Coconut products are a keto diet blessing. This unusual fruit is high in fat (33% of raw and 65% of dry coconut is fat) [1, 2], and it’s also a versatile ingredient with many uses. Just a couple of examples of coconut products regularly featured in keto recipes include coconut milk, coconut flour, coconut oil, and desiccated coconut.
Another coconut product to add to your must-have list is coconut flakes. Coconut flakes make a great topping in keto desserts and are often added to low-carb granola. If you like doing everything from scratch, making coconut flakes at home is easy. Below is more about coconut flakes on the keto diet.
What Are Coconut Flakes?
Coconut flakes, or flaked coconut, are a type of grated coconut product. They’re made by thinly shaving boiled coconut meat into large flakes, which are then dried. Coconut flakes are eaten as a snack or added to desserts and breakfast.
There are also different types of coconut flakes to choose from, the two main ones being sweetened and unsweetened. There are also toasted coconut flakes with a crispier texture and more complex flavor.
You can buy coconut flakes in most grocery stores, health food stores, and online. Or you can make your own from scratch from whole coconut (instructions below).
Coconut Flakes vs. Shredded Coconut vs. Coconut Chips
Shredded or grated coconut products come in many forms, but their only real difference is just in size and shape. For example, coconut flakes are large and thin strips of coconut meat. On the other hand, shredded coconut is made by shredding coconut meat into fine strips, and coconut chips are generally thicker and larger than coconut flakes for easier snacking.
All of these products are made first by boiling coconut meat to sterilize, shredding, and drying it to a moisture level of less than 2.5% . This process helps keep the end product shelf-stable.
Another difference is in use. Coconut flakes are used as a topping for muffins, granola, or as a snack. Shredded coconut is a popular dessert ingredient, sometimes used in place of desiccated coconut and favored for its slightly higher moisture content. It’s also a low-carb replacement for breadcrumbs. Coconut chips are a low-carb and tasty snack you can enjoy straight out of the bag.
Can You Eat Coconut Flakes on Keto?
Coconut flakes, like most coconut products, are low in carbs and high in fat. So, you can safely enjoy coconut flakes on the keto diet. A 100 g of coconut flakes has about 7 g of net carbs . The same serving also has over 6 g of protein, 64 g of fat, and 16 g of fiber.
Another thing about coconut flakes (and other coconut products) is that they contain a particular type of saturated fat metabolized differently than other types of fat. We’re talking about medium-chain triglycerides, which can promote weight loss because they’re filling, and the body tends to burn them quickly to produce energy .
Some researchers even believe that the predominant fat found in coconuts called lauric acid are medium-chain triglycerides which are good for the heart and overall health .
Just make sure to read the label for added sugars. Sweetened coconut flakes can have double the carbs of regular flakes and are not worth it on keto.
Benefits of Coconut Flakes on the Keto Diet
All coconut products are great for the keto diet. They’re a rare botanical fruit that’s high in fat, with two other examples being olives and avocado. Besides their favorable macros, coconut flakes have a couple of other benefits on keto:
A quick snack
It’s hard to find a snack that’s keto-friendly in grocery stores, but coconut flakes can definitely replace potato chips and even candy bars. They’re crispy yet slightly creamy and sweet. If you prefer crunchy snacks, go for the toasted variety.
A healthy topping
Need something crunchy but healthy to sprinkle over muffins, pancakes, brownies, or low-carb breakfast cereal. Go for coconut flakes since they have healthy fats and barely any carbs.
Great for sweets
If you’re a fan of coconut-flavored snacks and desserts, coconut flakes are it. They’re rich in natural coconut flavor and provide a good balance of creamy to crunchy. They’re great as a decorative cake topping or a crunchy add-in to cookies and muffins.
Many keto eaters don’t know that they need to eat enough fat for their diet to work. Your body will use dietary fat to produce energy and keep you in ketosis. Including high-fat snacks like coconut flakes into your menu can help boost your daily fat intake.
Studies show that coconut fats increase good (HDL) cholesterol and decrease the triglycerides to HDL cholesterol ratio, which is generally good for metabolic health . In addition, and as already mentioned, coconut products have a type of fat that can curb hunger and boost fat burning.
Making Coconut Flakes from Scratch
Coconut flakes are available everywhere in convenient packaging. But the ready-to-eat stuff can’t compare to coconut flakes made from raw coconut. This way, you’ll get even more coconut flavor and health benefits since you’ll be using minimally processed flakes.
To make coconut flakes from scratch, you only need a fresh coconut and a vegetable peeler. First, open the coconut, pry out the meat, and remove the coconut skin using a high-quality vegetable peeler. Then, with the same peeler, peel the flesh into thin strips. When you get the desired amount of flakes, dry them in a dehydrator or on a low setting in the oven until slightly crispy.
Store your freshly made flakes in an air-tight container in a cool and dry place. Enjoy within a week.
If you were looking for a coconut product to expand your repertoire, definitely add coconut flakes to the list.
Coconut flakes are low in carbs but high in fat, providing that you go for the unsweetened variety. They’re a versatile keto ingredient that you can enjoy as a snack or make desserts. They’re best used as a topping or add-in in keto desserts.
Besides being loaded in coconut flavor and making desserts look pretty, coconut flakes are also healthy thanks to their medium-chain triglycerides, fiber, and low-carb count. And what’s best, it’s easy to make them at home from fresh coconuts.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. Nuts, coconut meat, raw. April 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170169/nutrients
- Tetra Pak. Chapter 3: Composition. Coconut Handbook. Accessed May 2022. https://coconuthandbook.tetrapak.com/chapter/composition#:~:text=Coconut%20kernel%20contains%2090%25%20saturated,C12)%20(Table%203.8).
- Desiccated Coconut. Science Direct. Accessed May 2022 https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/food-science/desiccated-coconut#:~:text=The%20process%20of%20preparation%20involves,USA%20in%20the%20early%201880s.
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. FoodData Central. COCONUT FLAKES. April 2019.
- Maher T, Clegg ME. A systematic review and meta-analysis of medium-chain triglycerides effects on acute satiety and food intake. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2021;61(4):636-648. doi:10.1080/10408398.2020.1742654
- Hewlings S. Coconuts and Health: Different Chain Lengths of Saturated Fats Require Different Consideration. J Cardiovasc Dev Dis. 2020;7(4):59. Published 2020 Dec 17. doi:10.3390/jcdd7040059
- Vogel CÉ , Crovesy L , Rosado EL , Soares-Mota M . Effect of coconut oil on weight loss and metabolic parameters in men with obesity: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Food Funct. 2020;11(7):6588-6594. doi:10.1039/d0fo00872a