Written by Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA on march 26, 2020 — median reviewed through Natalie Olsen, R.D., L.D., ACSM EP-C

Coconut palm (Cocos nucifera L.

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) is a common tree found in the tropics that yields numerous food and beverage products, including coconut water, oil, milk, and cream.

However, you may wonder what to adjust apart coconut’s key beverages.

This post explains the differences between coconut water and coconut milk, together with the pros and cons of drink either.

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The coconut fruit is composed of 38% shell, 10% water, and 52% coconut meat — likewise called coconut meat (1).

Both coconut water and also coconut milk come native the edible part of the fruit, called the endosperm tissue (2).

However, castle two very different coconut byproducts.

Coconut water

Coconut water is a sweet, translucent liquid that you may drink right from young environment-friendly coconuts.

It comes normally within the fruit and is described as the liquid endosperm (2).

Once young coconuts begin to mature, coconut water starts come harden to form coconut meat — recognized as the solid endosperm (2).

However, the maturation process doesn’t to fill the whole coconut cavity v the meat, for this reason you might still find some coconut water in tires coconuts.

Coconut water is a update beverage renowned for the health-promoting effects.

Coconut milk

Unlike the water, coconut milk is a processed coconut byproduct.

It’s do by grating the flesh of mature, brown coconuts and also simmering the in hot water. The mixture is climate strained to remove any kind of solid remnants.

The quantity of water offered to do the milk identify its consistency, which may be either thick or thin (2).

Thin coconut milk is greatly used together a cow’s milk substitute. In contrast, thick coconut milk is usually provided as a thickening agent for sauces or classic recipes in countless Indian and Southeast eastern dishes.


Coconut water and milk are two various coconut beverages. The water is discovered naturally in ~ the fruit. In contrast, the milk is a processed byproduct made out of coconut meat.

As you can see, there are far-reaching differences in between them, starting with your calorie content.

Coconut water is a low calorie drink, if coconut milk is a high calorie one — with about a 12 fold higher number.

As for their composition, the no surprised that coconut water has mainly water — around 94% — and carbs while having virtually no fat and proteins.

On the contrary, coconut milk has actually a reduced amount that water — around 50% — through fat being its primary nutrient (2).

However, castle share part similarities when it comes to vitamins and minerals, although coconut milk has a greater folate and manganese content, vice versa, coconut water is higher in sodium.


Coconut water and coconut milk have very different nutritional profiles. Coconut water provides mostly carbs and also water, while coconut milk provides primarily fat. Still, both are terrific sources of vitamins and minerals.

Coconut water and milk have multiple health benefits come offer. However, you may prefer one end the other depending on your nutritional goals and needs.


Coconut water has become quite popular amongst physically energetic people due to its capacity to replenish electrolytes, such together sodium, potassium, magnesium, and also calcium, shed through sweat throughout exercise (2, 5).

Also, study in rats v diabetes argues that coconut water may aid lower oxidative stress, blood street levels, and also A1c hemoglobin, an indicator of your blood sugar end the last 3 month (6, 7, 8).

Further study in rats shows that coconut water might support heart health by lowering blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and also LDL (bad) cholesterol while enhancing HDL (good) cholesterol level (9, 10).

Still, study in humans is necessary to check these claims.

As because that coconut milk, while about 89% that its fat content comes from saturated fats, studies present that that doesn’t cause a detrimental result on blood lipid file (4, 11).

This is because of its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content, which may even aid weight and also fat ns (12, 13).


Coconut water’s potassium level may aid lower blood press in people with high blood pressure. However, those through kidney disorders may want to limit your intake (14, 15).

An impaired renal duty often leads to hyperkalemia — elevated blood potassium level — as result of the kidney’s inability to excrete potassium. Therefore, spend too lot of this mineral may have harmful impacts (16, 17).

On the other hand, if coconut milk’s MCT contents may have a positive impact on load loss, it’s quiet a high calorie beverage. Therefore, shot to limit your intake to save your “calories in matches calories out” equation managed.

Additionally, some experts suggest that due to the fact that coconut milk is a high FODMAP drink, you must limit its entry if you have actually a FODMAP intolerance or are adhering to a low FODMAP diet (18, 19).

However, others classify it as a short FODMAP food. Therefore, you might want to assess your own tolerance to it to determine whether you must limit its intake or avoid it completely (20).

FODMAP is an acronym for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and also polyols — a team of carbohydrate that might cause abdominal muscle symptoms, such together bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation, in some civilization (21).

Also, if coconut allergies are usually rare, coconuts room an emerging allergen in the unified States. Thus, you should avoid drinking coconut water and also milk if you’re allergy to coconuts (22, 23).

Lastly, even if it is you pick to drink packaged coconut water or coconut milk, always check the ingredient list and avoid those with included sugars.

Sugar-sweetened beverages have been linked to an increased risk of conditions like excessive weight and form 2 diabetes (24).


Both coconut water and also milk market plenty of wellness benefits. However, people with kidney disease should limit coconut water, while human being with FODMAP intolerance may want to limit coconut milk. Those v coconut allergies have to avoid both.

Coconut water and also milk are often confused because they’re both famous coconut beverages.

However, lock two distinct drinks, together coconut water occurs normally within the fruit, vice versa, coconut milk is a processed beverage. They also have different nutritional profiles and culinary uses.

Although castle both market multiple health benefits, people with kidney an illness may desire to stop drinking coconut water, while civilization with FODMAP intolerance need to limit coconut milk depending on their sensitivities.

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Whether you select coconut water or coconut milk, prevent brands with added sugars to reap their benefits.