, suggests that they may benefit most from a PUFA rich lipid lowering diet.
          . . . . On both the SAFA and PUFA diets, fat sources relevant to the experimental diets (butter and hardened coconut oil on SAFA and polyunsaturated margarine and safflower oil on diet PUFA) were provided free of charge and added to the relatively low fat baseline diet so that protein provided about 15% energy, carbohydrate 44% and total fat 36%, but fat composition differed. In diet SAFA, 21% of energy came from saturated fatty acids and 3% from polyunsaturated fatty acids. In diet PUFA, 11% of energy came from saturated fatty acids and 10% from polyunsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fatty acids remained constant in both diets at about 10% total energy.
          . . . Apo AIV Q360H Q:H individuals (n 6) showed a three fold greater decrease in uncorrected dense LDL when their diet was changed from a high saturated to a high polyunsaturated fat diet compared with Q:Q individuals (n 38) and this decrease was significantly greater than zero. The mean decrease in uncorrected dense LDL cholesterol was four fold greater in apo AIV T347S S individuals (n 29) compared with T:T individuals (n 15) but these changes were not statistically different. Changes in dense LDL were similar in LPL S:S and S:X individuals. Individuals carrying the LPL X447 allele (n 7) showed a two fold greater decrease in light LDL and total LDL cholesterol than individuals homozygous for the S447 allele
          (n 39) when diet was changed from a high saturated fat diet to a high polyunsaturated fat diet and this decrease was significantly different from zero. There were no statistically significant changes in LDL or LDL subfractions with CETP Taq I or apo B SP genotypes.
          . . . . This study has indicated that genetic factors, independent of dietary compliance, may influence the magnitude of change in plasma dense LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol with change in the type of dietary fat. The increase in HDL cholesterol and the greater decrease in dense LDL cholesterol when PUFA replaced SAFA in the diet may reduce risk of developing coronary heart disease in subjects with the apo AIV H360 allele. Dense LDL is a particularly atherogenic lipoprotein [1,36,37], while HDL may be protective. Since carriers of the rare apo AIV H360 allele may be at particularly high risk of sustaining a myocardial infarction [38], our data suggest that they may benefit most from a PUFA-rich
          diet. Conversely, they may also develop a more atherogenic lipoprotein profile on a diet rich in SAFA.

          • Didn’t read but 1st sent. b/c you didn’t read my comment correctly……my ratio did not go down……I said they both went up…..

            • Um, you said, “the hdl and ldl both went up, as well as the total.” But you didn’t say what happened to the ratio of the hdl to the ldl.

              Actually, what’s usually used is the ratio of the total cholesterol to the HDL: for example, (from http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0205c.shtml ) “The ratio of total cholesterol-to-HDL is important; the smaller the number the better. For example, someone with a total cholesterol of 200 and an HDL of 60 would have a ratio of 3.3 (200 ÷ 60 = 3.3). If that person’s HDL was low — let’s say 35 —the total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio would be higher: 5.7.
              Reports from the Framingham Heart Study suggest that for men, a total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio of 5 signifies average risk for heart disease; 3.4, about half the average risk; and 9.6, about double the average risk. Women tend to have higher HDL levels, so for them, a ratio of 4.4 signifies average risk; 3.3 is about half the average; and 7, about double. If you have a high level of total cholesterol, it may be less alarming if your total-to-HDL ratio is low.”

    • I did not notice your total #’s only the increase, but 120 is a very low, almost too low cholesterol level. More research is coming out that levels toward the higher end of normal is healthier and necessary for proper hormone balance and neurological function. The ideal levels according to lab ranges seem to be decreasing in an effort from drug companies to be able to put more patients on statins which have many side effects. Is 15-17% referring to body fat? Seems very slim. Maybe OK for a man but very slim for a woman. See http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/07/15/why-low-cholesterol-is-not-good-for-you.aspx and
      for more cholesterol info.

      • anything under 200 is good, after that the increase for heart attack goes up, the correlation is a loose one, not a direct cause and effect…and 15-17% was too much fat for me, I am an ectomorph, we are little muscle, little fat, small boned, tall-ish types…most women are too fat.

        • got cut off…..was saying most women are too fat anyways, and they’d be good to get down to 15-17%, 14% would be ideal for most women, 8-10% for men, b/c at that point, you don’t have excess fat (cellulite, fat that covers the muscles, etc.). It’s the excess fat you don’t want, you still want essential fat, and after I lowered my sat. fat intake, I got back down to @ 14%…so, upping sat. fat can make you gain fat, and raise your total chol. #…..but, that’s not surprising…….

    • Aloha S, it is almost madness to read your unwavering claims and your stern beliefs without much scientific backing other than the brainwashed support for your world renowned “cardiologists”. You may find that big Pharma provides their pay-packet too, which then makes them not strictly unbiased.

      I tend to err on the side of caution when making broad sweeping statements like yours. Basic physiology might prove otherwise such as saturated fats are not equal to blood lipid profile and cholesterol. Making cholesterol is a biological function and the cholesterol found in our blood stream is that made by the liver and not that ingested from food sources.

      Interestingly, as a personal trainer, I too experimented with coconut oil, yet my blood cholesterol levels are amazing. Sadly, I can’t post the results here but its sufficient to say that they are in an athletic but functionally necessary range and not 120 like yours. When low on cholesterol the brain doesn’t get the required nutrients. Should we then say that you may be advocating a safe route to Alzheimer disease? Only time will tell…

      Finally, you may like to research your statements further than what you’ve heard from your cardiologist friends. Knowledge is power, and we are all physiologically different. Also, maybe revisiting some of the basic human biology lessons taught in school may change your view on things such as good and bad cholesterol. LDL is needed to carry nutrients to all parts of the body, unless you particularly intend to starve yourself/your body of vital sources of food. When it becomes dangerous is at the inflammatory stage, when those LDL particles oxidize and turn rogue, mainly due to high sugar consumption. Cancer cells feed on sugar.

      There are a couple of great courses anyone can attend for free provided by EdX on immunology, biology and/or anatomy, it may be worth checking out before making more arrogant comments on articles that are meant to be informatory rather specialist individual advice.

  77. Um, if people want to guzzle sat fat, more power to them…their HDL may go up, but so will total cholesterol, and LDL…when sat fats are increased, from any source…the higher the sat. fat, the higher the total cholesterol is likely to be. This is just common sense.

    • It may seem like common sense but its certainly not common knowledge. That is the point of my post, as we increased our fat intake, especially healthy saturated fat intake, our cholesterol levels decreased! I wouldn’t be surprised if a junk food diet, high in omega 6 oils and trans fats had the opposite effect. By the way, total cholesterol is not as important as the ratio of healthy cholesterol (HDL) to unhealthy cholesterol (LDL)

      • absolutely! and ratio doesn’t matter unless total is over 330! low totals like 120 or 150 etc. are dangerously low and people brag. see Dr. Mercola’s articles and read more from those who are about HEALTH and not MEDICINE. if you want to be healthy.

    • Coconut oil causes *good* (high-density or HDL) cholesterol to rise and *improves* (i.e., lowers) the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol.

      http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic835338.files/Mensink_-_Dietary.Fats.LDL.HDL.TG-Metaanalysis.pdf (full text)
      Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 May;77(5):1146-55.
      Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials.
      Mensink RP1, Zock PL, Kester AD, Katan MB.
      1 Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands. [email protected]
      BACKGROUND: The effects of dietary fats on the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) have traditionally been estimated from their effects on LDL cholesterol. Fats, however, also affect HDL cholesterol, and the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol is a more specific marker of CAD than is LDL cholesterol.
      OBJECTIVE: The objective was to evaluate the effects of individual fatty acids on the ratis of total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipoproteins.
      DESIGN: We performed a meta-analysis of 60 selected trials and calculated the effects of the amount and type of fat on total:HDL cholesterol and on other lipids.
      RESULTS: The ratio did not change if carbohydrates replaced saturated fatty acids, but it decreased if cis unsaturated fatty acids replaced saturated fatty acids. The effect on total:HDL cholesterol of replacing trans fatty acids with a mix of carbohydrates and cis unsaturated fatty acids was almost twice as large as that of replacing saturated fatty acids. Lauric acid greatly increased total cholesterol, but much of its effect was on HDL cholesterol. Consequently, oils rich in lauric acid decreased the ratio of total to HDL cholesterol. Myristic and palmitic acids had little effect on the ratio, and stearic acid reduced the ratio slightly. Replacing fats with carbohydrates increased fasting triacylglycerol concentrations.
      CONCLUSIONS: The effects of dietary fats on total:HDL cholesterol may differ markedly from their effects on LDL. The effects of fats on these risk markers should not in themselves be considered to reflect changes in risk but should be confirmed by prospective observational studies or clinical trials. By that standard, risk is reduced most effectively when trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids are replaced with cis unsaturated fatty acids. The effects of carbohydrates and of lauric acid-rich fats on CAD risk remain uncertain.
      Individual saturated fatty acids
      Lauric acid markedly increases cholesterol, whereas stearic acid lowers it somewhat when it is used to replace carbohydrates. However, the picture reverses if one looks at total:HDL cholesterol: both lauric and stearic acid are now more favorable than carbohydrates. Lauric acid—a major component of tropical oils such as coconut and palm kernel fat—has the largest cholesterol-raising effect of all fatty acids, but much of this is due to HDL cholesterol. As a result, lauric acid had a more favorable effect on total:HDL cholesterol than any other fatty acid, either saturated or unsaturated.

    • I think you and many others are sadly mistaken. In my case, sugar or carbs cause cholesterol to rise. I and my husband have the blood work to prove it. We would probably both be on statin meds if we hadn’t increased our healthy fatty acid intake (coconut, lard, avocados and fish oil, but mainly coconut and lard). We go through a 5 gallon tub of coconut oil + 1 gallon of lard per year. We have reduced processed starches such as breads and pasta, baked goods. We mainly get our carbs from fruits and vegetables.

      • again .. kudos Maria! that’s it! you’ve done your research. and another thing is that doctors and those of medical field have done is make chol. a bad thing when it’s not .. there is NO bad chol. it’s ALL good .. it’s just the ratios that matter. and again not a bad thing unless over 330 then you need to start watching things. funny thing that about 10 years ago I had chol. of 229 .. then it was GOOD .. then doctors decided to make more money they’d have to lower the level of what is considered GOOD. now my 225 is BAD. Baloney! and how can the same blood test for 2 different doctors come back with total chol. of 225 and the other say it’s 275? the 275 was a cardiologist .. yeah he wants to burn my heart too for my extra heart beat because I won’t take the Atenolol that he wanted me to take .. it lowered my BP to 80/40 and I felt like I was dying.. my BP and heart rate is normal 99% of the time. I had an EPISODE of unknown causes which took my BP to 192/93 for a couple of days and he wants me to take a drug the rest of my life? what are doctors thinking? not about the patient! .. no thanks. you are the only one who really cares about YOU. I can’t say it enough .. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

  78. Coconuts are very high in saturated fat, which, if too high in the diet, will cause the cholesterol to go up. Probably not a good idea to guzzle this stuff.

    • Yes coconuts are high in a medium chain fatty acid but where is the proof that it causes cholesterol to rise?? In fact there are NUMEROUS studies (unfortunately don’t have links) that show the exact opposite. Our family has switched to coconut oil and lard for cooking. Since then our cholesterol and triglycerides as per blood work have come down. Don’t believe everything you hear on news, newspapers and even FDA concerning health because they are often wrong! If they were right, why would so many Americans be sick and dying? Why have the rates of heart and other diseases risen dramatically in last few decades after “experts” recommend a low fat, high carb diet unless quite a few people don’t do well on that type of diet?

    • Here’s a 2009 report of a randomized controlled trial that found coconut oil (compared to soy oil) didn’t increase cholesterol and actually improved the HDL (good) cholesterol and reduced the proportion of LDL (bad) to HDL (good) cholesterol . . . plus reduced waist circumference . . . . :

      http://www.nutritionalinstincts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Effects-of-dietary-coconut-oil-on-the-biochemical-and-anthropometric-profiles-of-women-presenting-abdominal-obesity.pdf (full text)
      Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601. Epub 2009 May 13.
      Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.
      Assunção ML1, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR Jr, Florêncio TM.
      1 Faculdade de Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió, AL 57072-970, Brazil.
      The effects of dietary supplementation with coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting waist circumferences (WC) >88 cm (abdominal obesity) were investigated. The randomised, double-blind, clinical trial involved 40 women aged 20-40 years. Groups received daily dietary supplements comprising 30 mL of either soy bean oil (group S; n = 20) or coconut oil (group C; n = 20) over a 12-week period, during which all subjects were instructed to follow a balanced hypocaloric diet and to walk for 50 min per day. Data were collected 1 week before (T1) and 1 week after (T2) dietary intervention. Energy intake and amount of carbohydrate ingested by both groups diminished over the trial, whereas the consumption of protein and fibre increased and lipid ingestion remained unchanged. At T1 there were no differences in biochemical or anthropometric characteristics between the groups, whereas at T2 group C presented a higher level of HDL (48.7 +/- 2.4 vs. 45.00 +/- 5.6; P = 0.01) and a lower LDL:HDL ratio (2.41 +/- 0.8 vs. 3.1 +/- 0.8; P = 0.04). Reductions in BMI were observed in both groups at T2 (P < 0.05), but only group C exhibited a reduction in WC (P = 0.005). Group S presented an increase (P < 0.05) in total cholesterol, LDL and LDL:HDL ratio, whilst HDL diminished (P = 0.03). Such alterations were not observed in group C. It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.

  79. So how can one do the Wahl’s Paleo Plus if you cannot use coconut??? Or ghee??? Seems strange that those are the only options and many of us do have the sensitivity.

  80. Chris, I’m sorry to see there are so many haters on this chain. I wanted to thank you for this useful information. I am several weeks into the Wahl’s protocol and have been feeling very ill. As I connect the dots, I’ve felt poorly every time I’ve had coconut milk. In addition to autoimmune issues, I have IBS and am very sensitive to high FODMAP foods. It should have dawned on me that coconut milk is likely not my friend. Thanks for the awesome information. I’ll try removing coconut milk from my diet and see what happens.

      • Susan, I’m doing a mini test to see. I’ve cut coconut milk out completely and am feeling better. Instead of coconut milk to keep me satiated through the afternoon, I’ve been drinking bone broth with a few teaspoons of red palm oil in it. Chris suggestions that coconut oil should be fine even if you’re sensitive to coconut milk; I’m leery, but I’ll try that next in isolation for a few days to see if I react. After that, I’ll try ghee as the only fat I use for a few days. I’m using Pure Indian Foods cultured ghee that It is batch-tested casein-free, whey-free, lactose-free, and gluten-free. This all feels like a lot of effort, but if I pinpoint what I’m reacting to and can remove it from my diet, I’m hopeful that I’ll heal! Good luck to you!

        • I found out I was having salicylate intolerance (search salicylate sensitivity) and high uric acid was also a piece of the puzzle . I was able to reverse it with a magnesium load – 600mg divided in 3x/day of magnesium oxide orally. This is what worked for me, some might get GI irritation. Magnesium helped to alkalize the excessive acidity and helped the liver to detox and produce glutathione. I hope this helps you to shorten your research time.

        • A friend’s husband seconded a paper whose study found that the protein/s most folks react to in nuts is/are not in the oils of those nuts. I can’t find it at this moment–I didn’t see it on his ResearchGate profile, and the copy my friend sent me in 2008 is on an old hard drive somewhere in storage–but I thought I’d mention it as food for thought as to why you seem to be okay with the oil but not other coconut products.

          That said, I also personally know a family that reacts to carrier oils (they have a laundry list of food issues). There will always be exceptions to some degree.

    • Did you read his other articles? illness such as autoimmunes .. IBS .. IDS .. etc. set in when the stomach acid is too low or non existent because of acid killing drugs. proteins get into the bloodstream and cause havoc. I was just on Prilosec for 10 days when I found Chris’s articles .. I immediately stopped. I am on my way to health now by taking his advise. it didn’t help me I could feel myself getting worse not better. again I say “what are doctors thinking?”

      get the gut right with acid and health will be better. it’s not the coconut .. though coconut could be your enemy right now because you already have issues. get those straightened out and you might be able to have coconut in the future but for now you probably shouldn’t.

  81. you’re title is misleading, it’s the canning by products that you are referring to with regards to why coconut may be bad

    it’s a misinformation campaign that you are running, probably a lobbyist for those affected the sale of coconuts

    • I found this article to be ridiculous as well. Has she ever been in a grocery store? Most coconut milk is sold in cartons and the two brands I use are organic, non gmo , and free of guar gum. I think most people who are nutritionally savvy enough to be asking questions like these already know about cans and BPA. It’s almost insulting.

      • I have been in lot’s of grocery stores and none in my area have coconut milk in cartons. Cans only if you can find it at all.

      • unbelieveable that you would be insulted because other people are not as well informed or have as good purchasing choices as you.

      • Holly, I assume you don’t often travel and shop in different countries on a regular basis. Just because something available in your little world it doesn’t mean it’s available in mine. People from all over the world access the internet to read articles such as this one, we don’t all shop at the same stores. You have a right to your opinion but I don’t feel it necessary to insult other readers who found this article helpful just because you’re already aware of the information contained in it.

  82. Your title is is horrible. And it should be named why you shouldn’t use canned coconut milk.

    BTW I had no idea there was even such a product as the coconut milk I buy is in the fridge section right by the milk, in a milk carton type container. No Gur Gum in it either. Look for a similar brand in your store next to the milk in the fridge section, here we have Silk Brand Coconut Milk and a few others, but that is what my closest supermarket carries.

  83. It is my understanding that Natural Value meets all the requirements: it is organic, BPA-free, and guar gum free. That is in contradiction to your statement that “As of the time of this writing there is no widely available commercial brand of coconut milk that is organic and free of BPA and guar gum.” I can get this brand locally (east bay, CA) and have ordered by the case through Amazon.

  84. Thank you for all the hard work and effort you put into these articles. I have Hashimoto’s and I’m having trouble finding doctors who have done the kind of thorough research into how that is affected by diet. I am so happy to have found you!

  85. The coconut milk I use is made at home, from coconut meat that was freshly grated from a whole coconut at the local wet market. I’ve tried drinking it as a cow’s milk substitute (back when I didn’t have a source yet for raw grass-fed milk), but found that I simply couldn’t tolerate more than about 1/3 cup of raw coconut milk. For whatever reason, if I drink more than that, I get quite dizzy and I have to sleep it off for an hour so! However, I have no problems at all with cooked coconut milk– it’s really tasty too, with seafood or curry dishes.

  86. This is a terrible article! It discourages people from coconut milk without telling them the truthful options. It’s simple…make it fresh yourself at home. It takes 10 minutes max and tastes much better that store bought. I always tell my wife that in the same time I could get up and go buy a liter of coconut milk from the store, I could make 4 liters and put it in the fridge. This article only furthers the stereotype that eating healthy is difficult and near hopeless giving rise to the “everything is unhealthy,” excuse.

  87. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for your article. For the last few weeks I have been drinking high fat / protein shakes in the am. I have been having diarrhea for week or so that I’ve noticed. Today, after having it again, I looked up if coconut could milk could be the culprit, and found your article. I’ve drinking anywhere from 1/4 to 3//4 cups of coconut milk, two egg yolks, chia seeds, and egg white protein powder or whey protein powder with RO water.

    I think I’ve finally nailed down it is the coconut milk and your article seems to point to it (fructose malabsorbtion) as well. Does that mean my body simply can’t tolerate it and I should stop having coconut milk altogether? It has been quite satiating having it in my drink, trying to get healthy fats in my body, which has helped me also lose weight. Of course I have been doing other things to help myself as well, mainly by eating whole foods and eliminating all grains and sugars. Any thoughts about stopping coconut milk altogether would be greatly appreciated.

    • Juan, I think the problem might be most of the ingredients in your protein shakes. (I am only speaking out of personal experience of course) If I were to have the same shakes you do every day I would probably get diharrhea as well. 3/4 cup of coconut milk seems like a lot to me and too many eggs alone in a day provoke that effect on me. Furthermore I am certain I am not suffering from fructose malabsorption!

      Try changing up the content of your shakes. I would also recommend vegan protein powders, they’re the only ones I can eat and be sure my stomach won’t complain.

      Now that I think of it though, your current diet might be lacking in fiber (which prevents diharrhea in good amounts or constipation with excessive amounts). If it is a high-protein diet that you are following, please reconsider, they are known for great short term results but often cause more harm in the long term!

      Finally, this may help :



    • Sometimes coconut products can help a person’s GI track cleanse if they have previously be on drugs (like steroids) at the same time that they didn’t have enough good fats coming in. the body stores the toxins in fat cells until good fats come in and then swap them out. Many people who haven’t not taken good care of their diet, too low of good fats, too high of carbs/sugars, and too many drugs end up getting the runs the first time they take coconut oil/milk. They get rashes from coconut itself. They think they are allergic to the coconut. Nope. They are TOXIC and finally starting to “clean house” a little. Kinda like the big mess made in/around the house they are rehabbing down the block. People all over, garbage coming out, dumpsters in the yard, etc. More mess than when they started. Gonna look better later though.

