Top 10 Side Effects Of Coconut Milk

Not to discourage vegans, but not all non-diary milks are 100% safe to be consumed regularly.

Medically Reviewed by Tracy Tredoux, DipION, mBANT, CNHC, AFMCP
By Tanya Choudhary, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition

Coconut milk is not only a healthy nutritious substitute for regular milk but is also very flavorful. However, overdoing it may lead to certain possible side effects. With its typically rich creamy taste, coconut milk can add that subtle tropical flavor to many soups, gravies, and cocktails as well! Popularly used in Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, and other Asian and tropical cuisines, coconut milk is gaining popularity worldwide as a perfect vegan alternative to animal milk! Suitable for the wholesome paleo diet as well, coconut milk is an organic nutritious drink free of any harmful additives and preservatives! Moreover, it is power-packed with vital vitamins and important minerals! So, what should be the concern then? Read on to find out!

Coconut Milk Side Effects

Let’s have a look at some of the side effects of coconut milk:

1. Abundant Saturated Fat

High cholestrol written on paper held by doctor


This is one of the most alarming coconut milk side effects. These fats may induce high cholesterol in your body. As such, it increases the level of lipoproteins that may be detrimental to health in the long term (1).

Stylecraze Trivia
Saturated fat content in coconut milk is around 92% out of which medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content is 62%-70%. MCT is a fat source for people who can’t tolerate other fats (1).

2. Can Cause Allergies

If you are allergic to tree nuts, this drink is certainly not meant for you. Coconut milk is recognized as a tree nut. And in some cases, it has been found that people allergic to tree nuts react badly to the fruit content in this milk. This is one of the most dangerous coconut milk effects as this can be life threatening in extreme cases (2).

Did You Know?
Studies found that allergic reaction to coconut is more common in people who use it topically than orally (6).

3. Can Cause Weight Gain

Woman squeezing waist line after weight gain caused by coconut milk


With its high saturated fats and caloric content, coconut milk can certainly ruin your weight loss regimen. But, there is conflicting evidence regarding this claim. According to an animal study, a high-protein diet, along with coconut milk, may help in reducing weight gain (3). However, excessive usage of coconut milk in your daily diet may lead to weight gain.

4. May Lead To High Cholesterol

Is coconut milk bad for cholesterol? Those at the risk of high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases should refrain from consuming too much coconut milk because of its saturated fat content (1). But you need not abandon it. Just limit your intake to smaller servings!

5. May Cause Constipation

Woman holding stomach tight feeling constipated due to coconut milk consumption


Due to high dietary fiber, coconut milk can cause digestive troubles in some people. Normally unsweetened coconut milk carries 14-18% of our daily dietary fiber intake. This sudden increment may cause diarrhea or gas, if your body is not accustomed to that much fiber. So, avoid increasing its intake instantly!

6. Loaded With Sugar

Even if you consume unsweetened coconut milk, you are at the risk of absorbing a high amount of sugar. While unsweetened coconut has 2.1 gm sugar in 1 ounce serving, it moves higher to 10.4 gm in sweetened coconut. In both the cases, it can make you obese with excessive intake. So, be alert!

7. High In Calories

Undiluted coconut milk in a glass jar


In one cup of undiluted coconut milk, you can find 552 calories (4). It is nearly one third of the calories you need per day. So, including coconut milk in your daily diet may have a negative effect on your health.

8. Threatening Bisphenol – A (BPA)

While coconut milk has no direct connection with this chemical, canned milk certainly has. This compound is usually used in manufacturing the tins and cans in which it is stored. So, avoid using canned coconut milk. You should also read the label to buy brands that offer BPA-free containers.

9. Contains Guar Gum

Man sitting and experiencing gut issue due to the consumption of guar gum present in coconut milk


Again, this is an issue related to canned coconut milk. As a polysaccharide, guar gum is the endosperm of guar beans. As such, it has been closely related to digestive problems in many people. If you also suffer from any gut issue, remove canned coconut milk from your diet. Rather use homemade or guar gum free coconut milk.

10. May Cause Fructose Malabsorption

Due to its mono-saccharides and polyols, coconut milk increases the risk of irritable bowel disorders. It has sugar content, which probably leads to this disorder. Resultant to this fact, bacteria growth is propelled in the small intestine due to uneven transport of fructose to it.

While coconut milk is a healthy, lactose-free, vegan alternative to whole cow milk, it does have some drawbacks. Overconsumption could lead to adverse health effects. The side effects of coconut milk include unwanted weight gain and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. Furthermore, it may increase the risk of digestive problems like IBD or constipation. Those hypersensitive to nuts may experience allergic reactions to coconut milk due to its relationship with tree nuts. Those with such sensitivities should avoid this drink. Limiting or avoiding its consumption can prevent these possible unwanted effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is coconut milk inflammatory?

No. Coconut milk contains anti-inflammatory compounds (5).

How much coconut milk should you drink per day?

It is safe to drink a glass of low-fat coconut milk daily.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Coconuts and Health: Different Chain Lengths of Saturated Fats Require Different Consideration
  2. Characterizing the Relationship Between Sesame, Coconut, and Nut Allergy in Children
  3. Effects of Consumption of Coconut and Cow’s Milk on the Metabolic Profile of Wistar Rats Fed a Hyperprotein Diet
  4. Nuts, coconut milk, raw (liquid expressed from grated meat and water) Nutrition Facts & Calories
  5. Effect of coconut water and milk on heat stress-induced gastrointestinal tract dysmotility in rats: Role of oxidative stress and inflammatory response
  6. Coconut allergy: Characteristics of reactions and diagnostic predictors in a pediatric tertiary care center,allergen%2FL%2C%20there%20is%20a%2095%25%20probability%20of%20reaction.
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Tanya is an ISSA certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition. She specializes in writing articles on ingredients that benefit skin,... more

Tracy Tredoux

Tracy is a fully qualified nutritional therapist who specializes in gut and immune health. She is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition... more