Can coconut milk cause diarrhea? (+7 health risks)

In this article, we will answer if coconut milk causes diarrhea, and what are the other side effects and health benefits of coconut milk.

Can coconut milk cause diarrhea?

Yes, drinking coconut milk can cause diarrhea in some people and constipation in others. Read on if you want to know why does coconut upset the stomach and what type of people are at greater risk of coconut allergy.

Health risks of coconut milk

Coconut is a white creamy fluid, pressed from the flesh of coconut fruit. Coconut milk has a rich, sweet, and nutty flavor and hence makes for a tasty and nutritious dairy-free milk substitute for vegans and people suffering from lactose intolerance. While it has immense health benefits for some people, it can trigger an allergic response in others. Beware of the following health risks associated with coconut milk. 

High-fat content

A cup of canned coconut milk provides 48g of saturated fat. If taken in moderate amounts, coconut fat is healthy. But it can provoke an allergic response in people with GI problems. People with Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS) may experience diarrhea. This is either because of the malabsorption of fat from the digestive tract or an insufficient release of pancreatic juice to digest the fat.

Fermentable carbohydrates

Fermentable carbs is not unhealthy. But in the case of people with IBS and FODMAP intolerance, their bodies do not adapt well to the high level of fermentable carbs. The bacteria in the large intestine break down these carbs to produce alcohol, sugars, and gas. This can lead to abdominal pain and cramps, diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, and nausea in sensitive people. 

High sugar content

Canned coconut milk may have added sugar in it. If taken this high sugar-sweetened canned coconut milk as a lifestyle habit, it can lead to weight gain, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases.

Allergic proteins

Coconut is categorized as a tree nut. The meat of this fruit has proteins that provoke allergy but coconut milk may have traces of this protein and can lead to unpleasant results.

Guar gum

It is a polysaccharide obtained from guar beans. Canned coconut milk provokes an allergic response in guar gum intolerant people.


This is a synthetic compound added to the lining of canned products, cell phones, etc. This compound can pass into the contents of the can if they are highly acidic or fatty. Canned coconut milk should be avoided to reduce exposure.

Fructose malabsorption

Coconut contains an exceptionally high content of fructose. A moderate amount of sugar combined with glucose is well digested in the gut. But a high fructose level can pass undigested through the digestive tract resulting in increased bacterial growth in the gut and diarrhea, constipation, and bloating in people with IBS, IBD, and FODMAP intolerant people.

Other FAQs about Milk which you may be interested in.

How to make evaporated milk from condensed milk?

How to drink non-homogenized milk?

Health benefits of coconut milk

Weight loss

The Medium Chain Triglycerides(MCTs) in coconut milk provide energy, protect the heart, fight diabetes, and are linked to help reduce weight by promoting insulin sensitivity according to a study.

Good for heart

While coconut milk is rich in saturated fats, which might be considered unhealthy, but coconut milk has been found to increase HDL and lower LDL if taken in moderation

Promotes immune health

Coconut contains a saturated fatty acid, lauric acid, that has been found to possess antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancerous properties.

How to make coconut milk at home?

Avoid using canned coconut milk if you cannot find a BPA free can. Make unsweetened coconut milk at home to avoid added sugar in the store-bought canned coconut milk.

  1. Put shredded unsweetened coconut flakes and water into a blender. You can add a pinch of salt or vanilla essence or maple syrup to add some sweetness and flavor.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Strain the coconut milk with a cheesecloth by pressing the coconut meal.
  4. Refrigerate for 2-3 days and enjoy.

What foods are made with coconut milk?

  • Coconut milk is a perfect substitute for dairy milk and is extremely versatile when it comes to adding it to your recipes.
  • Use coconut milk in your fish or vegetable curry to add a creamy texture to it.
  • Use it to make soups Thai coconut or butternut squash soup.
  • Add it to your fruit smoothies along with coconut flakes. Add maple syrup and lemon juice for a sour and sweet hint.
  • Freeze your coconut milk and whip it until soft peaks form. Top your pancakes, crepes, shakes, smoothies, or cupcakes with it.
  • Use coconut milk as a milk alternative to make a coffee latte or use it as a coffee whitener.
  • Make coconut ice-cream with whipped coconut milk, condensed milk, and vanilla.


In this article, we answered if coconut milk causes diarrhea, and what are the other side effects and health benefits of coconut milk.