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Starbucks Adds Coconut Milk to Its Menu, But Should You Order It?

Food

Starbucks rolls out a non-dairy, certified vegan alternative today by adding Starbucks Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk to its menu at all U.S. locations. "Providing a non-dairy alternative to dairy and soy is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, generating more than 84,000 votes,” according to Starbucks.

Starbucks Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk was added today to all Starbucks U.S. locations. Photo credit: Starbucks

While coconut milk is a popular dairy alternative for those who are vegan, lactose intolerant, paleo or allergic to other non-dairy milk alternatives like soy and almond, coconut has raised red flags for its incredibly high saturated fat content. However, recent studies show no correlation between saturated fat and heart disease, helping coconut gain mass-market appeal.

In fact, coconut oil (which makes up much of the fat content in coconut milk) offers a number of health benefits. It can protect against various infections, improve blood lipids by raising HDL (good) cholesterol, increase energy expenditure, improve satiety and help you lose weight, in addition to being a great hand and body cream.

So will you find the same benefits with a coconut milk latte from Starbucks? Due to the highly processed formulation of Starbucks coconut milk, the answer may be no.

Not to be confused with coconut water, coconut milk is a thick, creamy white liquid traditionally made by simply processing and straining grated coconut milk and water. (Find a recipe to make your own two-ingredient coconut milk at home here). Starbucks’ processed coconut milk, however, contains more than a dozen ingredients, including sugar, salt and thickeners. According to a product photo posted to Reddit, the full list of Starbucks coconut milk ingredients are:

filtered water, coconut cream, sugar, tricalcium phosphate, carageenan, gellan gum, sea salt, natural flavor, vitamin A, palmitate, vitamin D2, vitamin B12

Bottom line: More non-dairy milk alternatives are an excellent addition to the Starbucks menu, and pure coconut milk is a healthy option. Unfortunately, the highly processed blend at Starbucks may not be the best choice.

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