  88. another informative article by chris – thank you.
    to avoid those nasty containers + additives, why don’t you simply buy fresh nuts from florida (e.g.) ?

    i’m living in germany – no coconuts growing here, nobody ever needed them, but they are of great nutritious value, i know.

    bye-bye coconut^^

  89. Just wanted to mention there’s a site: wildernessfamilynaturals.com that sells coconut milk in cartons and the only added item is xanthan gum which I saw you wrote about… it’s generally fine for most people. Just fyi.

  90. Thanks Chris for all you do for promoting public health. The Wahls Paleo Plus protocol is heavy on the coconut oil, so it is great to have some resources for healthy coconut oil that do not have BPA and guar gum. Also, is this healthier coconut oil, milk and cream okay if one have celiac disease? Thanks for your response.

  91. Emilee,
    This was a good article. It makes you think about
    consuming “processed” coconut.

    The facts are good… your reference website affirms mostly the same things said in Chris’ article.

    We all need to be mindful and aware of what we put in our mouths, not so much due to some baloney about 50,000 years ago, but to what is happening today.

    Thanks to those who pour through the real research and provide us with insight to make sensible decisions.

    • You mean like it’s beneficial effects on HDL level and HDL to LDL and HDL to TC ratios?

      Saturated fat is not bad, and the fats in coconut are among *the* best fats of any kind for you.

  92. The only solution is a subscription based co-operative that will do the scientific testing of all of the products available and has no financial interest in anything other than good information for its members.
    EG Test all of the coconut milks and publish it.
    Every information site seems to have an opinion or a financial angle.

    • You mean an organization like Consumerlab.com? They have an article on Coconut water already, and I imagine with enough interest they would test Coconut Milk as well. They have reviews on almost 150 health and nutritional products created by independent testing. I find their testing and studies to be very helpful in choosing how I supplement my diet.

  93. Thanks for the article.

    I found it because I wanted to ‘use’ the can of coconut milk lurking in my pantry (cite: funny x-girlfriend story) … kinda outa food, so gotta cook this weekend.

    Didn’t know if I needed to ‘cook’ it or not, so one short google search later, and here I am.

    After 30 years of being a vegetarian, now I eat whatever the hell I want.

    Don’t get me wrong … I never liked eating things that didn’t fly or swim. Now I occasionally include a cow or a pig. I know, sounds crazy when I say it like that doesn’t it? It is.

    Anyway, I work online, so I tend to live in a cave … eating the same things sometimes for days at a time. And this is something that I learned.

    If you give your body time to adjust, it will adjust to anything. Unfortunately, that adjustment may come in the form of cancer (as in my case). I tend to try to listen to my body and eat things that make me FEEL good.

    ‘FEEL good’ to me means gives me nutrition, easily passes through my body, increases (or at least doesn’t impair) my mental clarity, adds to my energy, and satisfies my hunger.

    Like many American’s, I still watch too many movies and struggle with western food addictions. I only hope my running regimen will help get the sugar monkey off my back.

    If not, maybe the Florida political brains will get off their duffs and legalize medicinal weed in which case I can just eat twinkies for the rest of my life (sarcasm). Anyway, we’ll see.

    Good luck all. Interesting discussion.

    • Hey ,my impetus was MS, and I agree 100% with you! Guess I needed validation, with so much “info” thrusted upon all of us, healthy and not-so-much. Also I’m in FL, too, even my parents voted yes last time, we’ll get it this time! Altho we really need it on the Fed level – I live in HUD apt. building so it would STILL be illegal for me (at least in my bldg.).

  94. Whenever these conversations get tense, it seems, it’s because people make a blanket statement about what is good or bad. If it’s one thing I’ve learned from a year on paleo, it’s that everyone is different. I don’t feel well on any kind of dairy, and coconut milk also makes me feel lousy. I can eat coconut or coconut butter, and use coconut oil in numerous ways, but coconut milk or coconut cream make me feel sick. Why? I don’t really know. I could spend a lot of time trying different things to find out exactly why, but it’s not a hardship to give it up, so I do that and move on with my life. It’s not that I’m not curious, it’s that I have other concerns that are more pressing. I found a great recipe for homemade almond/macadamia nut milk that makes my coffee taste great. That’s all I was using coconut milk for, so now I’m good. As Chris says so often, you have to find what works for you.

  95. I visited Boston last week and went by a place called Cocobeet (www.cocobeet.com). They make cold pressed organic Coconut Mylk. Thailand ships the frozen coconut meat and coconut H2o and this place is the first to thaw out. It comes in a 5oz bottle that is strictly a blend of the coconut meat and raw coconut water. I used it this week in my smoothie and a special treat coconut flour pancake for our daughter since she’s been eating so clean! I believe they’ll ship overnight to you in cold packs. Worth a try if you don’t make your own!

  96. Thanks Chris…unlike a lot of people here who seem to be peusdo experts in what seems like a lot of areas…I appreciate the info.,..we are all responsible for finding out what works best for our OWN body and rather than spend a lot of time bashing and nit-picking everything about a simple article…I read it , made my own again, and then hit the gym!! lol…healthy behavior creates healthy attitude!

  97. I buy this organic brand from Amazon, it has nothing added to it like guar gum and the cans are BPA free and lined. You will have to get used to the separation in the milk and fat if you are used to brands that have guar gum to emulsify them, but honestly the flavor and overall quality of this brand is excellent.


  98. Chris~ I took your advice and checked local stores-none of the brands you recommended available so I went on Amazon. Native Forest Coconut Milk-second ingredient is guar gum. I am ordering Let’s Do Organic Coconut Cream which has only one ingredient: organic coconut! It is in a package not a can.
    Thank you for all of your articles and advice on my Paleo journey back to health. I am completely off my diabetic meds, losing weight (12 lbs. so far), and feeling strong and energetic for the first time in a long time.

  99. I have this problem as well. I do fine with coconut oil, but coconut flakes, coconut milk, or coconut cream mess up my intestines badly – even with no additives. Absolutely sick as a dog!

    Is there any good substitute for this in creamy paleo recipes like ice cream or tom kha gai that need full fat?

    I have been trying a vegan alfredo sauce made from cashew cream that I tolerate really well. Would something like that work?

  100. Hidden reactions to everyday foods can contribute to weight problems in surprising ways – starting with water retention. Also, chemicals involved in sensitivities to foods may slow metabolism. A side effect of food sensitivities may be to reduce the body’s ability to burn fat which makes weigh control nearly impossible. A simple blood test can help identify food intolerances. The Immuno Bloodprint® has been helping people to feel well for more than 36 years. Discover the link between what you eat and how you feel by watching our short animation here: http://www.immunolabs.com

  101. Chris,
    I enjoyed your artical. My question is why is boxed Coconut milk not mentioned. I rarely if ever buy canned coconut milk because boxed milk is offered, more to a container without the fear of metal in cans. Local grocery stores offer Silk brand but have sugar added to milk. I use Trader Joe’s brand that gives unsweetened option. What’s your option about the coconut milk that comes in a box?
    Rotonya T

    • “Silk Coconut Milk” is garbage. Don’t drink it.
      INGREDIENTS: Coconut milk (Filtered Water, Coconut Cream), Cane SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVOR (some sort of bogus poison, like MSG or similar), CARRAGEENAN (toxic MSG-like precursor), Yam Flour (why?).

  102. One good option is frozen coconut milk, available at fine Asian grocery stores. Frozen coconut milk has good taste, but not quite the same luscious texture and freshg.

  103. I am seeking the nutritional info for this coconut milk once made.
    I am also wondering if you know anything about using it for a 14 month old to replace dairy milk as he is allergic to dairy. Not being very knowledgeable in this area, I am worried about the amount of saturated fat in coconut milk. While I realize saturated fat is good for us, I have read that we shouldn’t consume very much per day – only about 2-3 Tbsp. per day of Coconut OIL. I don’t know if Coconut Oil and Coconut Milk are different enough to change that recommendation. My son will be drinking quite a bit of Coconut Milk daily and I obviously don’t want to over due it.

    • @ Kimberly: I am also allergic to dairy and coconut milk hurts my stomach. I would not give a child with a dairy allergy a LOT of coconut milk. Maybe mix 1/4 coconut milk in some almond milk, but even that small amount still bothers my stomach. Everyone is different though.

  104. People….the article is just that, an article.
    something that has happened to some BUT not others it may happen to you or me or it “may” not happen.
    it’s just information.

  105. Chris, phenomenal article, as per usual.

    But something I see –EVERYONE– miss in the alternative/naturopathic health field, in regards to SOY/ALMOND/COCONUT MILK, is they ALL fortify the milks with joint damaging, kidney stone inducing, poorly absorbed
    calcium from horrible sources like DI/TRI-CALCIUM PHOSPHATE. This is pretty much the main calcium form used in ALL of the brands…

    Regular consumption of this will give you kidney stones and arthritic joints faster than you can say “OUCH.”

    Thought people should know.

    Keep up the phenomenal work..

  106. You did not mention the “Natural Value” brand of coconut milk which is in BPA free cans, uses no guar gum and is also available on Amazon in regular and organic.

  107. Why does the water need to be heated? I don’t like to put anything warm or hot in my blender it’s a vitamix and the jar is plastic. Could I heat it after I blend it?

  108. This is on topic in a round-about sort of way: people, don’t let the new BPA-free containers fool you. BPA stands for Bis-Phenol-A and it is only one of an entire class of compounds – Bisphenols – that are used in plastics. BPA is the LEAST toxic of all of them, but it is the one that the public keyed on so manufacturers are removing it – while increasing the other BPs. It is used to make polycarbonate (water bottles, baby bottles) and epoxy resins (can liners).

    There is no truly safe plastic for food, not one. Cans are lined with a plastic coating, food is packaged in plastic, wrapped in plastic, stored in plastic, and so forth. We may not be able to totally avoid plastic in our lives, but we sure can cut down quite a bit.

    Make your own food or buy it in glass – which so far for coconut milk doesn’t exist.

    As far as thickeners are concerned, this is a pet peeve of mine: why do we think we need them? What is wrong with food as it should be? Most heavy cream even has carrageenen in it! I do not do well with any modern thickeners, so look out if you may be similar.
    – Carrageenan – from Irish sea moss, this is a gut destroyer.
    – Guar gum – for anyone sensitive to legumes, this is a legume.
    – Locust bean gum – another legume from a leguminous tree, the sort that produces those long bean pods.
    – Xanthan gum – produced by GMO bacteria. ‘Nuff said!
    – Corn starch – unless it is organic, it’s GMO.
    – Wheat – Celiac or gluten sensitive people need to stay away. It’s in almost everything, including condensed soups (you know who you are!).

    Traditional thickeners are:
    ~ Cream – from raw milk, from a cow.
    ~ Eggs, whole or yolks only – from a chicken.
    ~ Pectin – from either apples or citrus, I’ve made it and it’s totally good and natural. [Just cook apples to death in water on your stove for a long time.]
    ~ Cooked vegetables, pureed – use a veggie that works with whatever you need thickened and cook it, then puree it with a stick blender or in a regular blender. This chips up the fiber so fine that it acts as a thickener. Nice!

    If you want thick coconut milk, leave the fiber in, or some of it, and add a bit more coconut oil if you like it and can eat it, or choose on of the more traditional thickeners.

    Thank you Chris, great article! The title didn’t confuse me at all, I took 10th grade English back when we were actually taught something. :o)))

  109. I sent my son out tonight for coconut cream to make a smoothie. He returned with a can of GOYA coconut “milk”. I noticed that a preservative named potassium metebesulfite was listed as an ingredient. This is a hazardous chemical which has been known to cause , asthma, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems. It can also be fatal in large doses. I’m finished with coconut milk or cream unless it is organic and without this preservative.

  110. Just going to point out that cans lined with BPA PROTECT you from inordinately large amounts of aluminum(and other toxic metals) from being leeched from the can into the food, and then into your body. Now adults this isn’t that big a deal as long as your body isn’t in mineral absorbtion mode(such as after a fast or after a chelation cleanse(or if you eat a lot of greens/cilantro in general(many cups a day)). Children however or if you have cuts,ulcers, wounds anywhere from lips to large intestine it becomes a problem. Nearly every thing you eat “causes cancer” and your body “cures” it shortly after, coconut is particularly effective at assisting your body in natural process of cell maintence since it’s one of the few sources of the best fuels for your cells which cancerous cells have difficulty feeding on due to the base(ph) nature of the substance, not to mention the antioxidants. BPA lined cans vs regular cans, they are both bad for different but equally dangerous reasons to babies(neurological damage), and adults(toxic compound overload). But the BENEFITS of consumption of coconut milk in this instance greatly outweigh the potential detriments resulting in many more +s than -s for a net benefit, so it’s still a great option if you can’t make fresh coconut milk yourself for whatever reason.

    • Finally someone with a shred of commonsense, we can find something wrong with everything we eat or do, but some have more +s than -s, coconut cream in a can is one such food, Get real people.

      • Unless certain brands make you sick…whereas others don’t…each with different ingredients…there are differences ya know.

  111. Be careful of Coconul oil, in Chinese and Indian traditional medicine this is a very heaty food and will cause inflammation, coughing and disease in those whose metabolism are not suited for it, especially children and O blood types, who should be on a paleo diet and avoid any tropical foods. We forget that islanders who used coconut oil did so because they didn’t have much choice and their metabolisms may not have been suited to it, hence the large rate of obesity and diseases in some of those areas.

  112. For those not interested in making your own coconut milk, I’ve recently discovered a brand called Aroy-D that makes 100% pure coconut milk in BPA free boxes. It tastes absolutely amazing and is totally clean ingredients-wise. Highly recommend it. I live in Istanbul and have found it here at a restaurant supply store but no where else. I used to live in the states and never found a coconut milk product like this one–its really so good. Not sure if its available in the US but the brand is from Thailand. Check it out. And btw I have no affiliation with the brand at all. Just trying to spread good products. Cheers!

  113. Thank you, Chris, for a very informative article. I have been researching everything I can on the very healthy coconut, especially coconut oil. I realize your article is about coconut milk, but I was drawn to it anyway because of the coconut word in the title. I have never tried any form of coconut milk yet, and your article gave me valuable information if I decide to try some in the future, so I thank you for that.

    What concerns me about your article though, and no blame on your part, is the fact that, to a lot of people, coconut oil might be lumped into all this as a natural product to be wary of also. As long as the coconut oil is organic virgin or extra virgin, that is, it is extremely healthy and so good for you. I have, and continue to have, numerous health benefits from this amazing healthy food, including healthier skin, hair, and 10 lbs lost in a month. Sorry to get off-topic a bit. Thanks again.

  114. My 6 month daughter and I both seem to have serious issues with any MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides). I did some research and found 2 really interesting studies which suggest that MCT’s actually promote allergic reactions (see below). I’m not suggesting this is a common problem for most people, but perhaps something to be aware of.


  115. This is an excellent article. You should contact Dr. Josh Axe and suggest he should tell people about these specific products because I have seen him making fruit smoothies with 365 brand cans of coconut milk, which I was appalled about, so that’s when and how I found your information here. Thank you for this fantastic info.

  116. Hi, a little off topic, but does anyone know is RAW shredded coconut vs toasted coconut better nutrient wise etc for making the coconut milk?

    I’m coming from a long raw food background, so I still have that residual raw programming of needs to be raw…

  117. Well, I am 41, 240 pounds at 5’7″. I stumbled upon this article because I heard I could use coconut milk as a healthy alternative to creamer. The coconut milk I bought is just as the article says. Guar gum. In metal can. But I feel it’s probably still healthier than: corn syrup solids, sodium caseinate, dipotassium.phosphate, and sodium alminosilicate….which are but a few of the ingredients of my creamer….on top of the BPA of the container it’s stored in.

    Look. I have been subsisting on a McDonalds diet. For about 20 years. So….any change I make to eat healthier is going to make me healthier. There is nothing in this coconut milk that will damage me any more than whatever they put in McDonald food.

    If you’re a beginner and you’re looking to make a change, do not let this article stop you. I’m not saying that BPA aren’t important things to investigate on your road to health. I’m just saying that, at this point, if you’re.in my.position, carcinogens run rampant, the ulcer is bleeding, and heart attack is imminent.

    Just make the change. Paleo.is amazing. You.will feel better….guar gum and all.

    • you are right on the button, as you said most of these people got into trouble eating crap foods, then someone tells them a perfectly healthy food has so much wrong with it. Yes and that probably applies mostly to those people out there who have every known medical condition, and a few others besides cheers keep your food real and try not to develop all the illnesses that you see on the web, hear on t.v. or read in magazines. We will all die one day despite our best efforts lol.

  118. Hi guys,

    I understand what up set ppl about the article’s title but you guys have to understand it is a journalistic trick to get ppl to read the article. I am used to it by now no matter whether it is a health blog or anything else. If it got you interested then great and if you actually spent the time to read it fully even better. Does not matter whether you agree with the journalistic way of writing or not what matters did it tell you what you wanted to know based on the title and more. Do not start to pick on small things like that rather enjoy the article and comment regarding its contents. Be glad that we actually have guys like Chris who writes a blog with some useful info and if anyone can do a better job then go ahead and do it, I always welcome new blogs that have great info on them. Best, Se 🙂

  119. I found this article very helpful and I am aware of how complicated the digestive system and related problems are.
    I certainly did not get the impression that this was a definitive article on digestion
    Thanks Chris

  120. Chris,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. It helps us make more conscious decisions on how to help ourselves heal. I truly wish their were more doctors educated the way you have done so. I also wish there was a way to screen out the undesirable comments. I don’t know why people reply if they are only going to pick at your comments. We are educated enough to pick what applies to us and work with it.
    But I was glad that you came back with the CAUSES in bold. That made me take note. I am one of those with IBS and I have been on Paleo a year, but I still suffer, so I am better but need to tweak the program a lot. I am looking around for cheap ways to help myself, so your comments definitely have merit in my book. Thanks,

  121. So according to the FODMAP diet, is it best to pull all fruits of every kind out in cases if IBS/gut dysbiosis, etc??

    • Yes Bethany, google a man lives on sunlight and water, wonder what skeptics and bloggers will have to find wrong with that. Skin cancer, and hyponatremia, lol.

  122. Hey Chris,

    Thanks for this article. I have been drinking coconut milk that comes in half gallon containers from the local “health food” stores. I have been bothered by the long list of additives, especially vitamin D2.

    After reading this article I got some creamed coconut and made my own milk with no additives. The best part is the taste! Yes, it is ‘grainy’ which I don’t mind, and I probably need the fiber anyway. But it tastes like a completely different food than the supermarket variety I have been using.

    Thanks again!

    All the best,

  123. We have coconut milk almost daily. The organic, BPA-free cans are so expensive so we switched to homemade. I buy organic shredded coconut in bulk from our local market.

    We now prefer homemade over canned. It tastes so fresh and creamy. Love it!

  124. I can’t believe that all these drinks…almond, coconut milk, etc. are touted as being so healthy. Even Dr. Oz, who talks about eating naturally, pushes these drinks, and doesn’t mention the added ingredients. There should only be two ingredients in any of these milks, not twenty. Personally I’d rather drink organic cow’s milk. I believe that most things in nature have benefits, but unfortunately when we Americans hear that something is good for us, that’s all we eat.. there is no moderation. Same with cow’s milk, it’s not unhealthy until you drink too much of it.

    • Sorry but you are wrong in few ways. There are many brands of almond and coconut milk that only have a couple ingredients. And even the ones with some of the bad ingredients are still healthier for us than cow’s milk. All he – Dr Oz – is doing is giving us BETTER alternatives, not perfect ones. And cow’s milk IS bad for you! EVEN Organic! Raw, grass-fed is the only cow’s milk that is OK, but thanks to our government, big Pharma, greedy farmers, and pasteurization most people don’t realize it. Grain-fed or ‘finished’ is bad for us, and the cows, in so many ways. Pasteurized milk only kills the bad bacteria; it does not get rid of it. Your body doesn’t know the difference and will try to fight it off, resulting in inflammation and many other problems.

  125. Thank you so much for this article. I just switched to a Paleo diet and suddenly my stomach was upset after having my morning coffee (with coconut milk added as a creamer). Your article is very informative, but I had to quit reading the comments. I just can’t understand the hostility over your article! I guess a lot of people were having bad days.

    I for one appreciate the information you gave on the possible negatives of coconut milk, and now I know to look for coconut milk in BPA-free cans, and without guar gum or other added ingredients. Thank you so much for your time and research to help us Paleo people out! 🙂

  126. so amazing. I entere google this afternoon to ask if coconut milk can cause stomach upset when i had a running stomach after taking coconut milk. The first article titled ‘3 reasons why coconut milk may not be your friend’ as written by Dr. Charles Kresser, really got me curious. As i took my time to read, i realised he was saying the exact problem i am facing. How i wish i could get daily health tips from this Doctor. Thank you

  127. Thank you for sharing this information. I’m just a bit confused by an apparent contradiction.
    Your article contains the following three statements:

    1. “The good news, however, is that there are at least two brands of coconut milk that don’t have BPA in them. One is Native Forest, which you can purchase on Amazon if it’s not available at your local store.”

