Choosing the right milk product can be hard when their consistency is almost the same. One such creamy confusion exists between evaporated milk vs light cream.
As a practising nutritionist, I aim to clear this confusion. It will also answer this very common question “Is evaporated milk the same as light cream?”
Evaporated Milk vs Light Cream: How Real Is the Difference?
Before we can answer questions like “Can you substitute evaporated milk for light cream?”, here is a quick comparative look:
Milkfat & Water
Creamy & Sweet
|ORAL HEALTH OUTCOME
|BONE HEALTH OUTCOME
|TUMMY HEALTH OUTCOME
*Source: USDA; Quantity defined is 1/2 cup
Base Ingredients and the Preparation of Evaporated Milk Vs Light Cream
Fresh milk is the base ingredient for evaporated milk. Whereas milkfat is the main content in light cream. It is also called ‘coffee cream’ or ‘table cream’.
To prepare evaporated milk, milk is heated until 60% of the water is reduced. After that it is homogenized and packed in cans.
Light cream contains 18 to 30% milkfat. It has less fat than heavy cream, which is why it is called light cream.
Evaporated Milk vs Light Cream: Difference in Taste and Texture
Due to the heating process, evaporated milk gets a caramelized flavor. Lactose gives it a mild sweetness. It has a thick and dense consistency.
Light cream also contains lactose which makes it a bit sweet in flavor. However, its taste is very much neutral, which complements both sweet and savory recipes. It has a silky, smooth and creamy texture.
Recommended Daily Intake of Evaporated Milk vs Light Cream
Evaporated milk and light cream are both rich dairy products. It is important that you consume them as per the suggested daily intake.
Neither of these can be drunk straight. Either you use them in recipes or add enough water to dilute before having them directly.
You can have up to 1/2 cup of evaporated milk per day and around 2-3 tablespoons of light cream.
Is Evaporated Milk the Same as Light Cream in Calories Count?
Light cream contains a lot more calories compared to evaporated milk. This big difference is due to their key ingredients. Light cream is made with milk fat, which is a higher calorie food than fresh milk.
If you are on your way to shed some extra kilos, then it is better to opt for evaporated milk. However, you can add more water in the light cream to reduce the calories further.
Evaporated Milk vs Light Cream: The Difference in Carbs
Carbs work as the fuel to the human body. You need it to stay active and energized. Each individual’s carb requirement is different depending on various factors.
Carbs in evaporated milk and light cream are just the sugar. They don’t contain fiber. Evaporated milk has more carbs than light cream.
Which Contains More Fat: Evaporated Milk or Light Cream?
Light cream has milk fat so naturally it contains more fat than evaporated milk. If you want to limit your fat intake then you can replace light cream with evaporated milk.
Though, sometimes a recipe could particularly call for light cream. In that case you can either reduce the quantity or dilute it with water.
It is important to remember that light cream has a lower amount of fat compared to other dairy creams such as heavy cream and half and half.
Evaporated Milk vs Light Cream: Which Fulfills Your Protein Requirements?
There are around 10,000 kinds of proteins in our body. These macronutrients are basically found in every part of the body but mostly in muscles, bones and skin.
Compared to light cream, evaporated milk has more protein in it. Evaporated milk based smoothies or milkshakes is an excellent way to get enough protein in a day.
Better Source of Calcium: Evaporated Milk or Light Cream?
Your body needs calcium to build bones. It also helps the heart and muscles to function well. This essential mineral is especially important for children, pregnant and postmenopausal women.
Evaporated milk and light cream both are dairy based. They contain a good amount of calcium compared to many other plant based milk products. However, evaporated milk is a better source of calcium compared to light cream.
Best Time to Consume Evaporated Milk Vs Light Cream
Evaporated milk and Light cream are rich milk products. They help you to stay full and energized for a longer time. Also, the body needs time to digest them well.
This makes them perfect to add to your morning breakfast choice such as cereal, milkshake, oatmeal, pancakes etc.
You can also add a small amount of light cream to your evening coffee. Avoid late night consumption of these products since they are high in calories and fat.
How Do Evaporated Milk & Light Cream Affect the Ecosystem?
Dairy products have 3 times more of a carbon footprint compared to plant based milk products. Climate change concerns and limited natural resources make it important to be conscious about your food choices.
Evaporated milk and light cream are dairy based products and their production is not the greenest option for the planet. I would suggest using local and family dairy products to make them a little sustainable.
Evaporated Milk or Light Cream: Which one is the Vegan Choice?
Vegans do not consume any animal based product. Meat is not the only exclusion; dairy, poultry, and honey are also not included in this diet.
People follow veganism either due to health reasons, environment protection or love for animals. It is a fast growing diet in many countries.
Since, evaporated milk and light cream are milk based products, so they can not be included in a vegan diet.
Which Will Brighten Up Your Smile: Evaporated Milk or Light Cream?
For a bright and problem free smile calcium and vitamin D are two essential nutrients. Vitamin D is required by the body to absorb calcium. Most of the milk products are fortified with vitamin D.
Evaporated milk and light cream both are natural sources of calcium. Although, evaporated milk is a better option compared to light cream.
Is Evaporated Milk or Light Cream Better for Your Bones?
New bones’ building and old one’s breaking is a continuous process in your body. This process is much faster during your teen years. By the time you reach your 30’s , you gain your highest bone mass, though remodeling continues.
Diet is a major factor in your bone health. Protein and calcium are two essential nutrients for strong bones. Evaporated milk is a better source of these nutrients compared to light cream.
Evaporated Milk or Light Cream: The More Gut Friendly Option
Evaporated milk and light cream are milk rich foods, hence they may take time to digest in the body. It is important to consume them at the beginning of the day and stick to a limited quantity.
If you are lactose intolerant or have any other kind of milk allergy, then avoid them completely. They might cause severe nausea and bloating.
Which Has More Diverse Usage in the Kitchen: Evaporated Milk or Light Cream?
Both these milk products go well with many recipes. They can be used for baking, desserts, soups, curries, milkshakes etc.
Light cream is a good choice for coffee and savory dishes. On the other hand, due to its caramelized flavor, evaporated milk is a better option for desserts.
Both these dairy products can’t be replaced with heavy cream for whipping to decorate cakes, but light cream can add a good froth in your coffee.
I would like to mention that if your recipe specifically mentions light cream or evaporated milk then it is better to use what they have recommended.
With this, I am ending my post. I hope the battle between evaporated milk vs light cream won’t be a confusion for you after going through this post.
The choice between the two depends on your needs. For example, if you want a low calorie option, evaporated milk is better, but for a richer texture, light cream is a great choice.
Thanks for staying till the end.