Coconut milk has become a popular option for many coffee drinks at Starbucks. But how many extra calories does opting for coconut milk add to your drink? In the opening paragraphs, we’ll provide some quick answers to key questions about coconut milk and calories at Starbucks:
The short answer is that coconut milk adds around 60-130 calories per 8 ounces compared to 2% dairy milk. So choosing coconut milk instead of regular dairy milk can increase the calories in a Tall (12 oz) drink by 90-195 calories.
The calorie content of coconut milk can vary by brand and preparation method. At Starbucks, coconut milk has 60 calories per 5 ounces or 130 calories per 8 ounces. By comparison, 2% milk has about 30 calories per 5 ounces or 45 calories per 8 ounces.
For a Grande (16 oz) drink, coconut milk adds about 180-390 extra calories compared to dairy milk. The exact amount depends on the specific beverage.
Opting for nonfat dairy milk instead of coconut milk reduces calories by about 80-210 calories in a Tall and 160-420 calories in a Grande. So nonfat milk is the lowest calorie option.
Calorie Content of Coconut Milk vs Dairy Milk
Coconut milk contains more calories and fat compared to dairy milk. Let’s take a closer look at the nutrition facts:
Starbucks uses a brand of coconut milk called Coconut Cloud that contains 4.5 grams of fat and 45 calories per 1 fluid ounce serving. It has 130 calories total in an 8 ounce (240 ml) serving.
In comparison, one fluid ounce of Starbucks 2% reduced fat dairy milk contains 0.6 grams fat and 3.8 calories. An 8 ounce serving has 30 calories and 4.5 grams fat.
For nonfat dairy milk, a 1 ounce serving contains just 0.1 grams fat and 3.3 calories. An 8 ounce serving would have 25 calories and 0.8 grams fat.
So coconut milk used at Starbucks contains over 4 times more calories and 7 times more fat compared to 2% dairy milk per ounce. The calorie difference is even greater compared to nonfat dairy milk.
Nutrition Facts Per 8 Ounces:
|Milk Type||Calories||Fat (g)|
|2% dairy milk||45||4.5|
|Nonfat dairy milk||25||0.8|
Calories in Starbucks Drinks with Coconut Milk
Now let’s see how the calories add up in some popular Starbucks beverages made with coconut milk:
Tall Caffè Latte with Coconut Milk: 150 calories (coconut milk) + 190 calories (2 shots espresso) = 340 total calories
Tall Caffè Latte with 2% Milk: 45 calories (2% milk) + 190 calories (2 shots espresso) = 235 total calories
Difference: 105 more calories with coconut milk
Grande Iced Coffee with Coconut Milk: 180 calories (coconut milk) + 15 calories (1 shot espresso) = 195 total calories
Grande Iced Coffee with Nonfat Milk: 25 calories (nonfat milk) + 15 calories (1 shot espresso) = 40 total calories
Difference: 155 more calories with coconut milk
Venti Iced White Chocolate Mocha with Coconut Milk: 390 calories (coconut milk) + 470 calories (white chocolate sauce, 2 shots espresso) = 860 total calories
Venti Iced White Chocolate Mocha with 2% Milk: 135 calories (2% milk) + 470 calories (white chocolate sauce, 2 shots espresso) = 605 total calories
Difference: 255 more calories with coconut milk
As you can see, the calorie increases can be substantial when opting for coconut milk in larger Starbucks beverages.
- Coconut milk adds 60 calories per 5 ounces or 130 calories per 8 ounces
- 2% dairy milk has about 30 calories per 5 ounces or 45 calories per 8 ounces
- In a Tall drink, coconut milk adds 90-195 extra calories vs dairy milk
- In a Grande drink, coconut milk adds 180-390 extra calories
- Using nonfat instead of coconut milk reduces calories by 80-210 (Tall) or 160-420 (Grande)
Comparing Nutrients in Coconut Milk vs Dairy Milk
In addition to more calories and fat, what are some other nutrient differences between coconut milk and dairy milk?
Coconut milk contains no protein or carbohydrates, while dairy milk provides both. An 8 ounce serving of 2% dairy milk has 8 grams of protein and 12 grams carbohydrate. Nonfat dairy milk has a similar nutrient profile.
Coconut milk provides only trace amounts of calcium and vitamin D, while dairy milk is an excellent source of these nutrients. An 8 ounce serving of dairy milk has about 300 mg calcium (30% Daily Value) and 100 IU vitamin D (25% DV).
However, coconut milk is rich in other minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper. It also contains manganese, selenium, and vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6.
Additionally, the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in coconut milk have unique health benefits. MCTs are efficiently absorbed and can provide an immediate source of energy.
Main Nutrient Differences:
|Nutrient||Coconut Milk||2% Dairy Milk|
|Calcium||0% DV||30% DV|
|Vitamin D||0% DV||25% DV|
Health Benefits of Coconut Milk
Despite being higher in calories and fat compared to dairy milk, coconut milk can be part of a healthy diet and offers some potential health benefits.
High in Antioxidants
Coconut milk contains various antioxidants, including vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, and manganese. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and may lower the risk of certain chronic diseases.
Contains Medium-Chain Triglycerides
The predominant type of fat in coconut milk is medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs are efficient sources of energy and less likely to be stored as body fat compared to other fats. Some studies suggest MCTs can enhance weight loss.
May Benefit Heart Health
The MCTs in coconut milk contain a fatty acid called lauric acid, which has been linked in some studies to improved cholesterol levels. However, more research is needed.
Good Source of Several Minerals
Coconut milk provides substantial amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. These minerals play essential roles in bone health, blood formation, enzyme function, and more.
Coconut milk contains no lactose, so it’s suitable for people following a dairy-free or vegan diet, as well as individuals with lactose intolerance.
Contains Beneficial Plant Compounds
Coconut milk provides plant compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer effects according to some studies.
Downsides to Coconut Milk
Despite some advantages, there are a few potential downsides to coconut milk that should be considered:
High in Calories and Fat
The biggest nutritional downside is coconut milk’s high calorie and fat content compared to dairy milk. This could contribute to unwanted weight gain if large amounts are consumed.
Low in Protein, Carbs, Calcium
Coconut milk lacks the protein and carbohydrates found in dairy milk. It’s also very low in crucial nutrients like calcium and vitamin D.
Contains Saturated Fat
Over 90% of the fat content in coconut milk is saturated fat. While some argue coconut-derived saturated fat may not raise heart disease risk like other saturated fats, current recommendations still advise limiting saturated fat intake.
Some Concern About Cholesterol
Some researchers believe coconut products can raise LDL “bad” cholesterol levels. However, the overall impact of coconut milk on cholesterol and heart health remains unclear.
Easy to Overconsume Calories
The high calorie density coupled with the mild, creamy flavor of coconut milk means it’s easy to consume excess calories if portions aren’t controlled. This is especially true when coconut milk is added to beverages.
Coconut milk can be a tasty, dairy-free option to consider when customizing drinks at Starbucks. However, be aware that choosing coconut milk substantially increases the calorie content compared to regular dairy milk.
In a Tall drink, coconut milk adds around 90-195 extra calories versus dairy milk. For a Grande drink, the calories increase by 180-390 calories or more. Opting for nonfat dairy milk instead of coconut milk can reduce calories by 80-420 calories depending on drink size.
While coconut milk provides some nutritional benefits, its high calorie and saturated fat content should be taken into account. Overall, coconut milk is probably best enjoyed occasionally as a treat in moderation, rather than as an everyday choice.