It’s likely no surprise that sweetened condensed milk is dense in calories. After all, it is used as an ingredient in some very rich desserts. However, as far as sweets go, condensed milk has some redeeming qualities, namely, the nutrition that it derives from the milk solids it is made from. The key to enjoying condensed milk as a part of a healthy diet is consuming small, measured portions.
Sweetened condensed milk is a decadent treat, as it contains 62 calories for a mere tablespoon. Condensed milk is high in calories for the reason that its name implies -- it is a dense mixture of milk solids and sugar. People who are dieting should either avoid condensed milk or consume it very judiciously.
A 1 tbsp. serving of regular sweetened condensed milk contains almost 2 g of fat, according to the USDA. The fat in condensed milk is primarily saturated fat, which can negatively impact cardiovascular health. It is easy to eat a significant amount of saturated fat when you consume condensed milk if you do not carefully watch portions. Condensed milk is a better choice than cream, however, which contains 5.5 g of fat per tablespoon. You can buy low-fat and fat-free versions of condensed milk if you are watching your fat intake.
Protein and Carbohydrates
A tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk contains over 10 g of carbohydrates, all of which are sugars. A diet high in refined sugars can lead to weight problems, cardiovascular problems and diabetes, according to a health policy report in "The New England Journal of Medicine." This treat also contains protein, although not very much, with 1 tbsp. containing 1.5 g. Use caution when eating desserts containing condensed milk, as some can contain amounts of sugar that you may deem unacceptable for a weight management or blood sugar control plan.
Not surprisingly, one of the primary nutrients you’ll find in condensed milk is calcium -- 54 mg per tablespoon. Condensed milk also contains 36 mg of potassium, 5 mg of magnesium, 56 IU vitamin A and trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
Sweetened condensed milk is used to provide sweetness and a rich creamy texture to some desserts. If it is combined with acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice, it will thicken on its own -- without being cooked or chilled. Many people also use condensed milk to sweeten beverages, particularly coffee. Condensed milk can also be cooked for a lengthy period of time and allowed to caramelize. The caramel, also known as “dulce de leche” in many regions of the United States and Mexico, is used as a topping for ice cream and incorporated into other desserts.
Condensed milk is sometimes confused with evaporated milk. Although the two go through a similar evaporative process that results in a product containing a high density of milk solids, the nutritional profiles of the two are quite different. Condensed milk has added sugar, whereas evaporated milk does not. Due to the sugar, condensed milk has a thick, viscous appearance and will cling to a spoon or settle at the bottom of a cup if not stirred thoroughly.