Coconuts are heralded as a “superfood” So coconut yoghurt must be better for you right?
Coconut yoghurt contains fewer carbs than dairy yoghurt as it is lactose free (the natural sugar in milk). It also contains saturated fat, specifically medium-chain triglycerides, which are easily absorbed by the liver and converted to ketones (an alternative energy source in the brain) and could be beneficial for dementia and related conditions. There is also evidence that coconut may help type-2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels and may assist weight loss. Critically though many of these benefits are associated with coconut oil or meat,not yoghurt.
It’s plant-based and suitable for those with dairy/lactose allergies or vegans (but not all coconut yoghurt are actually vegan, many also contain dairy milk or gelatin). Natural yoghurt is dairy based but contains live probiotics and is good for gut health. There are no naturally occurring probiotics in coconut yoghurt (though some brands do add them in). If you are aiming for weight/fat loss however then natural yoghurt has some benefits.
Coconut yoghurt contains significantly more calories than natural yoghurt and approx 5 times as much saturated fat. Whilst the fat in coconut yoghurt is the more beneficial medium-chain triglycerides thats still a large amount of fat and that has it’s own risks. There’s also significantly less protein in coconut yoghurt. Higher protein can help keep you fuller for longer – which from a weight loss perspective is helpful.
So if you were assuming coconut yoghurt is “healthier” and therefore better option for weight loss then think again. The “good” fats in coconut yoghurt don’t offset the extra calories I’m afraid. There are lower calorie coconut yoghurts out there so if you really love coconut yoghurt then check the labels (a lot is watered down reducing the calorie content). If you are unable to eat dairy then consider some of the lactose-free yoghurt which have comparable calories, or go for a soya based option.
As always – calories count guys so check those labels – and have what you want, within your calories. Knowledge is power!