    2. “If guar gum does give you digestive trouble, Native Forest has just released a new version of its product that doesn’t contain it”

    3. “Native Forest is organic”

    And then, you mention:

    “As of the time of this writing there is no widely available commercial brand of coconut milk that is organic and free of BPA and guar gum.”

    Based on the previous three statements, Native forest is a widely available commercial brand of coconut milk that is organic and free of BPA and guar gum. Am I missing something here?


    • I personally haven’t come across any canned guar-gum free option from Native forest. So I think what he means is (and someone correct me if I’m wrong):
      1. Native forest has a canned BPA-free option but it has guar gum in it
      2. If you dont want guar gum, Native forest has a carton option which has no guar gum or BPA but other potentially toxic ingredients like caregeenan

  128. I have been making a protein shake everyday (Monday-Friday for lunch for the last month with so delicious coconut milk. I’ve been feeling very bloated and have been waking up with swollen hands and feet every morning. I went to my holistic doctor today and he explained all the ingredients in coconut milk are proven to spike estrogen- which makes you retain water- especially during Ovulation! Great article! I shared on Facebook.

  129. What is your view as to whether coconut milk and coconut oil are high in histamines? I have chronic urticaria and eat a low histamine diet. There seems to be some debate as to where coconut falls with respect to histamine. Would be interested in your views.

  130. I agree with this article. I have milk sensitivities so I drink almond milk but wanted to give coconut milk a try because it was popping up everywhere in grocery stores. I already use cold pressed coconut oil on my skin (which works wonders) and thought coconut milk would be a good “healthy” addition to my diet. Turns out, it made my stomach upset; I couldn’t figure out why until I saw the filler “guar gum” and after looking it up saw that it might be the culprit ( a sensitivity to it) Suffice it to say, I stopped buying and drinking it and stuck to my almond milk (which has NO such filler). Thanks for alerting me to this!

  131. You r leaving me no options for food what does one eat with glutton and lactose intolerance. I am 98 pounds and can’t eat anything

  132. First off, what I would simply like to say is, this an intriguing report , i try in best to stay on top for great health which are my most important matters in my life, whatever goes into the body better goes out the right way and leaves nothing mysterious behind that could do no harm to any person that doesn’t want to live or deal with for the rest of our lifetime. So thank you for explaining and exposing the truth, that helps greatly, its very important we must know what’s in the making in these manufactured food products, for those who truly care about their body and believes to deserve the best on great health.
    Now here’s the thing, I’d never tried coconut milk in a can, after read your report about it I don’t think I ever will, I’m pritty sensitive about what I put in my body, coconut milk in ice cream or container form that I always like. But, I’m not worried about what I put on my body, I found out coconut milk is good as an condistioner to put in hair and some people showed some demonstration on YouTube.com and I see that mostly they’re using the can coconut milk they pick up from the supermarket. So my question is any can coconut milk, when applied on the hair, is as bad as consuming it to what you report about and if so should I buy the coconut milk that you preferred? Just want to be on the safe side :-).

  133. I liked what I could read, BUT, the little rectangle that runs down the right side of my Google Chrome browser is what helps me navigate your site vertically. I checked other pages and that rectangle is much larger on many of those pages & I’m not sure that size matters. However, on The Huffington Post I found the rectangle to be the same size & no problems with navigation. The REAL problem? In trying to navigate vertically it’s perhaps like power steering in a car & I can’t easily move down the page. I want to go down far enough to read the end of say, the guar gum section (or any other section) & I can’t do it because it navigates too far down the page. I think what you have to say is valuable, but I’m not interested in wasting my time this way in the future (including not being able to finish the article because of the huge “skips”). Good luck!

  134. I tried Kara coconut milk for the first time yesterday. I added it to two teas and this morning woke up feeling very tired. after 30 mins I started to get stomach cramps like I sometimes have done in the past when my body has eaten something toxic like a non washed non organic apple. after the stomach cramps I stayed in the bathroom for 30 mins.

    Now I am drinking nettle tea with peppermint to calm my stomach and bowels….

    this prompted me to go over what I ate yesterday and checked allergy to coconut milk and i found your article.

    For my body, It looks like coconut milk creates an allergic reaction in the gut, so I will not have Kara coconut milk and will try to make my own from your recipe. Thank you for the very informative article.

  135. We buy Golden Star Coconut Milk which comes in cans that are not lined with BPA. The 2 ingredients are coconut milk and water. We find it at our Super-Walmart. It is not organic.

  136. Nothing kills more people than stress. All stress is ultimately related to the fear of death. Seems to me: This page is filled with folks who are inadvertantly killing themselves with dietary related stress in a hilarious attempt to “live longer”. Egged on by the Chicken Little efforts of the individuals who’s “heathy living” agenda is in fact driven by the acquisition of gold under the guise of altruism. This is accomplished through establishing of a market of guided consumption based on the creation and exploitation of FEAR. The fear of death, the fear of the pain of dying, the fear of any range of maladies, real or imagined… Or better yet, one’s purposefully invented and perpetuated. Anything that leads the fearful mind repeatedly back to those entirely avoidable entropic cogent paths which destroy the quality of of “now”, by diverting the mind to consistent address of the specter of human mortality stalked by the persistence of TIME. The irony is beautiful. Have at it. I’ll be out by the pool, smoking a cigar, sipping some cold coconut milk… Outliving all of you. If not in YEARS. In QUALITY OF LIFE. Without even trying. This post will be taken down. Surely. But if even ONE of you poor misguided sots sees it before it is… I’ll see you over there. There will be laughter and good cheer. Do THAT enough and you WILL live BETTER… Which will ALWAYS trump living LONGER. Sadly, it’s not a mindset you can create in a “approved” brand organic blender. Vitamix indeed. Ship of thieves and fools. One that should be towed out to sea and sunk with naval gunfire. Cheers!

    • Standing ovation!!!!!! I don’t understand why people let themselves get all worked up, especially when attacking someone who is helping everyone.

  137. To be honest, I’ve never actually heard of “canned coconut milk” ’til I looked it up in the Internet. Here in the Philippines, coconut milk (aka “gata”) is usually something you make yourself rather than something you buy in a can.

    However, I was already well aware that coconut milk is not for everyone way before I heard of its canned counterpart.

  138. Funny how so many said they read the whole article and then proving they didn’t pay attention…

    Anyways. I make my own coconut milk and react to it. I gave up the packaged coconut milk long time ago thinking it was the extra ingredients in it that caused my reaction, but still react.

  139. Isn’t it time to update this article? The original article itself is not dated – a real problem that should be addressed, as developments in all spheres are at a hectic pace and information quickly becomes Dated. It is now widely recognised that BPAs are harmful and it has been eliminated from most products.
    Well done for making the dangers know long before it was recognised as a dangerous ingredient in plastic manufacturing.
    I am a big fan of coconut products and was attracted to this article by the dire warning. So I agree with others who complained that the Subject appears to attack Coconut Milk in isolation, when there are many other products that fall within the scope of article – Guar gum and BPH-lined cans. I’m in total agreement with Olivia Reed’s comments.

  140. Thank you for this information! I am in awe of how many food allergies I have and fructose is the one of the worst. This is the best article I have read on the topic to date. I now have more leads on how to change my diet. I am truly grateful!

  141. Just wanted to point out that you have referred to coconut cream mistakenly, which could be confusing for people. Creamed coconut (you refer to Let’s Do Organic brand) and coconut cream are two different things, with different applications. Aroy D coconut cream is similar to coconut milk, and is great as a dairy cream alternative in coffee. Creamed coconut is more granular and is better for using in recipes, smoothies, etc, but kind of gritty in coffee.

  142. The ‘Blue Monke’y brand of Coconut water contains niether Guar Gum nor BPA

    “Packaging Blue Monkey in a sealed, recyclable can assists the product in having a longer shelf life (2 yr+). As no preservatives are added to Blue Monkey, it is sealed to preserve freshness and exposure to any possible contaminants- 100% natural coconut water, just like drinking from a coconut! Blue Monkey cans do not contain BPA – and are easily recycled. Cans also allow the beverage to cool quickly.”

  143. One reason people may be reacting so violently against the title of this article is because many of us have rejected dairy altogether, and coconut milk is one of the very few cruelty-free alternatives to cow or goat milk. This is one of the major reasons why I use it. Additionally, I was diagnosed with diverticulosis two years ago. Changing to a vegan diet has healed me. Coconut milk doesn’t give me the digestive problems I had with animal milk.

    Perhaps it isn’t just coconut, but other foods taken in the same diet (such as highly-processed and fried foods, dairy, cane sugar, gluten, meat, etc.) that contribute to IBS. I eat organic, non-GMO food, almost no canned products (choose glass when possible) and plenty of vegetables daily. Coconut milk and cold-pressed sesame oil are the only fats I add to any recipe. I no longer use sugar.

    Like others here, I read this article because your title is negative and provocative. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with coconut milk. Guar gum and BPH-lined cans are legitimate concerns, however. Please consider retitling your article so that it reflects more on the packaging and production of coconut milk, rather than on the milk alone, which, as you point out, can be made organically at home. Thank you.

  144. What about the other bisphenols? Some manufacturers may have ceased using BPA, but there are many other BPs, as you can see in Wikipedia. It’s easy to say no BPA, but …. That white phenol lining in cans and in the linings of jar lids is a mystery, no?

  145. Since I consume the Kroger-brand coconut milk (King Soopers in Colorado), I just checked the BPA content of Kroger’s canned goods. In 2011 the company announced that its cans would be BPA free. Search for: “Kroger Switches to BPA-Free Cans for Private Label” and “Kroger bans BPA from store brands and receipts” at Forbes.com.

  146. So glad to see info on FM. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago. I scoured the internet for as much info as possible but found a lot of conflicting info and too many personal opinions. I no longer eat fruit but veggies are full of fructose. I am both fructose and glucose intolerant. How do I balance the two in order to give fructose a ride out?

  147. Native Forrest has guar gum in it…it’s listed on the back of the can plain as day…INGREDIENTS: organic coconut milk (organic coconut, water, organic guar gum)…

  148. I live in Thailand, read Thai, buy Aroi Di coconut milk all the time. The carton states 100% coconut milk as the ingredient, both in Thai and English.

  149. like some commentators mentioned above, patients with IBS/IBD often react badly to high fiber foods. Your patients are likely reacting to the fiber in coconut milk, not the fructose

  150. Great article, it gives me the information I need to make an informed decision and the possible ramifications of that decision, without histrionics.
    I think people are missing the point, use the information; coconut nut oil is not ‘the enemy’ but the effects and benefits will vary with the individual. The one thing, however, that will be an issue for everyone is the BPA.
    Thanks again Chris.

  151. Wow, this confirms my suspicion that most people generally suck in life. The article provided excellent information. I didn’t feel misled by the title at all.

    I was experiencing slight discomfort from drinking coconut milk and after reading the article, I’m now aware that it might be fructose malabsorption. Thanks, Chris for all that you do.

  152. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back
    to your blog? My blog is in the exact same area of interest as yours
    and my visitors would genuinely benefit from a lot of the information you provide here.

    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks a lot!

  153. i think your article was very informative regarding cans…however who drinks canned coconut milk these days? There is pure coconut water, hello? directly from the coconut! you don’t have to make it, you just buy a coconut and crack it open. REAL FOOD.

    • I, for one, can’t stand the taste of coconut water!!! Also, in the things I use coconut milk for, coconut water is just too thin.

  154. I made the coconut milk with the flakes, it was really nice and creamy. However when I put the rest in the fridge, the cream floated to the top and became rock hard. When I tried to make a smoothee with it the cream stayed in fatty clumps. I also tried to make ice cream and the same thing happened. Do I add something to make it blend. I am gluten,dairy, rice and xanthan gum free.
    Thanks Louisa.

    • Just warm it up till the cream melts and stir it together before you put it in whatever you are making! Half the can (at least the ones I’ve bought) is solid cream, so shaking it (no matter how long or vigorously) would take forever to get anywhere.

  155. Hi Chris!

    Thanks for this article. I have a few questions though. My first one is that I have heard when companies claim to be BPA free, it turns out they are using a very similar chemical (such as BPS) which still causes the same issues BPA does. So if Native forest isn’t using BPA, don’t they HAVE to be using something else? Any idea what they line their cans with?

    My second question is have you ever heard of powdered coconut milk and do you think its better than buying canned coconut milk? I bought a bag and I am not sure if I like it, but if its got less crap in it than the canned stuff I am willing to stick with it. The brand I got is wilderness family naturals.


  156. Very good article indeed.
    I can’t believe how illiterate some people are and they are even proud to spit it out against others who actually DO something to help.
    Thumbs up for the author.
    Thanks and keep it up 🙂

  157. Market of Choice here in Corvallis sells Natural Value organic coconut milk in a can. No BPA in the lining and only two ingredients: organic coconut extract and water. I buy the whole fat but hey also have a lite version.

  158. Wow. I don’t know this guy and this was my first visit to his blog. I’m kind of stunned by the reaction of some readers. This was an informational article that would be of benefit to folks who were wondering why they react to coconut milk. He never said “Don’t drink it”. He never said, “Coconut milk is the root of evil”. He clearly and pretty concisely pointed out three possible reasons why someone might react to it. Petty helpful.

    In reading it I did not pick up any bias against coconut milk in general. Just good information. Sad that people can’t just read something for what it is. Move forward if it doesn’t apply to you and if it does, use the information to make better choices, whether those are to change what kind your purchase, make your own, or worst case, give it up. As for the So Delicious fans. What can be said except you are not even drinking/defending coconut milk. It’s a derivative processed food product. I prefer to avoid processed where possible but if you have no problems and generally enjoy good health, go for it.

    In any event, bashing someone who puts out good information is not helpful for others who come along. A third of the population is a significant percentage, which means the information shared would make a difference to a lot of folks.

  159. I am very thankful for this article, as I have been experiencing digestive issues for years now. I found this article after drinking a smoothie with coconut milk by Native Forest (and it did contain some guar gum). Almost as soon as the milk hit my stomach, I felt irritation, bloated and uneasy in my stomach. I quickly researched coconut milk benefits and found this article, which explains possible reasons for my stomach upset. I also learned that apples and black beans can irritate IBS. Given my lunch consisted of quinoa and black bean burger and an apple was mixed into my coconut milk smoothie, I will be sure to try coconut milk once again, but without the other possible irritants. I do recognize there is a possibility of digestive issues when trying out a new food, so I am not writing off coconut milk just yet!

  160. Native Forest coconut milk is good stuff. Having switched from starbucks and their half and half dairy product to an organic dark roast with Native Forest Coconut Milk I can say, yep much better, much healthier and less mucous forming. Very good stuff, can’t relate at all to IBS or other such scenarios but for common folks without any health issues looking to make better choices, coconut milk as a coffee creamer is a good one. No doubt in my mind!

  161. Dear Chris,

    I read the article and I think I understand it. I’m not sure if I have IBS (I’ll read up on that soon); I think I fall into the healthy person category. I’ve read about 20% of the comments and now I’m just going to post my own question.

    I live in Florida and I just got onto this kick of making my own coconut milk. I use mature brown coconuts. I Split them and save the water. I’ve curved a butter knife that’s pretty good and extracting the meat out of the shells in two big halves. Put the meat through a grading disk on a food processor. Then switch the the normal blade and I blend it with the reserved coconut water. Then, like you said, into a nut milk bag, twist and squeeze. I put the milk in a jar and use it in a protein shake the next day.

    As for the pressings, I only press them once and I dry them in the oven and make macaroons with them. Just whip egg whites into a meringue and fold in the flakes. In this way you control how much sugar you add, fiber, the last of the oil and your money worth on the coconut, which here they are less than $2ea.

    I think I understood from the article that my own homemade coconut milk would be free of the three chemicals you mentioned, so am I correct to assume I’m safe from those? Do you have any concerns regarding the mature nuts I buy from my local corner vegetable market? If I think I am a healthy person now and I start making and drinking my own coconut milk everyday will I transgress into a person with IBS over time? Could I develop an allergic reaction to the proteins, fat, and sugars or some other chemical due to the chronic exposure. I really like the stuff and it makes me feel full of energy, it fun to make, so feel inclined to drink about a nut’s worth a day.

    I realize your a busy guy, so I’ll appreciate your response in advance of if or whenever you get around to it, know what I mean?

    Pete in Tampa

  162. Wish I’d read this before I bought 2 cartons and 1 can of coconut milk today. Money down the drain since I now won’t drink it!

  163. I was hoping to read some useful comments adding to the article, but I was disappointed by all the badly written ones, just bashing it. Totally didn’t add to the conversation. I wonder, is everyone this moody because they have digestive health issues? I know when I am eating my trigger foods I get moody as hell. This must be the case for the majority of these people here too.

    I liked this article! I only have tried aroy d coconut milk (as far as cans go) because its the only one at the grocery store that lists only the single ingredient of what it claims to be. I am wary about things from cans though, so came looking for any reason why it might be bad to use this on a regular basis. If anyone has any added pros or cons about aroy d canned coconut milk I’d like to know!

    • I bought aroy-d canned coconut milk hoping it was bpa free and was still suspect of BPA so I did more “googling”, so yeah Aroy-d is BPA free provided you buy the paper carton version, and hence any other brand of cocnut cream or milk that uses the same… duh on my respect.

      Moral of story Cans = bad , paper cartons = good

  164. I realize this is an old article, but I still have several cans of coconut milk with guar gum (and I have noticed some trouble off and on), so I was curious if there was a way to get rid of it. Specifically, is guar gum only water soluble? If so, would allowing the cream to separate and only using that (while throwing away the water) eliminate some of the guar gum from the coconut milk? Or does it interact with the fat portion of the cream as well? Just wondering if anyone knows.

  165. Also disappointed, I buy drinking coconuts, and have no problem with the FODMAPS so most of this is irrelevant. It is much cheaper to buy actual coconuts than the cartons or cans, so why not suggest this?

  166. Thankyou for an excellent article. I have suffered from IBS like symptoms since I was 16 (I am now 56) and was dissapointed that although a Paleo diet was very beneficial to my health in may ways, that I still struggled with some intestinal pain. The FODMAP intolerance and in particular, my considerable consumption of coconut milk, and brassicas appears to be the heart of the issue. I have backed off on these foods and for the first time, I am pain free.


  167. The title grabbed my attention, so I read the article. Makes some good points, has links to other information, and presents alternatives. I did not feel that the title was out of line with the content nor did I feel that the article was misleading. I drink coconut milk out of a carton but am trying to cut back on my intake of fructose. I may continue drinking coconut milk or may not and will be doing my own research to determine whether I do but Chris’ article has brought it to my attention. What I do with that information is now up to me.

  168. Thank you for this interesting article about coconut milk. I live in Thailand, and next to me here on the shelf are several dozen 250 ml paper cartons of “Aroy-D” coconut milk. The label says that it is 100% coconut milk. By the way, Aroy-D, just like “Oishi”, means delicious in English. My concern is whether the inside of these cartons is treated with Bisphenol-A. Nothing on the label says anything about any other ingredients than coconut milk.

  169. hello,
    After reading the above info on coconut milk i have just one question. You say at the very end that there is no widely available coconut milk that is organic, bpa free and guar gum free but, in the article you referenced native forest as being both bpa free and guar gum free and i know for a fact they make organic coconut milk. Did you forget these things? Please explain.
    Thanks, jana

    • The implication of what he said is that this particular brand is not widely available. That is also why he offered a link to the amazon store in case it’s not in your local grocery store. He’s not saying you can’t find it in SOME grocery stores. Just that not a wide range of areas will carry it. Personally, I’ve never seen it in stores. Does this answer your question?

  170. You’re not doing your readers a service with this article, because you’re pulling them in with a misleading statement. The main issue is about canned foods (if you’d simply change your title to be “3 reasons why canned coconut milk may not be your friend”, the issue would be resolved, but maybe it’s an deliberate attempt by you to stir up a bit of controversy to get more traffic?).
    And yes, I read the whole article, I realize the last part is not about cans, but is there a single food where you can’t find some subgroup of people who won’t have adverse reactions?
    This is the first time I came to your website, and instead of having me sign up for your newsletter and potentially become a regular reader (like I do with many health related sites), I know have stored the name Chris Kresser away as “misleading”…

  171. Geesh… some people really need to get a life. All this hoopla over a little article on coconut milk??? It was a good article with some pertinent information for SOME people. If you don’t like it, hit the back button and move on!

  172. @Claire – are you aware of the difference between LDL-A and LDL-B? Then light fluffy LDL vs the dense one? We all NEED and MUST HAVE LDL. It depends on which one you have. Have you or your doctor made that distinction? You can’t condemn LDL any more than you can condemn all people of a race just because some of them are criminal or in jail. We tend to be over-simplistic to our detriment.

    • Yes Michael, I am aware of these differences, but still my LDL is too high and my doctor wants to put me on statins. As I don’t consume much PUFA or sugar, it has to be the coconut products. It is also disappointing, the my HDL hasn’t gone up much given how much coconuts I eat.

      My test results –
      LDL 153
      HDL 46
      VLDL 35
      TOTAL Cholesterol 234!!
      my LDL pattern density is A (large buoyant) which is one positive.

