Is Coconut Yogurt Healthy? [Pros & Cons]
Remember when coconut yogurt was the latest product craze?
So many health gurus jumped on board claiming it could be the next superfood, however, there was a pretty big downside when this trendy food first came to the market: it didn’t contain calcium or probiotics.
So, let’s take a closer look at coconut yogurt today… is it really better for you than traditional dairy yogurt?
// The good //
- Whilst there is no naturally occurring live cultures in coconut yogurt, most manufacturers have developed their formula over the years and started adding probiotics. Those gut bugs are great for your gut health, which can impact many things from how your gut feels, to bowel motions, energy levels and even your happiness.
- One of the greatest benefits of eating traditional dairy yogurt is that it is a source of calcium – which is such an important nutrient for maintaining bone health. Unfortunately, coconut yogurt doesn’t naturally have any calcium… but today you can find calcium-fortified options – hooray!
- Coconut yogurt is plant-based, which ticks the box for many people. If you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, then coconut yogurt can be a great alternative to dairy options.
- The flavour is quite pleasant (though the texture is a little questionable) and it can generally be used in a recipe that calls for dairy yogurt! I personally prefer the taste of coconut yogurt to soy yogurt – but prefer the texture of soy varieties.
- When compared alongside cream, coconut better comes out on top so it could be a suitable cream substitute.
// Nutrition information //
To compare apples with apples, here is the nutrition information per 100g for a general leading natural greek yogurt (full cream) alongside the leading coconut yogurt brand, Coyo.
After looking at this nutrition comparison, you don’t need to be an accredited dietitian or nutritionist to work out what I am about to say next…
// The bad //
- Coconut yogurt contains quite a bit more energy (kJs/calories), less protein (almost 1/3 the amount in natural dairy yogurt) whilst also managing to give you around 3 x more total fat and 4 x more saturated fat than full-cream dairy yogurt – which isn’t amazing news.
- Coconut yogurts do have a lower carbohydrate and sugar content – which is why I think people may have started to think that it was a healthier alternative! But truly…? Carbohydrates are not the devil. Some carbohydrates are really good for us – like whole grains, legumes, fruit and veg and the carbs found in dairy products. Also, the sugar found in natural, greek dairy yogurt is naturally occurring lactose – not added sugars. There is a bit of a difference.
- Generally, trendy ‘health’ foods tend to come with a price tag and coconut yogurt is no exception. Expect to pay almost double than for traditional dairy varieties.
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// The verdict //
- So, is coconut yogurt good for you? It has come a long way but it’s not the next superfood and in my books normal yogurt is still the healthier option. If you’re able to eat (and enjoy) dairy yogurt, don’t make the swap because you think it’s healthier.
- Coconut yogurt can be a healthy alternative to dairy yogurt if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant.
- What’s the best coconut yogurt? Always look for a calcium-fortified yogurt with added probiotics. Choose the plain version as this will contain less sugar. If you’re after some sweetness, you can add your own fruit like berries, passionfruit or pomegranate. Yum! And be mindful of the serving size as many packages contain 2 x servings per pack, making it easier to eat beyond satiety.
- If you’re looking for a cream substitutes in recipes, then go (coco)nuts with coconut yogurt. And by that, I mean – eat it in moderation. 😉
- Personally, I still choose to eat dairy yoghurt because I love the taste and the nutrition credentials. Choose foods that make your body feel good and that react well with you.
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