It's likely no surprise that sweetened condensed milk is dense in calories. After all, it's 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's made from. The key to enjoying condensed milk as a part of a healthy diet is consuming small, measured portions.
Sweetened Condensed Milk Calories
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's a dense mixture of milk solids and sugar. People who are dieting should either avoid sweetened condensed milk or consume it very judiciously.
Concentrated Source of Fat
A 1 tablespoon serving of regular sweetened condensed milk contains almost 2 grams of fat, according to the USDA's National Nutrient Database. The fat in condensed milk is primarily saturated fat, which can negatively impact cardiovascular health.
It's easy to eat a significant amount of saturated fat when you consume sweetened condensed milk if you don't carefully watch portions. Condensed milk is a better choice than cream, however, which contains 5.5 grams of fat per tablespoon. You can buy low-fat and fat-free versions of sweetened condensed milk if you're watching your fat intake.
Protein and Carbs in Condensed Milk
A tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk contains over 10 grams of carbohydrates, all of which are in the form of sugar. According to the ingredient list on a typical can of sweetened condensed milk, the only two ingredients are milk and sugar. While some of the sugar in this sweet product comes from the milk, much of it comes from the added sugar.
A diet high in added sugar can lead to weight problems, cardiovascular problems and diabetes, according to Harvard Health Publishing. The American Heart Association recommends women limit their intake of added sugar to no more than 6 teaspoons, or 25 grams, a day, and that men limit their intake to 9 teaspoons, or 36 grams, a day.
This super-sweet treat also contains protein, although not very much, with 1 tablespoon containing about 1.5 grams. Use caution when eating desserts containing condensed milk, as they may contain amounts of sugar that you deem unacceptable for a blood sugar control or weight loss plan.
Good Source of Calcium
Not surprisingly, one of the primary nutrients you'll find in condensed milk is calcium — 54 milligrams per tablespoon. Condensed milk also contains 71 milligrams of potassium, 5 milligrams of magnesium, 51 international units of vitamin A and trace amounts of other vitamins and minerals.
Sweeten Up Your Desserts
Sweetened condensed milk is used to provide sweetness and a rich, creamy texture to some desserts. If it's 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.
Sweetened Condensed Versus Evaporated Milk
Sweetened 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.
Sweetened condensed milk has added sugar, whereas evaporated milk doesn't. Due to the sugar, condensed milk has a thick, viscous appearance and clings to a spoon or settles at the bottom of a cup if not stirred thoroughly.
- USDA: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release: Milk, Canned, Condensed, Sweetened
- USDA: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release: Cream, Fluid, Heavy Whipping
- Harvard Health Publishing: The Sweet Danger of Sugar
- American Heart Association: Added Sugars