      Even by Dr Mercola’s liberal recommendations ( see article) I’m over his 200 level. If you read the last page of his article he mentions coconut oil/products being a problem.


      Michael, I think your response to me was inappropriate, if you read my post again, I never once “condemned” coconuts nor saturated fat. So to draw comparisons to race/criminals is a little extreme, and I’m also very aware that we need saturated fat to make steroid hormones and other vital modulators.

  173. I think the main problem with coconut oil/milk is that it raises not just HDL but LDL. Has anyone else noticed the LDL’s increasing on coconuts? I know saturated fat is good for us and has finally been vindicated and reached cult status, but seriously, we are all eating way too much of the stuff!

  174. Excellent article. I had just been researching coconut milks online and in my local stores, and came to the same conclusion as the author. It’s almost impossible to find a brand without guar gum or carrageenan or BPA, or at least one that is available to Canada. I may have to make my own. I really appreciate you summarizing. I was unsure as to whether guar gum was safe or not, but instinctively knew to stay away from it. Thanks for confirming!

  175. Hello Mr Kresser, and everyone.
    I have followed with great interest and sometimes amusement the many comments on this topic since this article was published. I had been in search of the cause of my digestive issues for at least 10 years without being able to pin it down. Until now I think.
    I want to express a finding or rather a big newly found likely culprit of my issues and likely most of you out there. GMO.
    The effects reported by the few studies done suggest that symptoms of consuming GM corn, wheat, soy, oats, etc. is indeed constant bloating, general digestive inflammation which leads to irregular flow through the digestive system. The whole lot of digestive disturbance leads to lack of quality sleep, that’s my cross.
    I would be very interested to hear what you all think of this crazy but simple suspicion, everyone should consider this when evaluating coconut and its results. As long as you are consuming wheat, soy, corn, etc you are constantly irritating your system. A gallon of coconut milk a day is not going to matter.
    Just sayin…

    I started with consuming coconut products, mostly home made because I grew up with coconuts and I am a world cook. Results continued to be hit and miss, but when it fell right it felt great.. Then I started looking into GM staples and found that it most mayor grain commodities hence in everything everyone eats in North America including Canada.
    I am now attempting to remove all GMOs from my diet while continuing to enjoy the many benefits of coconut.

  176. For anyone in the U.K., here you can get coconut in a carton at a good price, the price shown is for 12 1 litre cartons which is the same as 30 400ml cans.

  177. In response to the question in the article as to whether there are other ingredients in Aroy-D coconut milk, I have a can processed Feb 1, 2013, and the ingredients are Coconut extract 60%, and water. No fillers or other questionable ingredients.

  178. I have been buying Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk unsweeterned, soy free, dairy free, gluten free, vegan, no artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives. Not in cans, in a container. A natural source of energy providing 3g Medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) per serving. A form of fatty acid mor readily metabolized than long chain fatty acids and that helps to support metabolism. The ingredients: Filteredwater, coconut crew. Triclcium Phosphate, carrageenan, gellangum, seasalt, natural flavors, vitamin a plmitate, ergocalciferol, (Vitamin D12) How good is this brand for me?

    • Well, first off, the brand you describe has carrageenan in it. Chris covered the negative effects of carrageenan. I would not use it for that reason alone. “Natural Flavors” can mean anything. The word natural means nothing anymore. “Natural Flavors” can include MSG. In my opinion, what you describe is pretty far from natural. I would ditch it. On the flip side, you can buy Trader Joe’s light coconut milk in the can (14 oz for 99 cents USD) contains only coconut and water, without chemical preservatives or added thickening agents. However, the can does not say BPA-Free, so the can probably is lined with BPA.
      Natural Value brand does carry a canned coconut milk in BPA-Free cans, with no added agents. You can order it from amazon.

  179. You can buy non canned coconut milk now. Silk and SoDelicious both make different kinds of coconut milk that are sold in the refrigerated section of common grocery stores. Problem solved!

    • Silk and So Delicious are coconut beverages, not milk. The article is not about coconut beverages, but about “coconut milk,” which is a traditional culinary product made from dried coconut meat and water. It is added to curries and other sauces to make them thick and creamy. It is not drunk. Most traditional “coconut milk” in the US is sold in cans, hence Chris’s concerns about BPA, and some brands contains guar gum, hence Chris’s concern about that. Again, this article is not directed at coconut-based beverages like like So Delicious and Silk. They have different ingredients and different issue to consider. Most of the coconut-based beverages contain sweeteners of various kinds as well. Most traditional “coconut milk” does not.

  180. I’d say I’m one of those who cannot tolerate coconut in any form. I live in Indonesia and coconut product is used highly in Indonesian culinary. Even when I get fresh coconut picked from the tree, drink its water and eat its meat, I get stomach cramps every. single. time.
    Also virgin coconut oil makes me nauseous, diarrhea, shaky, etc.
    It’s rather odd because when I was younger, I was totally fine with coconut. This problem only started about 2-3 years ago.

    • I used to be the same but I started taking taking Betaine HCL and that cleared it all up. Could be due to low stomach acid. Try taking some Betaine HCL with your meals and see if that works.

      • a little late, but did B HCL really cure your coconut intolerance?

        i have that and a bunch of other ones for healthy fats that limit my diet to where its a mother effer

  181. Fructose malabsorption is determined by a single oral dose of pure fructose at 25 g. While virtually no one consumes pure fructose alone, never mind 25 grams at a time, it has since been estimated that fructose malabsorption affects less than 10% of healthy individuals. See: Frieling T, et al. Fructose malabsorption: how much fructose can a healthy subject tolerate? Digestion. 2011;84:269-72.

  182. My Grandmother always made coconut cake for Christmas and a few other holidays. She always bought just coconuts and did it old school. I never did get sick. I sometimes think that these health articles can be a little extreme. Just walking outside and breathing is bad for your health. You can never protect yourself from all health risks, so why make your life so miserable.

    • This site is for ill people though. It’s helpful for us to know if something is contributing to our illness or not. I’m glad there are people like Chris willing to question these things, if anything the debates it sparks provide lots of useful information.

  183. I live in Thailand and the coconut milk and cream available here are all sold in UHT packed cartons. No BPA there, I guess?
    Aroy-D (Aroy means tasty and Dee means good) and Chao Koh are the two common brands you can find in any supermarket. Chao Koh also makes coconut cream which I think is just a thicker version of the milk, that’s what I usually buy. The only listed ingredient is 100% coconut cream. I’ve heard from some people that labeling is not strict in Thailand, so maybe they’re cheating, but if you think like that, you can’t trust anything you buy at all.

    Also available (but harder to find) is extra virgin coconut oil in glass bottles, I love cooking meat with it.

  184. i’m rather shocked by the response – by some – to this article, and would like to speak out in support of mr. kresser’s article…

    all the title proposes is ‘3 reasons why coconut milk MAY not be your friend,’ and it does give 3 issues that are possible …if those of you upset by this article don’t feel that the issues provided are a big deal, why is That such a big deal?

    also, the bpa issue may not be isolated to cans exclusively …some products available in cartons (not just coconut milk) also contain bpa in their lining …it’s just good to be aware, and that way you can try to avoid it …that’s all. warmest wishes to all 🙂 debs

  185. I have had fructose malabsorption since (at least) 2006 and while I have my safe and problematic foods pretty down pat, coconut milk and cream are still a puzzle to me.

    I can eat fresh and desiccated coconut flesh (studies done by Monash University in Australia report that it is low FODMAP) but my reactions to coconut milk/cream do not seem to fit with current reports that it is in fact low FODMAP (this is in contrast to “pre-2010” evidence, which used to list coconut milk/cream as high FODMAP) apparently there is a minuscule amount of sorbitol present (<0.1g/100g) but I can eat cherries and blackberries without issue so sorbitol wouldn't (*shouldn't*) be it.

    I came across your coconut milk post because I am trying to research why I end up doubled over within an hour of consuming full cream coconut milk but the light milk does not cause any noticeable GI symptoms. Since moving to the USA from Australia, I have found that my local GP had not even heard of fructose malabsorption until I became her patient, so I need to find my information elsewhere.

    You mention that BPA can cause "harm" in adults, as well as neurobehavioural issues in children – could this "harm" potentially be mimicking my FM symptoms? But then, the light coconut cream would probably be coming in cans with BPA as well, so that doesn't fully fit.

    I understand that this is a pretty big ask, considering you don't know my PHx or the like but if you could shed any light as to other components of coconut milk that could potentially be causing stomach aches and GI upset then I would be very grateful. I might just buy a fresh coconut and see what happens with the cream… wish me luck 😛

    Cheers, Nat.

  186. Useful article that reminds me everyone is different. I generally follow FODMAPS and find that it helps, especially during periods when my gut is acting up. That said, broccoli which is a FODMAPS no no always agrees with me, as does coconut milk. Although it is in cans, Trader Joe’s sells a Coconut Cream that doesn’t have carragenean (sp?) or guar gum in it. I use it regularly and it makes my very sensitive gut happy.

  187. Ok so if we are trying to buy cans that are BPA free, what are they lining the cans with? I contacted Sprouts (grocery store) to see if their cans had BPA in them. I got the most interesting answer. They do not contain BPA, but they are now lined with polyester and vinyl… can’t we get lead poisoning from vinyl? So now we have to worry about lead leaching into our food.
    Here’s the answer I received from Sprouts:

    “Good afternoon Lisa, We have moved away from an Epoxy coating within our containers to a polyester coating and a vinyl coating. The polyester and vinyl replacements have been thoroughly tested and are known, safe, long-lasting and reliable. We do not use the words Non-BPA as this is apparently a misnomer. Our suggested term is non-Epoxy, which means that BPA will not be a part of the initial can, but as you know BPA is now present in our world and will take years to disappear from water, soil and other places before we can say BPA free. Thank you for your inquiry and please feel free to contact us with any other questions or comments you may have. Have a great weekend.

    Sprouts Farmers Market
    Customer Relations Specialist”

  188. Arroy-D Coconut Milk has only two ingredients. Water and 50% Coconut Milk. There is Coconut milk you can buy from the dollar store ***NEVER BUY C.MILK FROM THE DOLLAR STORE*** and it has a wack ton of other weird ingredients. But Arroy-D in a tetra pack is what I buy and its amazing! 🙂

    Great Article.

  189. I found your article fascinating and very helpful. I have UC and feel like I react poorly to coconut so now I know why. My question for you is this: if I eliminate baking with coconut flour and already avoid almond flour because I don’t tolerate nuts well, is there another flour alternative in your opinion? Thanks so much for all you do!

  190. I use coconut milk in tons of recipes (http://'www.yummycoconut.com) and I find it hard to get something that is just coconut milk when buying it in can form. Which I don’t like to do anyways because of BPA.

    It can get pretty annoying when I go to buy some for a recipe and have to put down every can/carton that I pick up.

    Trader Joe’s has a light coconut milk in a can that is just coconut milk and water, unfortunately it is both light and canned. I used to be able to get large boxes of Arroy-D coconut cream that was only the cream but my store actually discontinued the item. 🙁

    • CoconutLover,

      My understanding the light version of Trader Joe-s which has coconut milk and water, is BPA free. Since it also has water added to it, it is ready for latte or smoothies once from the get go. Yes you are paying for the water also, but the fact is it is alot a cheaper, so fat content/price I don’t think it is any worse than the full fat coconut milk cans out there. My issue with saying BPA free is the following. If there is no BPA, what else did they substitute that with which years from now, we will find out can be causing issues.
      I agree with the logic of staying away from can when you can, but if not this might be a better product compared to the cartoon So delicious brands (where bunch of stuff is added to it).


  191. Hi Chris,

    I am grateful for the information you provided as it has helped me tremendously. I first learned of FODMAPs through your site and have come to realize that coconut products, especially coconut flour cause the most harm. I’m saddened to hear that people have been so harsh about your article. I appreciate the help you’ve passed on to me and many others.

  192. About the Thai brand ArroyD – I do read Thai but every can I’ve ever seen lists ingredients in both Thai and English.

    What I found with ALL the Thai brands of coconut milk is that you cannot go by brand. The same brand can carry with or without the preservatives. You have to read the label every time. There are a quite a few Thai brands of coconut milk but only a few that do not contain the junk.

    I’ve called some of the Thai companies (yes, I speak Thai, as well, or used to. Getting pretty rusty these days) and they’ve claimed to not have anything in the can but water and coconut milk.

    Do I believe that? I lived over a decade there. So. I feel I can trust them as much as I can the manufacturers here. Which isn’t too much.

    I do use canned coconut milk from time to time but prefer to use fresh whenever possible. And I fondly recall the days of buying it in the open market from the vendors that made it on the spot then poured it into a plastic bag, and rubber-banded it closed for me 🙂

    Coconut has been a wonderful food for me, but there’s no one food-fits-all, and we each must find what works best for our own body. And, hopefully, respect others’ choices.

  193. I think the Omega 3 intake has been distorted over the years. In hot temperature countries near the Equator we found hot temperature trees such as Palm Tree and Coconut Tree. So the people who live in hot temperature countries rely on such fruits of these tree to live by.

    If I would to travel further North or South to COLD weathers, then the Omega 3 will help me in the winters and also Sqaulene Oil (which can be obtained from Olive Oil) to balance out my diet when I m in winter months. Hence, the studies of rich-Omega 3-plants such as Flax, Chia, etc are located beyond Tropic of Cancer (20 degree North) and Capricorn (20 degree South). None of us can find Palm Tree and Coconut Tree at the North Pole or Arctic countries.

    Hence, the ancient world people somehow eat the food found in their own lands (or countries of residence). The next 10 to 20 years, nutritionists or whoever will need to closely study Foods found according the their land of residence (Plants found in their resident land).

    I submit my paper.

  194. Hi,
    My one year old son has a true milk protein allergy. I now give him organic coconut milk and organic soy milk. I’ve read your articles on both soy and coconut. I’m wondering which is the lesser of the two evils and if the coconut milk is organic, wouldn’t that be safer?

    Thank you so much and I’ve enjoyed reading all your articles!

    • I’m just gonna go ahead and answer this. Coconut milk is a better choice as it’s unlikely to come from GM sources.
      If it were my child however I’d give him almond milk.

      • Thanks. Yes almond milk would be good but he has an allergy to almonds….poor kid. I do buy the organic soy and coconut milk (in cartons) but I think coconut probably better too. I was always leaning to soy because he needs the extra calories.

        Thank you for the comment!! Off to the organic market I go.

  195. This article is a classic example of trying to sell certain product by spreading FEAR over the competing products, in this case, the rest of the brands not mentioned by his article.

    He is clearly endorsing Native Forest and Let’s Do Organic, which are owned by the same company. He threw in Arroy-D as a decoy because he knew most US consumers won’t be able to access Arroy-D unless they go to ethnic markets or shop online.

    He stated on the article that he doesn’t read Thai, yet he recommended Arroy-D?

    This article is a joke. Sponsored articles need to be declared as sponsored otherwise it is just an insult to intelligence.

  196. Julie,

    Listen to this podcast or read the transcript – there are many reference to MS. They are discussing the GAPS diet. http://www.gaps.me – when you are not having grains, nuts, seeds and nightshades, you are eliminating lectins. Very important. An individual’s tolerance to each and every food can greatly vary, but the goal in this diet is to heal and seal the gut lining, so proper nutrients can be absorbed. There is a strict initial protocol, but after the heal and seal is accomplished, you can integrate many foods – as long as they each don’t cause gut or physiological reaction. It’s a test one at a time protocol. Listen to this podcast, though – and read the text. it’s packed with very valuable information.

    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/12/dr-campbell-m cbride-on-gaps.aspx (the audio)
    http://mercola.fileburst.com/PDF/ExpertInterviewTranscripts/DrNatashaCampbe ll042412.pdf (the text)

  197. I can’t speak for others but I briefly read thru some of these comments and my first instinct to the article was complete frustration, as I sense in others. I must say in my mission to find the PERFECT diet that may put my Multiple Sclerosis in remission- my head is spinning with the information available. I have an ailment and want to cure it (to the best of my ability). In doing so I am slowly eliminating things from my diet and replacing it with something that is a healthy alternative. Every day it differs because the information is so contradicting. Let’s see -Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Paleo, Raw, The Starch Solution (book), The China Study (Book), I could go on and on. About a week ago I thru my hands up and told my bestie (in tears) the only thing I can flippin’ eat is organic fruits and vegetables. What the hell!!! Just tonight I tried a lovely coconut milk and was elated that I finally found a suitable replacement for my chocolate milk that I can not longer enjoy. All this happiness came quickly down when I read this article. You have to realize that it’s not about the article’s title. People are so sick of all these dangers that we have to read about ALL THE TIME, that some of us have become incredible irritable. Coconut milk may not mean much to you but to me it is a GODSEND. I finally had a bit of peace that I could eat (all these ways) and enjoy it to. I have no choice but to change my ways. My diet greatly affects how much brain damage that I incur. Some people get to enjoy going to bed every day or feeling really confident in their food choices. You have a peace about you, Right? Well I want that confident peace too, and all these articles are simply draining. No offense to the author. I’m just kind of over the whole thing! As you can see, there is an emotionally attachment to that coconut milk.

    • I think Chris’s whole point in this article is to discuss issues people may have with coconut milk and suggest alternatives for brands to use to avoid things like BPA and guar gum. He never said there is anything inherently wrong with coconut milk. There’s no reason you can’t drink it, just try to find the kind sold in cartons if you can.

  198. Hi Chris,
    I submitted a question earlier about whether coconut milk (itself) had any effect on hormones…. I had, at that time, missed the portion of these comments where someone called Tony discussed the estrogenic effects of BPA. I should have specified that I am drinking (Koko brand, available in UK) coconut dairy-free milk substitute in tetra-pak type cartons. I am not aware of whether tetra-paks contain any BPA (have put out enquiries but, as yet, unanswered). This is not a pure coconut milk, but a milk substitute which contains filtered water, coconut milk 8.4%, grape juice concentrate, calcium phosphate, emulsifier: Sucrose ester, sea salt, colour: natural carotene, Vitamin D2, Vitamin B12. I’ve been using it more than a year and haven’t noticed any negative effect. I recently found and tried, however, a coconut milk yogurt [containing Coconut milk (97.9%), Tapioca Starch, Xylitol, Selected probiotic cultures], which is delicious but seems to leave me feeling “hormonal” (same way I felt years ago after switching from dairy to soy milk — cringe). Do you have any prior experience that suggests a link between coconut products and estrogen effect? Thank you!

  199. Is there any known association between coconut (milk or otherwise) and hormonal alterations (like the estrogenic effect of soy products)? Thanks!

  200. Chris,

    I find your whole philosophy about Paleo guidelines to be GREAT. I just started approaching this and am doing lots of reading. Although it’s about Coconut milk, I have a question: As a person with microvascular heart disease, and the genetic factor, LP(a), which carries a higher risk of MI and stroke, I have been cautioned to have a low fat profile. I am managed by an interventional cardiologist to a low lipids level, and that management can’t really do much about the LP(a).

    Operating on the assumption that inflammation (gut) – dysbiosis is a source trigger (a life of IBS and now understood food intolerances), I am certainly willing to follow a Paleo template, but with a 70% veg, 15% meat/fish/poultry – and some fat, I am uneasy about the saturated fat of coconut milk, yet as I can’t have dairy (intolerance), I am needing SOMETHING that feels like a treat in the dairy-like arena.

    In people with LP(a), and IBS, does pursuing coconut milk makes sense, or am I better off just with olive oil, etc. and accept it? Thank you if you choose to take on this question.

    • Maybe my percentages are off, as I find I need protein more than that – and fat, too. But my understanding is that LP(a) “grabs” the fat and in women, it aggregates to the interior of the vessel wall. Understanding that lectins and phytates are inflammatory, this is why I’m steering toward Paleo. But as I go thru this process, I am starting with the premise of eliminating tenderness in the gut and maybe eventually diminishing vasoconstriction in small vessels. Along the way, it would be nice to lose weight, too, so there’s that. Coconut raises my alarm bells. Any thoughts? Thank you!

    • Mary, if you’re doing low lipids as a result of your cardiologist then you must listen to this radio show! It likely will turn your lipid world inside out, and start understand why people are heading towards Paleo diet! The radio show is geared towards heart disease and high cholesterol, and interviews the authors of The Great Cholesterol Myth, one of whom is a cardiologist and surgeon. But in that show is an extensive discussion about lipids including olive oil, coconut and such that is very worthwhile. Very very well worth listening to, it may cause you to ask your cardiologist some very deep probing questions. In case my link doesn’t quite lead you in the right direction, it is show #895. http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/03/09/895-the-great-cholesterol-myth/

  201. Hi Chris, very good article. I love all the information you provide on your site. Is it possible for my body to dislike coconut oil but be ok with coconut butter, coconut milk and coconut flour? Is there something different about the oil? Not being able to cook with coconut oil, ghee or butter. I may have to try using duck fat!

