In recent years various milk alternatives have popped up in grocery stores in a bid to be replacement milk for those who, for whatever reason, don’t drink dairy.
Most milk alternatives such as nut or oats milk tend to have a light or low sugar alternative as a lighter option to the regular versions. But is there actually much difference between the two, especially when it comes to coconut milk which is known for being high in fat and calories?
So, I thought I’d take an in-depth look at the actual difference between light coconut drinking and the full-fat version to find out which is best for calorie content and nutrition, including; an ingredient comparison along with the differences between the two when it comes to usage.
Also in This Article
In a hurry, or looking for something specific? Use the links below to jump to the relevant section:
Drinking/Pouring Coconut Milk Comparision
There are two kinds of coconut milk, the canned version, which is thicker and generally used for cooking, and the drinking version, which is a thinner version that comes in a carton for pouring.
In this article, I’ll be comparing the dinking version, but if you’re looking for information on the canned version, I have written an article on this topic which you can see via the link below:
Starting with the ingredients comparison, as you can see from the table below, coconut milk generally contains two simple ingredients, water, and coconut, to make milk with a consistency that can be used as a cow’s milk replacement.
|Light Coconut Milk Ingredients
|Regular Coconut Milk Ingredients
|Water & Coconut
|Water & Coconut
Although they both have the same ingredients, the water to coconut ratio differs between light coconut milk and the regular full-fat version.
Because coconuts are naturally high in fat, a higher coconut ratio produces a thicker creamer coconut milk, which is also higher in calories and fat.
Please note that brand ingredients may vary, and some brands may use additional ingredients for preserving or flavor.
Canned Light Coconut Milk Vs. Regular Nutritional Comparison
I’ll now look at the nutritional comparison between the two kinds of coconut milk. To keep things as fair and accurate as possible, I’ll be using the same brand (Thai Kitchen) and comparing the milk on a weight-for-weight basis using a serving amount of 80ml.
Best for Calorie Content
When it comes to calorie values, there is a big difference between the calories in light coconut drinking milk compared to the full-fat regular version, with the light version containing half the calories per serving.
If you’re keeping track of your calorie intake, it’s worth the switch to light coconut milk from the regular version, especially if you like the taste of either type.
|Coconut Milk Type
|Calories Per 80ml Serving
|Light/lite Coconut Drinking Milk
|Regular (Full-Fat) Coconut Drinking Milk
Best for Nutrition
When it comes to the nutritional comparison between light coconut drinking milk and the regular version, the main difference is the fat content. Light coconut milk has 4g less fat per 80ml serving and 4.5g less saturated fat.
Light coconut drinking milk only has 1g of carbs per serving with no sugar, but it also has no protein or dietary fiber.
Compared to regular coconut drinking milk, which contains slightly more carbs per serving, 1g of sugars, and a nominal amount of protein (less than 1g).
Both kinds of coconut milk contain a small amount of sodium, which is naturally occurring because there’s no sodium added to the ingredients.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a lower-calorie, lower-fat option between the two, light coconut milk is a better option when compared to the regular full-fat version.
|Light/Lite Coconut Drinking Milk –Amount per 80ml Serving
|Regular (Full-Fat) Coconut Drinking Milk – Amount per 80ml Serving
mg = milligram (1000th of a gram)
You can use either light or regular coconut drinking (or pouring) milk in most cases where you’d usually use any kind of milk, such as:
- Drinking straight.
- For coffee
- For milkshakes or smoothies
- On breakfast cereal
- In baking
- In sauces and curries
In pretty much any scenario, light coconut milk can be used instead of regular coconut milk. However, keep in mind the lighter option is less rich and creamy and more watery than the regular version.
A common-sense approach is needed when it comes to where you use it because it tastes of coconut, which is a flavor that doesn’t go with everything. For example, it works in coffee, but I probably wouldn’t put it in regular tea.
It really comes down to personal taste and some trial and error to see where it works best.
If calorie and fat content are a consideration for you, then making the switch from regular coconut milk to the lighter version is worth the switch because it contains half of the calories, fat and saturated fat.
Light coconut milk can be used in place of regular full-fat coconut milk in pretty much any scenario, although it’s not as rich as creamy, so when it comes to sauces and cooking, the results might be a little different.
More Light Vs. Regualr Coconut Milk FAQ’s
Light (or lite) coconut milk contains more water than the regular full-fat version, which has a higher coconut to water ratio. Coconut milk is made from coconuts and water, so to reduce the fat and calorie content more water needs to be added.
Yes, you can drink light (or lite) coconut milk, although the drinking/pouring version you get in cartons is better for drinking than the canned version.
I hope this article has helped you to find the information you were looking for; you might also find the following articles helpful too:
References Used for this Article
To ensure the nutritional information used in this article is accurate, I have used data from the manufacturer and the USDA; the link below contains the source information: