The Coconut Craze

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Source: Meghan Telpner

Everything seems to be coming up coconuts these days, from grooming products to dishes that grace the family dinner table. Coconut water and milk are popular beverages of choice for both straight consumption, use in cooking, and adding a tropical twist to craft cocktails. There’s just one caveat, though — this trendy new food in the growing list of superfoods is unhealthy. Hyped by coffee giant Starbucks with Costco and WalMart following suit, a growing number of consumers are beginning to see coconut milk as a nutritious and delicious healthy alternative to traditional dairy and soy, and vegans are embracing the trend wholeheartedly. However, coconut milk is a calorie dense product high in saturated fat and sugar and is almost bereft of any nutritional value whatsoever.

A Starbucks latte crafted with coconut milk contains 10 grams of heart-damaging saturated fat, while the same beverage made with skimmed milk has none. By the same token, a skimmed milk latte contains about 16 grams of protein, while its coconut milk counterpart has only two. Consumers also pay an average of 60 cents per item more for the privilege of drinking beverages containing this fat-and-sugar laden unhealthy product.

However, coffee drinks and other items made with coconut much are substantially sweeter and richer than those made with soy or dairy. The taste and texture alone is causing some consumers to throw dietary caution to the wind and order it anyway, full knowing they’ll pack on pounds and expose their cardio vascular system to unhealthy saturated fats and sugars as a result.

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