    Thank you,

  202. I live in a small town in Canada and one of the regular grocery store chains carries Arroy-D coconut milk, so for others who live in small towns…you may not have to buy it online either since my small town isn’t all that multicultural. I have to say, I found this article helpful. I was shocked to see all the comments in which people didn’t seem to understand the article or complained about the title. Titles are supposed to be short, sweet and catchy. I personally did not feel misled at all. This article was the first one I read after googling “is the small amount of guar gum found in coconut milk harmful?” and it was perfect for answering my question. I thought maybe the paelo article I read recommending people avoid canned coconut milk because of the guar gum might have been written by someone who was more hard core than I. I hadn’t even considered issues such as BPA contamination. So thanks for writing this article.

  203. You don’t seed to buy Arroy-D online if you live in coastal areas or areas with high Asian populations. Washington (state) for example has a high Thai, Korean, Japanese, & Chinese populations depending on the town. Iwojimaya & H-Mart are obscenely popular & carry lots of imported brands of coconut milk. While you’re browsing the isle for Arroy-D, keep an eye out for tasty fruits like rambutan, longan, laichi, toddy palm, & coconut jell. If you’re looking for cold bottled coconut milk or juice, keep an eye out for aloe juice.

  204. Thank you for your work and for this clearly outlined article complete with recommendations. I have almost no gut flora but the only symptom I have is a facial rash, I’m assuming was because of the donuts I ate. I haven’t had a test for fructose malabsorption and don’t have the symptoms you mentioned above. I’m already eliminating grains, beans, and refined sugars, might the FODMAP diet be helpful for healing my gut? It seems pretty extreme.

    • And having a facial rash doesn’t scare you? If you can see inflammation on your skin…it’s worse on the inside. I cringe when I read something like “I have no gut flora…the donuts I just ate” Asking for health problems? Pretty soon it won’t be a matter of “should I go gluten free” but “I have to go gluten free”
      The world’s food supply is so contaminated and genetically engineered the human body does not recognize it as food anymore.
      The day is coming when we will not be able to eat wheat, corn, soy and dairy. ALL of us.

  205. Turtle Mountain LLC claims that their coconuts used in their Coconut Milk are organic and nonGMO
    Their Coconut Milk is available in 6.5 FL OZ Tetra Brik containers which avoids BPA issues from plastic containers. I personally did like the CHOCOLATE version, given to me by a cousin today.
    Apparently it is available at Wegmans 2 Centerton Rd Mt Laurel, NJ 08054 (856) 439-7300

  206. Just made coconut milk from 2 fresh coconuts last night… Here’s the modern Burmese woman’s method 😉

    If you are tool savvy, use a drill to pierce and drain your coconut. Then use a band saw to slice it in half. If you’ve got primitive tools like me, use a heavy butcher knife to bust open the weakest indentation and drain the coconut. Then proceed to take the same heavy knife and coconut outdoors onto a surface that doesn’t offer resistance (think stone walkway, not deck), wear garden gloves and score a circle around the coconut until you can pull the halves apart…. Then the hard part begins… Using a salad cutting knife score wedges into the flesh and proceed to “pop” the meat from the shell. Yes you’ll get brown bits on the back but that will all be blended later anyway. 2 hours later… In portions blend 2:1 ratio water:coconut and let the blend steep like coffee for 20 minutes… yes each batch, this takes a while… and strain through a cheesecloth over a china cap into a large soup pot.

    Really a great thing to do with family as it hastens the process. But then again we only occasionally concoct our delicious traditional dishes like white fish and yellow split pea curry made in homemade fresh coconut milk, key spices are turmeric and cumin… maybe twice a month. So no harm done. Hope someone tries this method, having a vitamix certainly helps too lol. And yes I did read this article which is why I am suggesting the freshest recipe free from additives.

  207. It’s the best time to make some plans for the future and it’s
    time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

  208. Hi. I came across this page because I was searching for coconut milk’s nutrition facts. I came from coconut milk-consuming culture, we usually don’t buy canned coconut milk, in fact most moms at home are against canned food. We are homemade / home cooking culture, that is including coconut milk. Here’s what we do: buy a mature coconut fruit (not the young one that has sweet slimy flesh, that one is good for drink just like that), cut it to small pieces and grate it. Then squeeze the juice of it. There, you got the coconut milk, and then boil it and use it immediately. The reason for using it immediately is very simple: so that it doesn’t get stale. After 24 hours, it gets stale and acidic, and yuck.
    Back to what I am searching. This article talks about canned coconut milk. How about homemade coconut milk? Can you point the negative effects (which paragraph, line, etc)? Yes, I am not so good in understanding scientific journals.
    -Rendang lover.-
    (do you know what it is? Oh you might have to Google it).

  209. You can add me to the list of people who react to coconut milk with added gums, or any dairy with gums for that matter, cream cheese being the best, ice cream with guar gum the worst. But for me I doubt its the fructose because I have a history of IBS-C and am eating a lot of fruit, juice and even sodas with no intestinal reaction like gas or bloating or cramping that comes with IBS. The few times I had a bad bout of it was when I was eating a lot of sprouted grain products, so I am assuming it was the irritation from the fiber.

  210. I realize there have been several comments regarding coconut water, however, my question regards FERMENTED COCONUT WATER (I got the idea from the Body Ecology Diet) but am now unsure if after fermentation (using live Kefir Grains), there is fructose (and the possible problem with fructose malabsorbtion) remaining in the Coconut Water Kefir. Would you kindly give me your take on this. Thank you!

  211. Thanks for the article. I have Hep C and it seems that ingesting coconut milk has really slowed me down these days – I just eliminated if from my diet TODAY and feel so much better.
    I was thinking that although it’s a “good” fat – maybe it’s just too much fat for this system that really doesn’t work that well anyway.
    Thanks again. 🙂

  212. Thank you for the helpful info! I’m currently facing cancer and looking to rid my life and diet of as many toxins as possible. Your title was great, and article was informative. I’m sorry you’ve had to defend your article for years! But, I hope you are encouraged to know that it is still helping people! Its a shame there are a ton of angry responses to wade through to find the helpful ones…. It seems like people just like to be upset about things :/ Life is short people…

  213. Hi Chris

    thank you for this article. I got constipated because of So Delicilous (and I almost never have bowel problems). it has carageenen and other stuff which might have caused the problem. thanks for the information! the organic coconut cream idea is great.

  214. Thank you Chris. I have been on a hard search for why my hormones have gotten off balance (including some thyroid issues) since I’ve began my Paleo journey. I use canned coconut milk ALL the time. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW.

    • I was concerned about the saturated fat would it hurt me. I was watching Dr. Oz and they were saying it is the best thing since sliced bread. Coconut milk will help your skin hair eyes and you will never feel better. In the area that I live we can buy it by the half gallon in a carton, not a can. Is that better? I will try it for awhile and see what happens.

  215. The canned milk recommended in the article from amazon (through the article in the link) is not quality coconut milk. Here is one of the reviews: I had carefully verified that what I was ordering was truly from Thailand-but it is NOT! It is from Skri Lanka, instead.
    ALSO, the product I received from Skri Lanka was in the old style yellow lined (Phenol lined?) cans-the yellow kind with the white stripe down the side that theoretically products you from the metals they use to seal the can! (And I am allergic to the chemical phenol!)

  216. Hello,
    I’m a first timer, recently celiac/pre diabetes and going paleo. So, refrigerated coconut milk in a carton, and Almond Breeze, cocounut and almond milk have become staples. Are these ok, being in cartons? Thank you!

  217. Dear Chris,

    Thank you for the article. It was useful to learn about coconut cream, as I’m planning to experiment making homemade curries. Some of the curries contain coconut milk; and I was concerned about using canned goods. I want to give my family a variety of good quality food and great information to prepare them for adulthood and self sufficiency. Your articles are a help in that effort.


  218. Someone else linked to your site on a forum I frequent. Thanks for a good article and a fine, informative website. Sorry about the petulant band of gypsy trolls who can only tear down and can create nothing of their own that is useful.

  219. Hi Chris,

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and all the great articles you write. Much appreciated.

    While everyone may not agree with everything written there is never a need to be rude or obnoxious.

    Merry Christmas.

  220. I believe the title of this article should be changed to “The 3 things to be concerned when consuming canned coconut milk.” I know this would have made the article received with more positive views. I am a proponent for coconut milk as it’s nutritional values and benefits are numerous, however, most people drink it from an container and not a can – especially in California where we are blessed with more options. Thank you for showing me the pro’s and con’s of a canned coconut beverage. Enjoy Life, Vic 🙂

  221. Just found the brand “Natural Value” at our local Food Coop – in BPA-free cans and no added guar gum – ingredients: coconut extract, water. Just FYI. 🙂

  222. Hi Chris
    My husband has been recently diagnosed with Crohns after losing 20kg in 6 weeks with terrible diarrhea and a bowel abscess and joint inflammation led to hospital, colonoscopies etc. We looked at his diet and cut out all sugar, most fruit all gluten and dairy. In four months he has nearly regained all his weight and can eat most things now except gluten and dairy and he still restricts fruit and sugar. He did a short, two week course of Prednisone in the beginning after diagnosis to control the arthritis and get him from rock bottom and hasn’t looked back since. He has just had another colonscopy after 3 months and although not completely healed, they are very happy with the healing that has taken place. His energy levels are still not back to normal but he can function fairly well again. My question is about coconut yoghurt. When he was very depleted he started eating lots of coconut yoghurt. Natural with live cultures. Honestly, it is too rich for me but he was eating about two cups full a day and doing really well with it. I’m sure it has helped him put on weight. Of course, this is made with coconut milk and he has IBD so should he not be eating this????
    In addition to this I was making him a lot of stocks and soups and fresh vegetable juices with just picked organic vegetables and he has been taking slippery elm and probiotics. The only time he felt any kind of relapse was after eating a small slice of sourdough bread which we though would be predigested enough but clearly not.

  223. Great article. I am following Fodmaps due to IBS and find coconut milk a problem. Also want to avoid BPA of course and often find it on the linings of even organic tinned food. Awesome!

  224. Chris, WOW…I am amazed at all the controversy with such a simple article. Being celiac with IBS myself I appreciate having you put the info out there so simply. I am so sorry that so many people have the need to attack you. I just wanted to thank you for having a place I can send my patients to for straightforward info simply put without a lot of cultism involved. There is not such a thing as one diet. Would it be that simple.
    Thanx, Sharon.

  225. Chris, thanks for this article. I thought the title was straight forward and not at all misleading, the information you provided was also clear ans concise. I just made my first batch of coconut milk from the recipe you provided…so easy and nice to know that my diet gets cleaner and cleaner as I heed the advice of practitioners who rely on current evidence based data. Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and helping people become healthier. Btw, I discovered you on Dave Asprey’s podcast (thought you would like to know one of the many way people find your blog). Cheers, Elle.

  226. Hi , I knew the risk of cans with BPA lining and I try to avoid them as much as I can. Even my plastic containers have a sticker on them that says ” BPA Free” and are made in China. I understood that a part of the article is talking about the risk of Coconut milk that comes in BPA lining cans , what about the cans without lining ? because I just went to the kitchen and took I look to my coconut milk can in the fridge and it does not have a BPA lining on it, just metal. The brand of my coconut milk is ” THAI Kitchen” with Ingrediens: Coconut milk, water, guar gum. Thank you for answering me

  227. Aw… I knew it. I bought home a can of fairtrade coconut-milk last week. Before I took a proteine whey shake with whole milk now and then. It got rid of my migraine attacks at night and made me sharp almost instantly. But I still got food cravings of the wrong kind (pasta and the like). So then I mixed a little cocnonut milk with the proteine shake I take. Thinking my body needs the fatty acids as well. BOOM! No more cravings. I almost forget that I didnt have dinner yet. No more hunger!

    But it did concern me that the milk came in a can. But for some reason I neglected that because I was happy I got a hold of some coconut-milk in the first place…

    And now I read this :\

  228. i can tolerate coconut oil in small doses, but coconut water, any brand or container it seems, nauseates me and I get a terrible headache, so intense that I can’t drive. I’ve tested this out many times, and it seems to be one of the few foods I just cannot tolerate, along with any and all rice, short or long grain, brown or white. Two foods that are supposed to be great anti-inflammatory foods, and I cannot tolerate either one.

    • This could be because of the high potassium or electrolytes in cococnut water. I dont do too well with it either, but I do ok on coconut milk and oil.

  229. Im getting tired of everything been considered bad these days. What is bad for all of us is the food industry. people have digestive problems because all the processed food they eat. I live in the Caribbean where we have been drinking coconut milk, coconut water, eating coconut meat, using coconut oil,using all of these in cooking for ages, without the population having any big health problems. It was nt until people began to use other oils, lots of fruit juice (even natural) and processed food that trouble began. So if you already have digestive or intestinal problems, there s a lot of things that are going to be bad for you. The article should had focus on these digestive troubles and include coconut in a long list of foods. To focus on coconut as something bad in general in the title is misleading. Make your own milk and oil from real dry coconuts and no problem.

  230. I have a question about the Inner-eco product. Is this safe for people with digestive issues? I would think the probiotic aspect would be helpful, but it does have cocnut water. If not, what probiotic would you recommend? Thank you!

  231. canned coconut milk sets my intestines on fire. however, coconut oil, coconut meat, and coconut milk in the carton are 100% fine. I wonder what the problem is.

  232. I do not understand why people cannot express differing opinions without being rude.

    Well done on the article Chris and keep doing what you are doing. At least you are trying to make a difference and be a source of information to others instead of doing nothing and criticising other’s efforts.

    Take what you can from the article, discard the bits that you do not agree with and move on. If you have a differing opinion or wish to provide correction, do so politely.

  233. I have a friend that can eat fresh coconut, and it doesn’t bother him, but the processes sweet shredded coconut will cause him to turn very pale. I found this out when I made a homemade Coconut Custard Pie. What is the difference in the coconut?

  234. I stumbled on this doing other searches and thought I’d add in a bit more info.

    The thing with BPA and canned goods is that the industry has not pound a very good alternative to BPA the inner can lining that can hold up very well to thermal processing.

    I understand the contention with the use of BPA and current scientific research and their findings but the following white paper is a summery of the global studies on BPA written by the Grocery Manufacturers Association. This paper does support the claim of detrimental effect of BPA on the young/infant but not so much on adult populations.


    I know there is quite a bit out there on the subject, and I present this as no attempt to nay-say Mr. Kresser’s argument. I just present it as more info on the subject.


  235. Chris-
    My friend consults with you via phone counseling, and is very pleased. You came highly recommended and I have just now gotten to looking at your site. Have already sent some of your info on GERD to my parents, who are very interested in what you have to say. I liked this article. It would take more time than I have to read all the comments, but I just wanted to say thanks and keep up the great work. Looking forward to more science based nutrition info to come!
    Marit Harney, RD CPT

    • The title is misleading. Rather than “why coconut milk may not be your friend” it should read “why CANNED GOODS may not be your friend”. I have always bought my coconut milk in cartons, which are readily available. I fully expected to read why coconut milk is bad. What I got is what I already knew, canned goods are bad. Disappointing title, but I’m happy to know that drinking my coconut milk (from cartons) is perfectly safe.

  236. For the love of god…just don’t eat the freakin coconut milk. Unless you crack the coconut and get it yourself; if it’s in a can or tetrapak it’s SH!T. Processed garbage. Get over it and eat REAL food.

  237. Ha, don’t feed the trolls, Chris! What a bunch of weirdos, why don’t they go on Yahoo ‘health’ message boards and slam them, THOSE are the most misleading articles I’ve come across!

    Anyway, I was wondering what your take is on UHT (Ultra High Temperature) coconut cream, also it’s in something called a ‘tetrapak’ which looks like a juicebox. It is plastic lined, and does not say what type of plastic they use. Zico coconut water and the coconut cream (Kara) I had bought both use the same packaging. They don’t say to recycle it, there is only a drawing of a person throwing the container in the trash, which makes me suspicious of what type of plastic they use, since coconut is an oily food. I personally can’t stand any type of plastic, even the so-called ‘safe’ ones, I always had an aversion to them, ditto microwave ovens and cell phones.

  238. Going back to your discussion with theresa and dairy products / milk, in particular cows milk, i am against it, first of all milk contains lots of estrogens, secondly, the cows are injected with hormones to prolong production of milk, i dont know if you are aware of patrick holford but in his book one of the main reasons he doesnt reccommend cows milk is because of its calcium to magnesium ratio, which masically causes an imbalance, magnesium is proven to help prevent cancer. Yes milk has some benefits and prevents certain types of cancer but it also increases the risk for cancers like prostate and breast, your much better off getting calcium from green vegetables instead of milk, and it may be an age old saying but milk is for babies, what possesed humans to grab another animals breasts and drink the fluid it produces is beyond me! If people are desperate to drink milk it should be organic because at least those cows are not injected with hormones… This is still not ideal and dairy should be avoided alltogether. There are many products which have good and bad sides for e.g a glass of red wine, it has some protective properties but you can obtain those from other foods without the negatives, the same applies to milk, it is not made for us, it is made for a baby cow!

    • Patrick Holford is a quack. Amongst others, he believes that everyone needs to take vitamins and minerals supplements for health (funny that cos he has his own supplement line), that whole grains are good for you (questionable), IgG food intolerance testing works and is legitimate and to paraphrase him the science he uses to support this claim “is to just trust him”.

      He also claims that high dose vitamin C cures H.I.V and people with H.I.V are better of taking high dose vitamin C and to ditch their anti-virol drugs. Again, no science behind this claim and the study he uses to support this claim is based on putting vitamin C on the HIV virus, in a lab, on a petri dish. But then he is selling his own supplements. Oh and scizophrenics can cure themselves by taking high dose Vitamin B3.

      This is not to have a go, it’s just this guys is a conman. My piece of advice, don’t listen to him.

      • Fair enough jamie Your entitiled to your own opinion but he actuallymcame out with his book the optimum nutrition bible years before the supplementmline came out… Im not saying i blindly agree with everything he says but there are alot of things that make sense, vitaminc for example is a very powerful thing and i do beliebe it should be combined with hiv medicines, also i do believe in todays modern society we do have to supplement because of the quality of food and there are so many anti-nutrients around us inc pollution bad foods and processed foods. A typical human today doesnt get what they need and even if they eat healthy the food they eat have alot less nutrients in them because of all the artificial fertilisers and chemicals that are used in todays farming. Organic is the way to go and on top of this avoiding plastics is also important, thats why this article interested me. Alot of the things ive just said are mentioned in patrick holfords book, im not trying to say he is the be all and end all of everything but there are certainly things in there that are correct and make sense! And one of them is the consumption of dairy!

  239. Thank you for this article. I deduced that I have a problem with packaged coconut milk drink (in the paper carton) , and with coconut ice cream when it has CARAGEENAN in it, which greatly irritates my intestines and stomach. (I have never known such stomach pain)
    I have started to steer clear of tree gums as well. I am hoping to find a good source for fresh coconuts so I can make coconut milk myself.

  240. What is paleo??? does it start with the invention of the tin can or tetra pak, or perhaps the vita-mix
    how can you call adding water to dessicated coconut fresh homemade coconut milk

    can you not buy a fresh coconut in America….grate it, squeeze it..enjoy it
    healthy Self

  241. So what about coconut milk that comes from a carton. Like the one from trader joe? What’s the deal with fructose? I notice on the carton it says 1g carbs. I’m doing heavy training and would fear if that 1g of fructose per serving is going to knock me out of ketosis……

  242. Hi!

    I have a question…

    Thanks for this article… I did not know about this BPA thing….. I just saw Silk, the company that make soymilk…. now make coconut milk, its stored in these paper cartoons, is that ok?? That shouldn’t have any BPA, is that correct?

    Thanks in advance for any input.

  243. I really appreciate this article. I seriously have no idea what I have, except that I’ve had digestive problems all my life and eliminating and reintroducing foods has led me to see a little progress trying to figure out what triggers this issues. Until recently could drink coconut milk fine until I eliminated it and re-introduced it. I didn’t know why but your article has kind of given me a clue. I has a suspicion that I may be FODMAP intolerant, so hopefully if I follow the dietary restricitions I’ll keep seeing progress. Thanks again!

  244. Great article and a ridiculous amount of angry/negative people with not enough to do in their life. By the way, if the other two issues aren’t a problem for you there is one brand that sells coconut milk in a can that is BPA free. It is by Native Forest. I’ve always wondered about the Guar Gum but seem to do OK with coconut milk so I stick with my Native Forest brand or make my own. Thanks for all the great info!

  245. This may be a bit off-topic, but what about xanthan gum? It’s used in many gluten-free products and I use it for gluten-free baking to approximate the stickiness that gluten would normally bring to baked goods. According to Wikipedia “It is produced by the fermentation of glucose, sucrose, or lactose by the Xanthomonas campestris bacterium. After a fermentation period, the polysaccharide is precipitated from a growth medium with isopropyl alcohol, dried, and ground into a fine powder”.

    Considering that it’s a product of fermentation, but is still a polysaccharide, does it make it as problematic as guar gum for people with IBS/IBD? I have been struggling with IBS for a long time. I found Mark Sisson’s site a couple years ago and started the Primal Diet. When I finally realized that gluten was an issue and stopped eating gluten from its various sources it made a drastic improvement in my overall health. Sometimes, when eating gluten-free baked foods I still get similar problems as those associated with eating gluten – bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, etc. Any thoughts on the Xanthan gum? Thanks.

