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Starbucks Is Trying to Go Paleo

Now you can have “coconut milk” in your cappuccino. But don’t.

After testing over the past year in locations such as Portland, the coffee colossus that is Starbucks is offering coconut milk as a dairy-free alternative for all of their beverages—hot and cold—beginning February 17. 

Prior to this, soy milk was the only non-dairy alternative provided, which is not paleo friendly.  The introduction of coconut milk to the menu lineup is meant to appeal and appease vegan, paleo, and lactose-free customers who aren’t so stoked about soy. But if you look closely, the “coconut milk” may not be as diet-friendly as you think.

Like the soy milk that Starbucks offers, the “Sumatra Coconut Milk Beverage with Coconut Water from Concentrate” comes in boxes, and looks pretty simple. But turn that box around and take a look at the ingredient list—that’s where things get complicated. 

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The “coconut milk” is actually just water loaded with additives and chemicals. Ingredients include: water, coconut cream, sugar, carrageenan, and tricalcium phosphate. Carrageenan itself has caused a controversy in the health world recently—being removed from all Silk beverage and Stonyfield organic yogurt products due to suggested gastrointestinal inflammation it causes.

The unnecessary sugar, saturated fat from cream and added ingredients would make an already calorie-laden beverage a calorie-bomb. So we’ll skip this “healthy option” and stick to our plain old black cup of Joe.  

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