The dairy free craze is beginning to catch on (sigh or relief). I have been against dairy for a number of years but it’s just now starting to appear more and more important in the public eye. In efforts to appeal to the masses, Starbucks has added coconut milk to it’s list of dairy free ingredients.
This is what the Starbucks site had to say about the demand for coconut milk on their website.
Providing a non-dairy alternative to dairy and soy is the second most requested customer idea of all time from MyStarbucksIdea.com, generating more than 84,000 votes. Starbucks will deliver this additional customization with the introduction of Starbucks Single Origin Sumatra Coconut Milk, a creamy, delicious alternative to dairy and soy for handcrafted beverages, available beginning February 17, in Starbucks US company-operated and licensed locations (source).
Coconut milk has been hailed as an amazing, low carb alternative to dairy. It’s smooth creamy texture gives the consumer the feeling of drinking milk without all the negative side affects that dairy can cause such as …
But before you sing the praises of this coffee giant for being ahead of the curve; take one more look at the label.
Upon taking a closer look at the ingredients, it’s easy to see that the Starbucks brand of coconut milk has 14 ingredients. The coconut milk on the right only has 3. As a general rule, the less ingredients the better! The Starbucks brand also has 8 grams of sugar in comparison to the pure coconut milk. This is a common trick to offset the decreased amount of fat. The Starbucks brand has filtered out most of the natural, and healthy omega fats that make coconut milk beneficial to your health.
While I understand that the company has to use a product that maintains it’s consistency in hot and cold coffee, I feel that 14 ingredients is overkill.
Lastly, the ingredient carrageenan has been know to cause cancer and inflammation, as sited on the Dr. Weil website.
Dr. Tobacman said that her research has shown that exposure to carrageenan causes inflammation and that when we consume processed foods containing it, we ingest enough to cause inflammation in our bodies. She explained that all forms of carrageenan are capable of causing inflammation. This is bad news. We know that chronic inflammation is a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease,Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and cancer.
Dr. Tobacman also told the board that in the past, drug investigators actually used carrageenan to cause inflammation in tissues in order to test the anti-inflammatory properties of new drugs. And she reported further that when laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they develop “profound” glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action, both of which can lead to diabetes.
Now you tell me, do you want that in your coffee? Carrageenan should be avoided as much as possible. Maybe we should all just drink black coffee or now at all. If all else fails, bring your own coconut milk instead of using Starbucks coconut milk. If you know a die hard coffee drinker, you may want to send this their way.