  246. Mendonca makes a frozen coconut milk. People in hawaii prefer Mendonca over any coconut milk out there. It is not in a can but sealed in a plastic freezer bag.

  247. Wow!!!! This article and all the comments were very helpful to me. I work out 6 days a week, and adhere to a very strict diet. Like another reader, I started gaining weight rapidly (10 pounds!!!!). I had major bloating, gas, and constipation; and when I look back, the ONLY addition I made to my diet was 1/4 cup coconut milk in my oatmeal preworkout. Believe me, People, I love the stuff too, but don’t hate the writer of the article bacause you don’t like what you may have to do, i.e., give it up!!!! Thanks again for the info.

  248. I am unable to eat dairy in any shape or form, but have luckily found organic coconut yoghurt that seems to agree with me. I get no digestive problems what so ever and the flavour is amazing, very addictive. Co-Yo is the brand name but unfortunately it is only available in Australia.

    You should also be aware that some of the symptoms can be caused by gluten which is added to many coconut milks, so unless gluten free, the likelyhood of gluten being present is high, which may cause some of the digestive problems as well.

    E224 also exists in wine, beer and many other products, so if you are fine with them, you shouldn’t have any problems with it in coconut milk. http://blog.caloricious.com/2011/05/20/potassium-metabisulfite-e224-the-antioxidant-used-to-preserve-beverages/

  249. Isn’t coconut cream the kind with a ton of sugar so just adding water to it would be defeating the purpose of being healthy. I found a brand in a can without additives even guar gum. It’s good. Also, I’ve never seen coconut cream in anything but a can. There is a coconut water and coconut milk that is sold in a carton that I’ve seen. The “milk” probably has the guar gum, but the water doesn’t and it’s in a carton. It’s pretty new and too expensive though 🙁

  250. AROY-D coconut milk is NOT just coconut milk, even if the “made for export” labels make it look that way. i´ve seen the full ingredients list and as with nearly all coconut milks, it has E224 added…NOT GOOD!

  251. Thank you Chris for your great site!

    I didn’t read all comments, so if you addressed this already, please disregard my question and i will just continue reading…

    I use the Coconut Dream brand coconut drink for my coconut milk and it comes in quart boxes–do these boxes have BPA’s?

    • …found my answer to a different product, the So Delicious brand (http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/made-with-care ) has not BPA in the containers and the link here is where i found the info.

      Problem is, while looking for that answer, i found a whole different debate on problems with the artificial fatsoluable vitamins that are added to this product. Supposedly fat soluable vitamins are mirror image (chemically) to the real vitamins and that does worry me. Any thoughts?

  252. I have one can of Native Forest coconut milk in my cupboard, and one on the sink empty. I’d bet money Chris, that the cans DO have BPA lining. Sure looks like it to me. -d

    • http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/7-companies-you-can-trust-to-use-bpa-free-cans.html

      If you do some research, Diana, you’ll find that Native Forest has a record of not using BPA as a liner. I’m not saying that whatever they’ve changed to is healthy but seriously? You can tell from looking at the open can on your (and my) counter top? Seriously, a quick search will show that they have been committed to this for quite some time. There are many sources, not just the one I posted. It simply was the first to pop up this time. I checked before I purchased.

      Chris, this is my first visit to your blog and honestly, probably the last. The sharks are snarky mean and they don’t contribute to any real discussion or add benefit. You wrote a good article that I found beneficial and informative and gave me some insight into why someone I love is reacting to a quality canned coconut milk. I thank you for that insight but if I want a feeding frenzy complete with rudeness, I can go to a family reunion………. I avoid them like the plague.

  253. To answer the question in the article about the Arroy-D brand. I use it, and the ingredients mentioned are coconut 60% and water, nothing else. If there are any additives they should be mentioned acoording European laws.

  254. I cannot drink coconut milk and I have IBS. I didn’t know why but now I do. It’s the guar gum and/or fructose. Too much fruit tears me up too. Thanks for the insight.

  255. Wow a lot of negative comments although it has confirmed what I hope wasn’t it; I switched over to Silk Coconut Milk about 3 weeks ago and then all of a sudden lots of stomach issues… gas, bloating, pain, constipation; I’ve been wondering what in earth is going on with my tummy and today as I served myself a glass, I realized this is the only new thing I have switched in my diet (I drink two protein shakes a day, I figured the coconut milk would be better for me, rather than skim milk); now I going to quick drinking and consuming coconut oil all together and in a month reintroduce only the oil (wondering about the plastic container it comes in, does that contain BPA)… Thanks for this information, definitively helped me.

  256. Thank you for your blog and all the work you do!

    I have Fructose Malabsorption, and coconut milk definitely causes trouble for me. (It was this page that first helped me put the pieces together after several disastrous Thai curries.)

    But apparently the newest research out of Australia now says that coconut milk is actually not a fodmap.
    Either there is some other FM-related mechanism at work, or it is a separate problem entirely. Either way, I avoid too much coconut milk these days because I know how it makes me feel.

    You might consider contacting the research team to confirm and update the info on this page accordingly. (Recap of twitter chat with Jaci Barrett, including mention that coconut milk is low fodmap: http://blog.katescarlata.com/fodmaps/fodmap-twitter-chat-recap-fodmapchat/)

      • If one were to ferment the coconut milk(ie make a coconut milk yoghurt- I’ve done this in the past with aroy-d and it is delicious thickened with gelatin. It’s like a yogurt that barely tastes like coconut), would the whole FODMAPS deal be gone?

  257. apparently, some ppl just like to hec kle. actually, i found this article informative because a) it ale rted me to the fact that most canned “or ganic” brands aren’t BP A free (even tho i was already aware of the B PA in cans issue) and it gave me the couple brands that are b) it made me realize that even without B PA, i’m probably better of f mak ing my o wn, which is something i never really thought of. thank you for writing this!!!

  258. I found that drinking coconut milk made me immediately gain weight. Coconut milk has 5 grams of fat (5 of which are saturated) and I was doing fine being off of milk. I was drinking nonfat milk and only stopped because of a mild dairy allergy. I found that even a serving or two of coconut milk a day not only stopped me from losing weight but made me feel bloated and by the end of the half gallon I could tell I was gaining weight. I would dilute the coconut milk if I was ever going to drink it again.

  259. I’m in sri lanka, for us coconut is a everyday food, because you can’t make sri lankan food without coconut milk, so me, my parents, my ancestors consumes coconut milk in all of our life, actually my parents and ancestors probably consumed it more than us, but yet I can’t see any bad symptoms…

  260. You can easily buy coconut milk in cartons or little glass containers in BRAZIL in any store. We have many recipes that include coconut milk since in Brazil there are so many coconut trees. “Muqueca” is a
    very traditional dish here made with fish and coconut milk. Delicious. And a very traditional dessert in “Manjar branco”. attn, Sandra.

  261. Hi, I thought you might be interested to know that latest testing from Australia’s Monash University shows that the level of sorbitol in coconut products, even shredded coconut is so low it should not be a problem for FODMAP sensitive people. Of course, there may be other things in the coconut that the people you are mention react to but it is helpful to know it is not the sorbitol or any other FODMAP. Personally, I have extremely bad FODMAP sensitivity but thrive on all pure coconut products. Throw a little sweetener in there like honey or raw agave and it is a whole other story…. Cheers, Alex

  262. Guess I am extremely lucky. I live in Thailand on a remote Island where coconuts are a hazard because they fall out of trees and injure people. Coconut milk, oil , and water, is made locally and you can’t get it in cans even if you wanted to. I guess what I sacrifice in convenience I gain in health.. thanks for the article, it helps me to make informed choices!!! (oh and the only place that gives out printed receipts is 7/11, and no-one even takes those…) have a great day!!

  263. Just wanted to thank you for this article. I’m a B blood type. I avoided dairy for years until I found out that the antigen that creates the B blood type is actually Galactose (Glucose plus Lactose). I’m now looking for ways to get more Galactose and lactose into my diet. You provided several!

    People have made diet a point of contention that seems bound to replace race intolerance. I hope nutritionist learn that, although the body has been blessed with extreme flexibility, not everyone flourishes on the same foods. B’s NEED milk, O’s NEED meat, and A’s can get along with a carrot or two. 🙂 I wonder what other delectable differences are lurking in our bodies and blood!

  264. Chris,

    Thank you so much for bringing to our attention this issue of BPA leeching into the foods that are fatty, acidic, or salty. After reading your post I’ve been much more cautious…

    I wanted to signal here that there is in the US a brand that offers ‘canned tomatoes’ in a special jar to avoid BPA leeching into the tomatoes! Here is the link:


    Also, I wanted your advice on something related to your post: would you recommend to be low on canned sardines? I eat a lot of canned sardines in olive oil and I’m starting to wonder whether this is dangerous, as this is precisely a very fatty-and-salty food. What do you think?

    Thanks again for the invaluable information on your website 🙂

  265. I find this article very negative. These three points are minor especially given I buy my coconut milk in a carton and other non-dairy milks have guar gum added. The fructose piece is interesting, but minor given the amount of sugar in coconut milk. More of a sentence than the half-page explanation you have going there.

    I consider this one of the many headline-grabbing BS articles flooding the net. Just another Dr. Mercola–sometimes the science is OK, but the approach drives people into a place of fear–not what is needed in today’s media-influenced, fear-based society.

    In fact coconut milk is terrific in many ways and vastly superior to soy and cow’s milk products. Way to turn people off of a good thing.

    • Because it’s not a good thing if it has BPA in it (the vast majority sold in cans do, and most people buy it in cans), or if the guar gum or fructose are causing significant digestive issues. Cow’s milk is a nutrient-dense, health promoting food as long as it’s well-tolerated, and especially if it’s fermented.

      • Erm…no it’s not. It is completely unnatural to drink cow or goat’s milk. We are the only animal in the world to drink another animals milk (other than a snake), the vast majority of people don’t have the required digestive enzymes to process it (because it is completely unnatural) and its consumption is highly linked to diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, early-onset of puberty and a variety of cancers. Are you getting your information and your recommendations from the lobbyist-influenced FDA or from the peer-reviewed literature?

        See Dr. Linda Folden Palmer’s book “Baby Bond” for a highly cited chapter reviewing the literature on milk, formula and health.

        • That’s a tired argument with no scientific basis. Lactase persistance has reached 95+% in certain cultures, particularly in Northern Europeans and in other milk-drinking regions. The fact that cow’s milk isn’t a suitable formula for babies says nothing about whether it’s an acceptable food for adults.

          To suggest that I am influenced by the FDA indicates that you aren’t familiar with my work – at all. Show me a peer-reviewed study that demonstrates that milk does anything you suggested it does. Epidemiological studies don’t prove causation, but in fact many of them suggest that full-fat dairy has cardiovascular benefits and reduces the risk of T2DM. I don’t recommend pasteurized milk, but full-fat and fermented dairy are beneficial when well-tolerated.

          • The ‘certain cultures’ you name are a very minute portion of humanity. In fact, 80% of Native Americans, 75% of African Americans, 100% of native Asians and Africans, and 50% of all Hispanics* cannot digest lactose.

            Here are a few studies describing impacts from dairy consumption. There are many, many more to be named.

            G. Dahlquist et al., “An increased level of antibodies to beta-lactoglobulin is a risk determinant for early-onset type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus independent of islet cell antibodies and early introduction of cow’s milk,” Diabetologia (Sweden) 35, no. 10 (Oct 1992): 980–4.

            R.M. Bostick et al., “Relation of calcium, vitamin D, and dairy food intake to ischemic heart disease mortality among postmenopausal women,” Am J Epidemiol 149, no. 2 (Jan 1999): 151-61

            C. La Vecchia et al., “Dairy products and the risk of prostatic cancer,” Oncology 48, no. 5 (1991): 406-10

            D. Ganmaa and A. Sato, “The possible role of female sex hormones in milk from pregnant cows in the development of breast, ovarian and corpus uteri cancers,” Med Hypotheses (Japan) 65, no. 6 (2005): 1028-37

            B.L. Riggs et al., “Dietary calcium intake and rates of bone loss in women,” J Clin Invest 80, no.4 (Oct 1987): 979–82.

            *reference or stats on lactose intolerance: N.S. Scrimshaw and E.B. Murray, “The acceptability of milk and milk products in populations with a high prevalence of lactose intolerance,” Am J Clin Nutr 48, no. 4, suppl. (Oct 1988): 1079–159.

            • Not one of those studies proves a causal relationship between dairy and those diseases. If we’re going to bring epidemiological/prospective studies into this, perhaps you should take a look at these:

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22081692 (Dairy protects against heart disease)

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21660519 (High intake of fermented milk may reduce the risk of CVD)

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21348924 (Majority of studies reviewed suggest dairy lowers risk of metabolic syndrome)

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21559046 (Dairy reduces risk of type 2 diabetes)

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21447660 (Higher consumption of dairy associated with lower incidence of metabolic syndrome)

              http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20610172 (Dairy provides protection against and amelioration of chronic diseases related to obesity. These include overweight, insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome/type 2 diabetes, hypertension/stroke, and cardiovascular disease.)

              And here is the most important study in relation to our discussion:


              I’ll quote directly from the abstract:

              The health effects of milk and dairy food consumption would best be determined in randomised controlled trials. No adequately powered trial has been reported and none is likely because of the numbers required. The best evidence comes, therefore, from prospective cohort studies with disease events and death as outcomes.

              In other words, as I’ve been saying, you can’t use epidemiological research to prove that dairy is harmful. Only RCTs can do that.

              But what do prospective cohort studies with disease events and death as outcomes (rather than speculation on harmful mechanisms with no real endpoints) have to say?

              The number of cohort studies which give evidence on individual dairy food items is very small, but, again, there is no convincing evidence of harm from consumption of the separate food items. In conclusion, there appears to be an enormous mis-match between the evidence from long-term prospective studies and perceptions of harm from the consumption of dairy food items.

              I’m afraid you’ll have a very hard time using scientific studies to prove that dairy is harmful. I have hundreds of patients. In almost all cases I put them on a 30-day Paleo elimination diet without dairy, and then have them add it back in (if they wish). That is how individual tolerance to dairy is determined. If someone tolerates it well, dairy is an extremely nutritious food, full of fat-soluble vitamins, CLA and saturated fats. If dairy is not tolerated, it can certainly cause health problems. But that does not make it a bad food choice for everyone.

              • as a medical person you should consider what is milk today, pus , antibiotics and virtually zero nutrients due to the extraction of all the cream, this doesn’t make it the golden winner you trying to , I know what I am talking about ,go in a dairy farm some time.

  266. Chris has just given an informative article that allows people to go away and think about their own dietru choices.

    As someone who beleives in the libertarian notion of individual choice then everyone has the right to decide what they want to eat. And as a libertarian then that also means that I don’t beleive in people offending others who hold different views to them and also trying to force others to change their views.

    With that said it would be interesting to know if the trolls that seem to have posted vicious comments on here are vegans or not?

  267. Hi Chris,
    vary interesting stuff i am from the UK and the only Coconut Milk we have in our local store is Kara this
    comes in a Carton so i assume this is okay unlike the brands you mention above its not cheap though
    it retails at £1:34 i dont know what that comes to in Dollars

    thanks – Reagards – Peter

    • Hello Peter

      I’m from the UK and I have found a tinned brand by Heera. It contains only coconut and water. No Guar gum at all. It’s what I use.

  268. Hey Chris. Love your work. So is guar gum present in only canned coconut milk? Are the ones in cartons free of it?

  269. I tried the Coconut Milk from Whole Foods(Thai Product, Organic); tasted OK, added to my Lamb gravy for pretty color and taste. But 30 minutes after Lunch the burping started, continued non-stop for 6 hours. What caused it, I am not sure! I have had Coconut Milk before in Thai dishes, do not recall the ballistic burps happening before. May be it is the Guar gum, not sure. Not buying that product again, will try Coconut Milk again, if I can find it without additives and in carton.

  270. I found this article not fascinating but very helpful. I just read an article in “Eating Well” about the harmful BPA’s in microwaveable food containers, i.e. frozen meals, and was appalled. I had no idea that this was harmful to us or that it affected our hormones. Consumers today need to know what we are being served – right down to the last microbe. If it’s something that goes into our system and we’re paying for it (literally) we have a right to know as much as possible. Thanks for the highly informative article….

  271. I recently had SO DELICIOUS Coconut Milk in a carton. That was my very first time drinking coconut milk out of a carton but later that evening I got a really bad cramping stomach pain and diarrhea. I have never had a problem with the canned coconut milk (the ones you find in the Asian section of the grocery store) when i use it for cooking. Could there be another ingredient in the coconut milk in the CARTON that is affecting me? I LOVE Coconut milk and would like to find one that I can tolerate. I also cook with Coconut OIL and seem to have no problem. That would be a bummer if COCONUT in general is causing the problem. I have never really suffered from IBS so not sure what is going on. I’ve been doing Paleo for 30 days now.

  272. These comments or I should these critical, rude comments are exactly why I don’t like joining blogs. I grew up believing that people should be able to speak and if you disagree you state your position without deliberately insulting the speaker or presenter. I disagree and am very opinionated but I do try not to be rude and nit pick the author’s writing style or his presentation. God forbid, it could be my own inability to comprehend the article and not the writer’s presentation. It seems as people forget or don’t care about being polite.

    I’ve gotten some very good information from Chris Kresser’s site. I appreciate that. If I ever disagree, I hope to state it in a way that’s not inflammatory or rude. But then, I’m a pretty happy person who believes in ‘live and let live’, ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’, ‘apologize when you should’, etc. So this criticism going on and on is unpleasant to me.

  273. I for one am grateful for this article. Having been diagnosed with Fructose Malabsorption Disorder a couple of weeks ago (following hydrogen testing). Coconut Milk is officially on the “eat safely” list provided by the dietitian when commencing my elimination diet. I was frustrated when experiencing symptoms immediately on consumption of homemade icecream (from coconut cream & lactose free milk). Today I was pregnant looking by the time I consumed a bowl of soup made with safe foods and coconut milk. This article has confirmed my suspician – as a FructMal coconut milk is not good for me; exactly why is irrelevant, as it clearly cannot remain on my personal “safe” list Thank you.

  274. I enjoyed this article as it is timely after I noticed a steady increase in weight after adding canned CM. Recently, I used 1.5 cans of Thai Kitchen brand CM over two days. While I noticed a slight increase in the past when I made a delicious curry chicken dish, I thought maybe I used too much salt—maybe not! So, after omitting the CM for the last two days, I am down 1.8#. Does this mean I give up on CM? No, but I will seek CM without guar gum. If nothing else, then I will make it myself from some of the threads found here. Thank you so much, Mr. Kresser!

  275. Nice job on the article as always….

    You state: “Nevertheless, I do have patients that cannot even tolerate homemade coconut milk (which has no guar gum in it), even though they are fine with coconut oil. I assume that they are reacting to the fructose in the coconut milk – but I can’t be sure.”

    It can be the fructose, but I doubt it. There are a plethora of other antigens that can be causing an improper immune response or a loss of oral tolerance to the coconut. Anything can be an antigen causing a loss of oral tolerance. Coconut can cause Type III and maybe Type IV reactions, no common for Type I and not related to a tree nut. But also it can be a non-immunological cause in that say the fat is just difficult for some people to digest especially the meat and creams.


  276. hey chris!
    i really appreciated the article, and thanks to it, i’ll now try to source the organic BPA-free coconut cream to blend with water. don’t know why there are so many negative comments at the beginning of this thread. anyways–i have a kind of rookie question here, it sounds a little silly, but if coconut milk has barely any sugar, how is it so sweet? i’ve always assumed there must be some sugar component to it, as i could just eat it with a spoon for dessert!
    would love to hear back from you! thanks again.

  277. Wow this is turning into a very interesting debate. I encourage all to continue to actively participate.
    I am a chef and primarily a home cook focused on back to basics. I say why rely on anything commercial?
    I had digestive issues for a few years much of it I was blaming it on yeast. That was a red herring. Then I blamed it on a lack of a particular enzime, I am not sure yet, may be another red herring. One thing I am sure of is that buying my coconuts at my local grocer for a couple of bucks, shell it to get the nut material, shred it with my hand grater, add hot water and strain it and voila!. Delicious and has addressed my issues. Very easy, cheap, and even fun. I don’t discard the leftover shreded coconut, I make cookies!! BONUS!! 🙂

  278. Hi. I’ve been making almond milk yogurt and now coconut milk yogurt thanks to my new vitamix. Someone cautioned about the bacteria Burkholderia cocovenenans. Does this occur on dried coconut to ? should I boil to 180 ?

    Thanks !

