Coconut cream nutrition is similar to that of coconut milk. Coconut cream is a product made with coconut and water. Like the fruit it's made from, it is high in fat. When used in moderation, it can be a wonderful addition to many dishes.
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Coconut cream, like raw coconut, is high in fat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one ounce contains 20 grams of fat.
Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Cream
According to popular food magazine Bon Appetit, both coconut milk and coconut cream are made from the same ingredients: coconut and water. Sometimes a stabilizing ingredient such as guar gum is added. The difference is that coconut cream contains more fat because it is made with more coconut milk and less water to create a thicker product.
The two products taste virtually the same, so the one you use depends mostly on the consistency you're seeking from the final product. If you want something that's brothy, then coconut milk will work just fine. If you want something thicker, you'll want coconut cream.
Because coconut cream is higher in fat than coconut milk, it's important to use it in moderation. Though the fatty acids in coconut milk are medium-chain triglycerides that have been shown to have some health benefits, too much fat from coconuts or other sources will cause weight gain.
Coconut Cream Calories and Nutrition
According to the USDA, one ounce of coconut cream contains:
- Coconut cream calories: 194
- Protein: 1.5 grams
- Fat: 20 grams; 18 grams of saturated fat
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
Because there is no fiber in it, there are 6 net carbs in coconut cream. In terms of coconut cream sugar content, it's always important to check the label on the product you're interested in buying. If the product is made with sweetened coconut, it will contain sugar. In the case of products made with unsweetened coconut, there will not be any sugar in the coconut cream.
The American Heart Association (AHA) released a scientific advisory statement advising people to replace saturated fats, including those from coconuts, with unsaturated fats whenever and wherever possible. Based on their review of seven clinical trials, coconut oil was shown to raise levels of bad cholesterol in the body, so the AHA recommended limiting all saturated fat intake. This is especially important for people who are at risk for, or already have heart disease.
Coconut Cream Uses
You can use coconut cream in recipes just like you would use coconut milk. Calories in both are fairly high considering the serving size, but coconut milk calories are fewer because it is made with more water and less coconut.
One of the most common uses of coconut cream is in Thai green curry and other soups and curries from southeast Asia. Coconut cream is also a good option for creating dairy-free and vegan desserts.
No matter how you plan on using it, if you buy a canned version instead of making your own, shake it before you open it. The liquid and fat will separate in both varieties. You'll be in complete control of the coconut cream sugar content because you can add it depending on what you're making with it.
One thing to note, if you're using it as a non-dairy milk alternative, coconut cream nutrition isn't close to cow's milk. According to a January 2018 study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, coconut milk isn't an ideal cow's milk alternative because of "limited nutrient diversity," but it can be an option for people with allergies to soy or almonds.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database: "Nuts, Coconut Meat, Dried (Desiccated), Creamed"
- Bon Appetit: "What is Coconut Cream Anyway?"
- American Heart Association: "Replacing Saturated Fat With Healthier Fat May Lower Cholesterol as Well as Drugs in Context of a Healthy Diet"
- Journal of Food Science and Technology: "How Well Do Plant Based Alternatives Fare Nutritionally Compared to Cow’s Milk?"