  279. I realize this is an old post but I see the topic continues so I thought I might add my 2 cents.
    canned coconut milk = stomach upset for me so I conclude it must be the guar gum.
    So I start making my own with shredded coconut that leads me to such severe cramps I’m laying on the couch moaning. Thought maybe it was too much pineapple so I try again with no pineapple 2 weeks later. The waves of cramps start but because I consumed much less I’m able to function.
    Shredded coconut also gives me severe cramps but I thought it was the fiber.
    Too much coconut oil gives me fungal infections since I am prone to them (see Paul Jaminet’s blog for that) I have to be very careful to keep my consumption low.
    So, I understand the enthusiasm for coconut products by people concerned with their health but it is obviously not beneficial for “everyone” like Chris said in his post. And believe me I am truly bummed especially since I am allergic to dairy. I definitely have a problem w/ fructose malabsorption I just never would have connected coconuts with fructose. Thanks Chris for your always informative posts!

  280. I bought So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage in a carton last night then stumbled on this article. As I don’t have any known GI problems and no apparent food allergies and having drunk/eaten coconut juice and meat as a kid, I thought I’d be fine. I drank 1/4 of a cup this morning to taste it then added a little to my coffee (trying to go dairy free to see if my acne improves) and developed pain and pressure in my upper GI. I ended up having to leave work and spent the day either throwing up or in bed! If it hadn’t been for this article who knows what I would have thought was going on. Thanks for the information Chris! Even a person who didn’t think they needed the info ended up needing the info. I’m not sure if it was the coconut milk itself or the carrageenan and guar gum, but at least now I know what to be wary of in the future. I’m Asian and my mom had an I told you so look on her face. lol I think certain coconut dishes give her stomach trouble too. I was mildly lactose intolerant in the past, although it went away for some reason, and this was so much worse. Ugh.

    If you have no problems drinking coconut milk, then I envy you since I like the taste, but this type of article is invaluable information to have and empowers the consumer. Plus, it’s the Internet so you just need to use your critical thinking skills. Thanks again, Chris!

      • Hi jb, I tried natural KARA coconut milk in tetra pack, I bought it in local market Sigonas farmers market, close to Standford shopping mall. It was great so far as part of my cooking ingredients. And when I looked into the nutrition facts, I am confident with this product. But please notice, this is for cooking and not for direct drinking. Thanks for mentioned it.

  281. Thanks for this article. Fresh coconut and coconut water I’m fine with but canned coconut milk makes me feel awful. I cook with canned coconut milk occasionally because I love the taste and texture but I’m going to cut it out and go with fresh from now on.

  282. My husband and I both ate So-Delicious ice cream last night and both of us are still having severe stomache pains and wierd reactions. We don’t have any gut problems or food allergies. I got online to see if anyone had the same experience…looks like we are not the only ones!

  283. How is it possible that so many people are so monumentally naive? Most people who are currently following a Paleo lifestyle are self taught from various website and books. And while those sources are a great place to start it’s Chris who is letting you know information that maybe you would need. I don’t remember reading anywhere in any book or blog about this info regarding coconut milk. Just because maybe these things don’t effect you doesn’t mean it’s information that shouldn’t be available. Stop being so judgmental, if the information works for you then implement it if it doesn’t then leave it alone.

    • But he is referring to coconut milk used for cooking that comes in a can! It has nothing to do with the coconut milk we consume as a dairy alternative, that’s why were being judgmental, the article is flawed.

  284. First, of all, thank you so very much Chris for such a wonderful site.

    What about coconut aminos? I’ve just discovered them as an alternate to soy sauce,
    and I just love it!

  285. Hi Chris,

    I very much enjoy your articles and investigations into food health. I suffered a health crisis in 2007 being diagnosed with ideopathic pancreatitis and was written off by the medical community. A very restricted diet and focused health plan brought me back to health; albeit after having lost 1/3 of my pancreas. I continue that journey of optimum health and qualitfy of life. I am very curious re: the fructose malabsorption, which seesm to fit with my health sequelae. Do you know how to diagnose fructose intolerance?

    Thanks, Jamie


    This discussion has become a bit confused, because we’re talking about two different products as if they were the same thing. Allow me to clarify.

    The original article was about traditional canned coconut milk, which is a thick, oily, creamy product intended for use in cooking, especially curries and other thick sauces. You’re not meant to drink this kind of coconut milk, and if you did, you would probably feel sick, as if you’d eaten a bar of butter. It usually comes in cans, which usually contain BPA. Since Chris’s original article is talking about this kind of coconut milk, it emphasizes the BPA aspect.

    The other product that is being referred to in these comments, but not explicitly in the original article, is the kind of drinkable coconut milk that usually comes in tetra-packs. Rather than thick and creamy, it is lighter, more like milk than cream. It is not “coconut milk” at all in the traditional sense, but merely a recent commercial innovation that has been created, and named, to compete with soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, and all the other “milk substitutes” that people who wish to avoid dairy use to satisfy their craving for dairy products, and products that behave like dairy in cooking and in coffee, etc. The tetra-paks do not, to my knowledge, containing BPA, so that is not an issue. However, as Chris’s article states, coconut meat may be a FODMAP, which means it may cause trouble for some, not all, people. Furthermore, many if not all of these drinkable coconut milks are heavily sweetened, and contain guar gum and carrageenan. Just as an example, here are the ingredients for “So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage”:

    INGREDIENTS: Coconut Cream (Water, Coconut, Guar Gum), Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Phosphate, Carrageenan, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D-2, L-Selenomethionine (Selenium), Zinc Oxide, Folic Acid, Vitamin B-12.

    It occurs to me that this extensive and fascinating discussion would be much clearer and more meaningful if our commenters would recognize the distinction between these two very different products, and comment accordingly. Thanks!

    • Kara dairy free coconut milk contains only naturally occuring sugar and NO guar gum.

      And actually contrary to what you say, it would be more clearful and meaningful if the original article was written better and entitled why ‘products in cans’ could be bad for you. Mentioning cocnut milk in the title was just plain stupid and misleading. Thanks!

    • This message board is a case study in the lack of critical thinking skills within our society. It would be comical if there were some indication that it was all part of some elaborate, dark, inside joke. Alas, I doubt that it is.

  287. Just want to explain my final question a little more. Milk by nature is meant and only meant for infants, be they human or animal. It was not ever supposed to be consumed by adults neither human or animal, this is a fact of nature. Cows milk is the way it is, because that’s the way nature intended it. Not forgetting a cow has four stomachs to our one, milk is the way it is because those four stomachs are able to digest it correctly.

    So hence my question, as animal/human milk is only intended by nature for infants what milk are we supposed to consume? Soya? Well documented as having mainy unhealthy attributes. Rice milk? Lacking in almost everything which brings us to coconut milk.

    Now if nature intended animal/human milk for infants, what did it intend for coconuts? Were they just supposed to hang off the trees looking good? Surely, out of EVERY milk there is, this is the only natural ‘milk’ which nature intended for adults to drink, if we didn’t what use would it have? answer = it wouldn’t and its existance would be pointless for the most part. As nature is rarely pointless….

    Go on, think about it…

    • sorry but there is not milk in the coconut, have to be made from it so isn’t natural is it, we don’t have to crush a mammal in a vise to extract milk from it, I agree on the baby having animal milk, remember Romolo and Remo the founders of Rome they were feed from a wolf (ok is not scientific, just gadding relaxed) and many animal could survive because adopted by a mum of a different specie. I think in nature all is permitted and it work, is when man put his contribution that the problems start. Man was meant to do nothing more then enjoy life but ….now we have to deal with…cans..

  288. I really think that you have concentrated to much on the ‘canned’ side of things here. You really do make it sound as though it’s the coconut milk itself that is mainly the cuplrit yet two out of your three reasons for this article place that blame squarely at the cans and not the product itself. Going on about BPA in relation to coconut milk is really the wrong way to ago about it. If you had written this article on coconut milk that comes in cartons then your ‘BPA in cans’ argument would be void and you would be left with one reason coconut milk could be bad for you. This being Guar Guam. Yes this can cause problems with people with IBS because it is a binding agent. However taken with lots of water it shouldn’t really be an issue at all.

    Of course however, if you have a GI obstruction then Guar Gum is bad as it can be with other similar ilnesses. This however is NOT a reason to say that coconut milk is bad for you, it’s better by far than cows milk in every way for vitamins and minerals and equal in other. It has more calories though which people trying to lose weight will not like but that is another issue.

    To quote you ‘I don’t need any more evidence than this: certain patients feel bad after eating coconut milk (even homemade), and then feel better when they remove it’

    Why do so many of your patients even drink coconut milk, this I find a strange statement.

    Finally, what would you siggest we drink for a our milk intake?

  289. This makes so much sense to me. I didn’t understand why my stomach would hurt and I felt a little sick after eating coconut milk. How frustrating it must be to have to deal with so many argumentive people! thanks Doc!

  290. Superb site Chris what a wealth of knowledge from not only yourself but execellent comments thanks

    Recently looking into improving my healthy eating in general and added coconut milk in can to which
    I’ve had no trouble.However to be on the safe side after mentioned BPM I skip that. Makes alot of sense.

    Maybe simple solution would be eating a whole coconut. Although knowing where our food originally originates from is also opening up can of worms.


  291. Wow, I’m really surprised at how many negative comments this article got. Nowhere do I see Chris giving any advice that would be detrimental to someone’s health. He’s suggesting what you MAY want to watch out for if you have certain health issues. And after all, isn’t that what we’re all doing on the Internet, looking for help with our health issues that we aren’t finding through regular medicine? He’s not saying “Do this. It will definitely help.” He’s saying “If you’re having this problem, you may want to try this, or avoid that. This is what he’s found through helping his clients, and he’s offering the info to all of us. We can take it or leave it, try it, and if it helps, great, if it doesn’t, no harm done. I appreciate the advice.

  292. I just ordered a case of the Native Forest brand from Amazon. SO glad they have BPA free cans! I was starting to get worried since I do make dishes with the coconut milk and my kids eat them and love it.

    Thank you!! This was a very informative article!

  293. Question for Chris Kresser: I have diverticulitis. Why is it that when I eat my favorite dish, Pumpkin Curry, served at my favorite Thai restaurant and contains coconut milk, my stomach feels like I just gave it a soothing bath. It feels l just took some miracle elixir. I have no immediate reaction to this dish as I do with a lot of other foods I eat.

  294. So is organic coconut milk that is in a box from the store not okay? Like Silk or So Delicious? How about Trader Joe’s coconut milk that comes in a box?

  295. On BPA in cash-register receipts:

    I haven’t seen anyone express any concern for the poor shop-assistants / supermarket cashiers, who have to handle till receipts all the time (not to mention cash which has passed through thousands of hands).
    [Apologies if anyone _has_ expressed concern! – Anyway, I’m sure you get my drift].

    It would be good if there were some sort of concerted attempt to bring the problem to the attention of the retail industry, and the cash-register industry. (And the trade unions).

    And the employees concerned probably need to be wearing some sort of appropriate gloves.
    (They don’t, typically, here in the UK. I don’t know what happens in the USA).

    • I don’t know if the boxes are BPA-free but there is so much junk via the ingredients: sugar, carrageenan and other not such great stuff.

  296. I cringe at the thought of people consuming coconut milk like a normal drink. I grew up with a diet full of coconuts but never did I drink a glass full of coconut milk. We normally only use it for cooking and that quantity of coconut milk is enough to feed the whole family of four or six. For a single person, two or three tablespoon of it per meal should be enough or better yet, just eat a piece of coconut meat to get the benefits of the fiber as well. However, I don’t really eat the meat from mature coconuts, only from young coconuts which is softer and thinner. So take it easy with your coconut milk consumption. Don’t overfed yourself.

  297. I have diabetes and have just gotten out of the hospital after a bad bout of diverticulitis – I also have hypo-thyroid disorder and boy am I having a problem trying to figure out what to eat. Right now I am on a liquid diet and I bought coconut beverage unsweetened and it lists only coconut as it’s ingredients – however, I am also on Nexium, 40mg twice a day and as soon as I made a smoothie using the coconut beverage I had to take a nexium and the reflux misery still hasn’t passed. I did add protein powder to the milk and strawberries and a scoop of a calcium supplement – any thoughts as to why it triggered the reflux or am I just one of the people who should avoid coconut? If so what can I use as a base for my smoothies given that I can’t have many carbs or sugars? I really could use some good advice please. Maggie

    • All of those processed foods you’re ingesting probably caused the reflux. Try to stick to things not in a box, bag, carton or can. Meat, veg, fruit. I’ll bet your reflux is gone overnight. Mine was.

  298. I swear. Coconuts are a functional food. Eat them FRESH. 30% of the world uses coconut in their daily diet and they are NOT fat. Sigh. Everyone has all of these food intolerences because they only eat crap store bought processed foods and a fresh coconut cleans them out by giving them the shits. Fresh coconuts are NOT bad for anyone!

    • I beg to differ~I dont eat processed foods, because I AM ALLERIC to them. If I am allergic to other nuts why NOT coconuts. *sigh* You fail.

      • A person allergic to peanuts will likely not be allergic to coconut. Look into it possibly to see why people really are allergic to nuts sometime. If we went with your silly logic, someone allergic to apples would be allergic to all fruits. SIGH. ya big dummy.

    • Coconuts ARE bad for someone if they have a Delayed IgG or Acute allergy IgA to them, especially if they are leaky gut. That needs to be healed first before adding any food intolerances back in the diet. Plus, some people cannot eliminate sulfur from the diet if they have MTHFR gene defects. Coconuts are high in sulfur.

  299. I’ve been buying Aroy-D coconut milk in a green carton. 2 ingredients … coconut extract & water.
    I drink a fair amount of it in a day including it in many dishes and also in my coffee.
    I think I’m probably overdoing it. I also use coconut oil in my cooking and have just ordered coconut manna.
    I may look like a coconut in the near future. 🙂

  300. You say at the end of this article “People with digestive problems (IBS, IBD, GERD, etc. may want to avoid coconut products entirely, except for coconut oil”
    Does the “etc” include people with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance? As you may know, alot of people on Paleo do so because of food allergies ( I am allergic to dairy, grains, peanuts and of course gluten) but not tree nuts. I am assuming that a coconut is a tree nut. Lately I have been getting alot of uncharacteristic breakout type activity and I am wondering if I can’t process the protein in coconut (hence is true regarding legumes and casein for me and many others with Celiac) or if I am indulging too much and the fat content is messing up homeostasis or…what? Can you help?

    • Here is an academic paper from a FODMAPS expert in Australia indicating that coconut milk is in fact HIGH in fructose, so perhaps there is an issue with the data from other sources. It may explain why some people are sensitive to coconut milk who also have issues with other fructose sources.


      Reliable data about the chemical content (natural or otherwise) seems to be a big issue for those attempting to identify problem sources in their food. Oxalate content is another area where there are major discrepancies between sources.

      thanks for a wonderful blog Chris!

  301. Hi Chris, I am new to your site and would like to know how I can read, “When your normal blood sugar isn’t normal” PART 2 Thanks a bunch, Talayna

  302. To Thinkingmom,

    That is pretty much my diet right now, meats, eggs and greens. I do have autoimmune and gut issues and if I stray very far from that limited diet, I can feel it right away. But I feel so much better, sleep better, more energy, clear headed without the nuts, coconut milk, chocolate, etc., so I choose feeling better and healing my gut. I just went slowly with an elimination diet to find out what was causing me problems, ended up on a FODMAPS/paleo/yeast-free diet. I know it seems overwhelming at first, but keep at it because it is so worth it.

    Chris, I love your blog, thanks for all you do!

  303. OK – so I am at a loss. O after reading this and the article on nuts, I am feeling incredibly frustrated about what I CAN and SHOULD eat – no flour or sugar, no nut flours, no nuts (without going through a 2 day process), no coconut milk, no coconut flour, etc. My goodness, is it just meat and greens and eggs – or are we going to find something wrong with those too? (To much oxalic acid in spinach maybe!) Maybe I am just overwhelmed but what seems to be on one place to be “THINGS TO EAT” is on someone else’s “FOOD TO AVOID” list. Maybe you could put together a list of acceptable foods, it should take too long as I don’t think it will be a very long list. Sorry if this sounds rude – not trying to be – just feeling really discouraged…

    • I understand your frustration, but as I said in the article phytic acid doesn’t need to be eliminated completely. Most people will be fine eating a large handful of nuts every day – provided they’ve been properly prepared. Putting nuts in water, and then dehydrating them requires minimal effort, although it does take some time. I understand that spending time on food preparation isn’t popular these days, but if you’re interested in health and wellness that’s what’s required.

      I’ve never made any absolute statements like the ones you’re making “no coconut milk, no coconut flour, etc.”. I’ve simply pointed out that some people have trouble with canned coconut milk, and that many varieties of canned coconut milk have BPA – a known neurotoxin. I think you are overwhelmed, and that’s understandable – but there’s no reason to freak out. There’s still plenty to eat. My diet is extremely rich and varied.

      I think I’ll take you up on your suggestion to provide a foods to eat and avoid list. Stay tuned.

      • Hi Chris, I’d really appreciate that list of ‘foods to eat’ and ‘foods to avoid’ too. I’m afraid I’m in much the same boat as Thinkingmom. A single page image you can print out and stick on your fridge or something would be awesome. I know you did something similar in the ‘9 steps to perfect health’ articles, but a little more detail on the food side would really be appreciated.

        Cheers for your blog.

        • I appreciate this article Chris and also feel the frustration of thinking mom. I have psoriasis and because of that am supposed to avoid nightshades, eggs and dairy. Additionally I find the case for eating in a primal way compelling (as a self diagnosed carb addict and general overeater) so am trying to transition to that as well. I think myself and others cling to foods like coconut milk with all our might because we already feel as though we’ve given up so much. Of course you are just a messenger and it’s likely that many of us end up overdoing it on coconut or nuts, etc. because we have an underlying need to consume a lot in general. Anyway, I’m glad that you dont just tell people what they want to hear and emphasize that everyone has to be their own experimental subject.

  304. With all due respect, I would add a FOURTH reason that coconut milk, and especially coconut oil might not be good at all for some people…

    The high salicylate/phenol content. In those with anxiety issues, many of which can be a direct result of salicylates and/or phenols (as in many autism spectrum disorders), if one eats too many, or in some cases even low amounts of salicylate containing foods, they might experience a severe anxiety or agitation problems, along with other neurological issues.

    • Thank you Kelly, coconut is high in sulfur too.some people are sensitive to sulfur and cannot eliminate sulfur from their body as quickly, especially people with MTHFR gene defect

  305. Hi again,

    Another product I have been purchasing is Coconut Dream which contains Gellan Gum. Is this another thickener like Guar Gum?

    I have experienced bloating after consuming this and had wondered what was the cause. This product has other additives.

    I appreciate your feedback!

  306. Hi. After reading your article, I thought to email the manufacturer of the coconut water that I buy to find out about BPA content. Here is the question and response given to me. I wrote to them again to ask what exactly did they mean about ‘detectable amounts’ as it was unclear to me if the cans are lined with BPA still despite her response. What do you think? I’m not sure~

    Product: All Natural Coconut Juice, natural isotonic beverage unsweetened 100% Juice no preservatives
    Brand/Manufacturer: amy&brian amyandbriannaturals.com
    Ingredients: young coconut juice
    a product of Thailand

    Q: I love your coconut drinks, I would like to know however if the can containing the juice is lined with Bisphenol-A (BPA). Please advise.

    A: We have chosen a liner that contains no detectable amounts of BPA in either the liquid or final form.

    Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

    Rebecca Matthiesen
    Market Connections Group
    Fax 360-828-7851

    • Here is the second reply from the manufacturer’s rep:

      Because our supplier does not claim that the liner is BPA free we cannot use that claim either. All we can state is what we know – that we have done multiple tests on both the liquid and dried forms without detecting ANY amount of BPA in either form. We began doing these test nearly 10 years ago, before most people knew what BPA was, so that we could offer the purest product possible. I hope this helps.

      Rebecca Matthiesen
      Market Connections Group
      Fax 360-828-7851

  307. Coconut contains lauric acid: an atypical antibiotic. There have been studies using coconut oil for atopic dermatitis and skin infections caused by MRSA. It works. Possibly consumption of coconut products may help with various gastric issues as well. The fatty acid chain is 8 to 14 carbon atoms long. It is short enough to permeate the outer wall of bacteria. The reason for using the term ‘atypical’ is because traditional antibiotics are only effective when bacteria are active metabolically. Bacteria routinely go through periods of quiescence or ‘hibernation’. The lauric acid fatty acids in coconut oil penetrate the cell walls regardless of whether the bacteria is active or ‘hibernating’.

    As a side note: I found the title of the article to be somewhat misleading. I read it in its entirety.

  308. Woa this is crazy because for awhile I tried have coconut milk ice-creams, hemp ice-creams to try replacing dairy and both my husband and I really didn’t feel well after eating them- headaches and stomach hurt- I didn’t know why at the time but I bet it was the gums they add!

  309. I found frozen coconut milk at the asian market and the only ingredient is coconut milk- no gums- it’s frozen in flat plastic bags- seems like a great alternative to the cans with bpa. Check the frozen section at some of the ethnic markets- especially asian markets. I’m in the east bay area as well.

  310. Hi Chris,

    My coconut oil is made by centrifuging coconut milk. Is that ok? Or should I be looking for a different type of coconut oil?

    Thank you!


  311. Chris, In the Recommendations section you say “avoid canned coconut milk products except for those that are BPA-free, like Native Forest and Arroy-D”

    Is Native Forest BPA-free? I can’t find anything on their website that says so … I emailed them (no response) and Natural Value. Gary Cohen, President of Natural Value, replied: “Yes, our coconut milk cans contain BPA….and contrary to what you may have read on the Internet, NOBODY is packing coconut milk in BPA free cans yet….we are working on that….”

    • Hey Mike! I have been in contact with Native Forest and Gary Cohen. Native Forest sent me a long email confirming that their cans are indeed BPA free. Gary told me the same thing he told you and did seem a bit angry when I told him what NF said. He didn’t believe me and wanted me to send him the email from NF. I would hope that NF is telling the truth. 🙂

  312. I have had stomach problems with coconut milk in the past. I believe it was when I combined whey protein powder with coconut milk. I now don’t consume much coconut milk or whey protein powder. I think it might be the guar gum for me.

    I LOVE shredded coconut, coconut flakes, coconut butter and of course coconut oil. I still do coconut milk on occasion.

  313. Thanks Chris for this article. I’ve noticed that each time I eat something with coconut milk (at least canned),I don’t feel good and have digestive issues. It’s helpful to read I’m not the only one and to understand a bit more about potential causes. It’s too bad as I love adding coconut milk in recipes, but I think it doesn’t do well with me (at least the canned one).

  314. @Sue – Too funny. My thoughts exactly! I had the exact same line of thought. So when I shopped at WF Monday and she handed me the receipt, I managed to hold the blank side against my fingers and folded it in half and stuffed it in my purse! Of course, come bill time the next day, I forgot and handled it and all the others due for entry!

  315. How do you not touch the receipt – How about wearing gloves?? Imagine the looks I would get wearing gloves! I always touch and look at receipt as the supermarket usually makes some error with price.

    Is Xanthan gum okay – any issues with it?

  316. I love the website and am very grateful for all the information you provide, but I, too, was surprised by the misleading tone of the article. While the title does not explicitly say that coconut milk is bad, it is a sensationalized alert that calls into question the safety of consuming coconut milk. While the last two points in the article are valid, the first actually has nothing to do with coconut milk not being your friend and everything to do with cans and BPA not being your friends. It is a logical fallacy I was surprised to find on a site that I usually feel is cogent and balanced.

    I purchase coconut milk in a carton and was dismayed when I began the article, only to find out it was about CANS and NOT about milk. As for the latter points, I understand that there are individuals who are negatively effected by coconut milk, and this might have been a very helpful article for them, but perhaps it would have been more straightforward to gear the article toward said people (e.g. Does Coconut Milk Disagree with You? Here’s Why. or something like that), and then title the sections clearly: one for those who don’t do well with guar gum (again, simply listing guar gum is a misappropriation of blame, since you cited that there shouldn’t be a problem with guar gum if one can tolerate it), and the other for those who have problems with fructose absorption.

    I can drink coconut milk without any negative effects, so the misleading tone of the article and the lack of appropriate organization made me feel like I had been tricked into spending time reading an article that was not relevant or particularly helpful for me. It also made me question how balanced information on the site actually is. I only write this because I genuinely do appreciate the information you provide and respect the way you handle issues, and because of that, I hold the site to high standards. Thank you for your hard work!

    • ADDITIVES in the coconut milk CANS and CARTONS also cause problems. GUAR GUM and CARAGEENAN….. LOOK THEM UP BY Ray Peat, Ph.D or better yet, read this:

      “In the 1940s, carrageenan, a polysaccharide made from a type of seaweed, was recognized as a dangerous allergen. Since then it has become a standard laboratory material to use to produce in-flammatory tumors (granulomas), immunodeficiency, arthritis, and other in-flammations. It has also become an increasingly common material in the food industry. Articles are often written to praise its usefulness and to claim that it doesn’t produce cancer in healthy animals. Its presence in food, like that of the polyester imitation fat, microcrystalline cellulose, and many other polymers used to stabilize emulsions or to increase smoothness, is often justified by the doctrine that these molecules are too large to be absorbed. There are two points that are deliberately ignored by the food-safety regulators, 1) these materials can interact dangerously with intestinal bacteria, and 2) they can be absorbed, in the process called “persorption.” — Ray Peat, Ph.D

  317. I use the unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk in a carton
    ingredients: organic coconut milk (water, organic coconut cream(, carrageenan, guar gum
    all ingredients non gmo and no sulfites

  318. This article caught my eye, because after changing to a paleo/primal/perfect health diet about 2 months ago, I have noticed improvements in ALL aspects of my health (including cutting thyroid hormones for my Hashimoto’s in half). However, the one negative experience I’ve had is with acne, cystic painful lesions below the corners of my mouth. In the last couple of months I removed more items from my diet than I added, but I pinpointed 2 items that I have been consuming in moderate to significant amounts: coconut milk and sweet potatoes. I know that the right way to test sensitivity to these would have been to eliminate one at a time, but I was anxious to rid myself of the acne, so eliminated both coconut and sweet potatoes, with great improvement so far.

    Has anyone else had skin reactions to coconut? Or sweet potatoes?

    • @Stefanie – Ha! Yes, I too broke out on my chin and to both sides of my mouth with the coconut milk! It’s unbelievable that it affected us the same way. I couldn’t figure out why everyone kept saying their complexion improved on Paleo and mine had gone from glorious to pebbly! Once I stopped the coconut milk, at Dr. Kresser’s podcast mention of guar gum and bloating, the eruptions went away. Sweet potatoes have not affected me this way. I wonder if it’s the guar gum? I’ve eaten “real” coconut all my life with no problems. Went raw foodie a few years ago and ate lots of it with never a problem. Hmmm. Very interesting.

      • Sandra, that is so interesting! Gives me hope that I can have my sweet potatoes back! : ) I’m going to give it a few weeks before trying. I’ve never noticed trouble with coconut before either, but then I’ve never consumed it on a daily basis before. I’ll have to try coconut without the guar gum and see what happens there.

        • i’ve had that reaction with the painful acne/lesions on the corners of my mouth and both sides of my nose. i narrowed it down to starbucks. cannot drink it or even let my husband grind beans in our coffeemaker. i called them to ask if they put roasted chicory on their beans and they said no. i was suspecting roasted chicory as it is in many celestial seasonings teas and i’ve read that it can cause an allergic skin reaction: http://www.livestrong.com/article/457640-chicory-root-side-effects/ however, very interesting about the guar gum. i will have to do a trial and see if i react to that.

    • I had this same reaction to a pretty severe degree! The skin on my lips was crocodile-like and the corners of my mouth were cracked and bleeding for months. It was miserable! Im not sure it was thr guar gum, though – I wondered about other preservative/stabilizer-type elements that might have caused it.

    • Did you find it was canned coconut milk? I’ve been trying to figure out what has been going on with my skin for the past month and one thing I’ve been doing is drinking tea with canned coconut milk because I was told I’m allergic to dairy. My skin has never been this bad. I was just having a cup of tea now and thinking about the coconut milk and guar gum and started googling and it sounds like it might be the culprit.

  319. I believe that Trader Joe’s canned goods are BPA free with the exception of their tomato products. They sell canned coconut milk but only the light one. However, the ingredients read only coconut milk.

  320. I live in Thailand and use the aroy-D brand when I can’t get the fresh stuff. I trust the labeling to be correct that there are no preservatives but what you can’t see in the picture is that the box says that the coconut milk undergoes a UHT to increase the shelf life. What effect do you think UHT has on the coconut milk?

    • I rather late to this party, but I found this about uht: “Kevin – I researched the UHT process and found it involves heating the milk to 284 degrees for 10 seconds.” http://www.robbwolf.com/2011/08/24/coco-what/

      Perhaps Chris can give us his opionion of what the impact that would have on the sat fat in the coconut milk?

      I have been consuming canned coconut milk this past week in a big pot of soup I made. Perhaps this is what is causing me some bowel issues this week??

      I pretty convinced to start making it myself.

  321. I have a history of IBS and GERD, both currently non-symptomatic, and I can’t tolerate any of the brands of commercial canned coconut milk I have tried. They trigger reflux symptoms for me.

    I have never made my own coconut milk (i.e., from dried coconut) but I am lucky to live in Hawaii where fresh coconuts are available year-round. I often make my own coconut cream, which is a thick puree of soft, fresh coconut meat, coconut water (the clear liquid inside the cavity of the coconut), and nothing else. This takes the place of canned coconut milk in most recipes, and has many unique uses of its own. Its texture and fat content depends on the maturity of the coconuts used, since younger coconuts yield a soft, fruity meat with little fat, and more mature coconuts yield a nutty meat with fat aplenty. There there are an infinitude of stages twixt fruit and nut. It’s wonderful to be able to enjoy all those different stages of the coco in different ways.

    Anyway, I have never had any problem with any preparation of fresh coconut. Canned coconut milk is made from dried, mature coconut. To me, it a processed, dead food, not a fresh, live one–but that is merely my own subjective appraisal, not a scientific analysis. Thanks, Chris, for this article–it adds to my understanding of the issue.

  322. For those wanting to purchase Native Forest coconut milk at a better price than amazon, Azure Standard (a distribution company out of Oregon) sells it. You’ll need to get an account, find an open drop site, etc. but might be worth your while for this and other items as well. The case price (12 – 13.5 oz cans) from Azure is $24.10.

    • Actually, as of 7/12 the price is $24.84 for 12 of the 13.5 oz cans…and that drops to $21.11 if you choose “Subscribe & Save”.

  323. For those following a GAPS diet to treat gut dysbiosis, do you recommend avoiding shreded coconut? Coconut manna/cream?

  324. Thanks for the article. Do you have an opinion on “powdered” coconut milk / cream. I buy the “Chao Thai” brand and use it in my coffee and shakes. It come in a foil “wrapper”. I like using the powder much more than canned milk since the canned only lasts a couple days. Plus, the box of powder I buy runs around $3 and makes like 40 servings.

  325. Thanks for the insight, I’ve always love coconut milk. Am Asian and coconut is a must in our cooking but all canned ones including Arroy-D does not test like coconut, fortunately, I live in a town with lots of Asian grocery stores. I now buy shredded frozen coconut ( I used to buy the whole coconut, break it, and used a hand held grater but my hands get too tired) put in the blender with hot water then use cheese cloth to squeeze out the milk part.

  326. For someone dealing with a serious case of diverticulitis (where they soon might have to undergo surgery to remove part of their colon), would a FODMAP or GAPS protocol help? I’m sure Paleo would help on itself, but it seems like the person I’m referring will most likely need to consider other things. What about an autoimmune protocol? I’ve been following your blog and podcast for some time, but have yet to hear you touch on diverticulitis (I apologize if I missed it).


    Henry D

    • I realize this response may be late for you, Henry, but hopefully it will be helpful for you or other readers.

      I also experienced severe diverticulitis (as result of a parasite infestation). I was able to re-balance my intestinal ecology and heal my intestinal lining by following the Guts and Glory program by Jordan Rubin and Joseph Brasco, MD (Restoring your Digestive Health). The first phase calms the overgrowth of pathogens while also allowing your gut to rest and heal. Then, healing continues as you rebuild the tissues and introduce healthy bacteria. Onions are the only FODMAP restriction included in Phase 1, and Phase 2 does include 30-hour home-cultured goat milk (OR probiotics, for those sensitive to all dairy).

      My understanding is that the fructose issue is separate from the diverticulitis but, as Chris mentions, the weakness of your intestines may exacerbate the fructose problem, if present. Here’s where you’ll have to know yourself and adjust the diet (or GAPS) to your own needs until healing has taken place.

      The combination of the Guts and Glory or GAPS plus the FODMAP diet would be considered a customized autoimmune protocol, as it would address your own particular causes for inflammation – poor gut integrity and gut ecology. Both the Guts and Glory and GAPS also emphasize low-carb (verses the SCD, which only emphasizes the type of carbs), to further reduce inflammation. Adding a high-quality Omega 3 supplement (and reducing Omega 6s), getting good sleep, and lowering stress also will help.

      The diets discussed already restrict most common allergens, but if you have any known personal allergens (food-related or otherwise), it would be wise to avoid these, too. Once healing has taken place (several months later), you could re-introduce certain items, one at a time, to discover whether an allergic response was related to your previous condition or whether it is something more permanent.

      IBD (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis), of course, is an inflammatory/autoimmune disorder of the gut. Surprisingly, the Guts and Glory protocol still recommends certain probiotics as part of the recovery phase for IBD. Diverticulitis and fructose malabsorbtion in themselves are not auto-immune, so either way, probiotics should be beneficial, at least during gut restoration, in helping to heal the underlying problems contributing to systemic inflammation.

  327. The FODMAP diet is really very interesting. Chris, does this modify anything about your enthusiasm for the GAPS/SCD diets? These diets are all about reducing the amount of di- and polysaccharides, and thus they allow fruit, honey, etc. But according to the FODMAP diet, wouldn’t these things be off limits due to their fructose and honey content? Would the GAPS diet be more effective if it removed fruit and honey altogether and even limited certain vegetables like brussel sprouts and onions? I know some people on the GAPS diet who eat a lot of apples. This seems like it might not be such a good idea after all.

    • No. They’re different approaches. They could be combined, of course, and some find it necessary to do that. What I’ve found with FODMAP is that usually people are sensitive to some but not all of them. For example, some might be sensitive to onions (fructans) but not dairy (lactose), or vice versa.

  328. I dig the info, but a lot of it feels recycled from Wikipedia. Not to mention it’s more qualitative than quantitative (i.e. ‘BPA is bad, avoid it’ – well, how much are we exposed to, how much of that is absorbed and at what levels is it harmful?).

    I hope this doesn’t scare people into avoiding canned coconut milk, when in reality they more significant issue is previously mentioned and well known food toxins. However, thanks for the help and I do feel this may help a small few who may be having trouble with coconut products.

  329. Two things stand out- One, I really believe the article title should have had the word “Canned”, since
    much of the focus is on damage from can linings. Of course in general for all canned foods it is important to remind consumers there are dangers- given the make-up of the can.

    Second- we would be better off thinking about gut health in terms of balancing for healthy friendly bacteria in general. Of course I am aware that too much sugar/fructose could throw this balance off, but as a long term practitioner and teacher, I believe the focus should be on what “to do”, not solely on what “not to do”- in short, I do not think avoiding healthy brands of coconut milk, in judicious amounts within the diet, per-se is the solution, but rather rejuvenating the digestive system. And surely there will always be people who feel better avoiding one or another food- those who are paying attention, that is.

  330. Arroy-D coconut milk claims to be 100% coconut milk. On the box is written in large yellow script “กะทิ 100%”. กะทิ is the Thai word for coconut milk.

  331. Chris, always wanted to ask this. Can guar gum(or the fructans, or BPA) be altered/reduced/destroyed by fermentation? I always ferment my coconut milk(some along with chocolate too, it’s divine!) to get rid of the phytates. Thanks for all the great info.

    • I would assume that fermentation may affect the fructans and guar gum (perhaps they are metabolized at least in part by the bacteria, since that is what happens in the gut), but I don’t think fermentation would affect the BPA. But I don’t have any data on this.

      • Thanks for the reply, Chris.

        Yes, you either ferment by leaving it covered with a cloth for about 5 days(adding sugar/dextrose or honey for the bacteria to thrive on) or use a culture starter, like Body Ecology. I prefer their regular starter over the Kefir one because it has the L. Plantarum, which eats up the phytate and is dairy free: “may contain trace amounts”. But once you have made it once it’s easy to save a small part to add to the next batch and so on.

        • I use live kefir grains which you have to get from someone who has live grains, and I keep a small batch of milk kefer going for hubby who does well on it. That also keeps me in multiplying kefir grains. Then, for the the last two years I’ve used his leftover grains, rinsed well, to make non-diary kefir for me. I’ve tried several recipes, but my fall back is to dissolve refined sugar in water and then keep in it a jar in the frig to use as my kefir sugar liquid. I do set in on the shelf when I pour some over the kefir grains to ferment. I use sugar water because it’s lower in fructose than some other methods that I’ve tried and it is inexpensive. The bacteria eat up all the sugar, so I don’t think it matters that it’s refined. I spend my dollars on high quality meat, fermented cod liver oil and chlorella, so this is one area I try to save money. 🙂

          I rarely use coconut milk and have not noticed it bothering me as long as I make it fresh (from frozen coconut). If that ever bothers me, I’ll try the ferment if I need it for a recipe. Thanks! 🙂

          • By the way, if anyone tries the sugar water kefir, it doesn’t ferment well even if you make it very sugary unless you throw in a few raisins. I’m not sure why, but that does the trick. I guess that adds more fructose, but I think theoretically, if you ferment it long enough the sugars are eaten up by the bacteria anyway. I dissolve 2/3 cup sugar in 7 cups of water. I only make a small amount of kefir everyday, so I probably use 2/3 cup of sugar water and five raisins.

  332. Emilee….your comments are coming across as arrogant. There was no wrong information presented here.

    My daughter has Fructose Malabsorption. She cannot tolerate coconut milk at all. She cannot tolerate strawberries either. Some things cause instant symptoms with her and sometimes it takes a couple hours. The limit of fructose for most people is 25g-50g per sitting. My daughter reacts to one strawberry which contains about 239 mg of fructose. Coconut milk contains approximately 6 grams of carbohydrate per cup. There is more fructose than glucose for carbohydrate in these 6 grams of carbs. Therefore in the fructose sensitive individual…this equates to gas, bloating, diarrhea and Steatorrhea.

    • Sure does. A lot of gluten-free packaged products are full of junk. That’s why I’m always telling people to “eat real food”.

  333. In response to Emilee’s comment above. That is exactly why Chris removed reader comments……
    Thanks again for the great article!

  334. Going paleo almost 2 years ago fixed 90% of the relatively mild but unpleasant chronic GI issues I’ve had my entire life, especially when I was vegetarian. However, I was still baffled by occasional flareups. My recent discovery of the FODMAP concept has been helping me nail down the remaining 10%. I had already figured out I had issues with soy, legumes, wheat, xylitol, and inulin, but FODMAP helped tie everything together. Sure enough, coconut milk and especially coconut water are problematic for me. Coconut ice cream (sweetened with high-fructose agave, no less) is one of the worst things I have ever found for my digestion, with the exception of textured soy protein. I’ll never make that mistake again! Sadly, I love all things coconut. 🙁

    • Wings: you’re exactly right. I was going to include that, but the article was getting long as it is. Others may want to note that carageenan is also in all of the fake milks like almond, rice & soy.

      • Are we to assume that Arroy-D 100% coconut milk also contains carageenan although there is nothing on the label?

        • I think I can answer my own question:

          I just spoke to a person at Thai Agri Foods who assured me that Arroy-D 100% coconut milk is, in fact, 100% coconut milk. She denied that the product contains carageenan or any other additive.

  335. I bought the Aroy-D in cartons, and it’s wonderful. Truly the yummiest coconut milk I ever had. I don’t have it every day, but since I ditched milk, this makes great hot cocoa and cold beverages with that milky vibe.

    I used to be a canned foods junkie. No more. I’m ready to pass on most of my stuff to the food bank, cause we’re used to eating fresh now. Pretty much try to buy my oils and sauces in glass jars now, though I still have some “for emergency” canned stuff as I live in a hurricane zone.

    But definitely folks need to try the Aroy-D in the carton. No tinny taste, lovely coconut flavor….it’s all good.

  336. People with digestive problems (IBS, IBD, GERD, etc.): may want to avoid coconut products entirely, except for coconut oil

    Would coconut butter pose a problem for a Crohn’s sufferer?


      • I’m very grateful for your thoughts Chris. I’m very hesitant/cautious to try new things just in case it brings about a flair up, which leaves my diet pretty spartan but such caution has kept me healthy and flair up free for over 2 years and avoided the surgeon’s knife in the process! Once again, thank you for your time.

    • Well, that’s the weird part – I never had reflux or GERD symptoms before Paleo, only while having coconut milk.

  337. Thanks as always for the informative article. I’m new to eating a much more pure and healthy diet. Unlike one of the posters here, I don’t see this as an article against coconut milk. I see it as information on why (as I’ve always believed) everything that’s supposed to be good for you isn’t always – especially when the corporate food conglomerates get through with it. In this case, canned coconut milk is especially bad because of the BPA from the can, but there are things you should also consider if you have other health concerns. You continue to inform and provide options and I thank you for that.

  338. Awesome post as always. Thanks Chris. To those people who feel the need to complain – these articles are available to everyone for FREE. You have your own brain to decide for yourself if you agree with it or not. I think it’s terrible when people who spend time and effort writing articles or posting things on youtube, get people being rude. Please think about a more constructive use of your time!

    • I think it’s ok if one doesn’t agree or is skeptical, but, maybe asking an intelligent question or stating one’s position is ok, but to critique or belittle the blogger’s position is arrogant and rude in my opinion. I disagree with many doctors and bloggers but I just do not go to their blog, especially if I strongly oppose their position or their style. Why spoil for others who enjoy that particular blog? idk…jmo

    • I have found two “pure” varities of coconut milk.

      1. Aroy – D (cardboard box, greenish, coconut picture on the front)
      2. Go-Tan (cardboard box, purple, coconut picture on the front)

      I can provide pics if needed.