Although both coconut oil and coconut milk originate from the same source – coconut, they're different in several ways. Such as composition, health benefits, uses and price tag. Learn about the differences between coconut oil and coconut milk so that you know exactly how to gain from each in different situations.
Coconut oil contains 100% fats whereas coconut milk contains only about 20% fats and the rest are water, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins.
Although coconut milk is the diluted version of coconut cream, consuming coconut milk is almost like consuming the whole coconut since the nutritional composition of coconut milk is pretty similar (but with some differences in the nutritional amount) to a whole coconut that contains coconut meat and water.
But you won't find such a rich mixture of nutrients like carbohydrate, protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium and zinc etc in coconut oil. However, coconut oil does contain very small amount of fat-soluble nutrients like vitamin K and E, and iron.
But does that mean you're getting lesser health benefits from coconut oil than from coconut milk?
2. Health Benefits
It may appear that coconut milk provides better overall health benefits for us than coconut oil since coconut milk carries so many different nutrients in its content.
But coconut oil contains much denser medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) like lauric acid and caprylic acid etc that can provide better protection against harmful germs and stronger fat-burning effect for weight loss. You can easily obtain your carbohydrate, protein and other nutrients from other plant food sources.
That said, coconut oil has greater health benefits than coconut milk just because it has more health-boosting lauric acid, caprylic acid and other fatty acids in its content.
You can easily stir-fry your food with coconut oil but you can't do the same with coconut milk as coconut milk holds water which when heated up will cause the milk to pop hot liquid everywhere.
Coconut milk is more often used in making soup-based food, or as an ingredient to lighten the color of the soup or gravy. You can bake your cake or pie with either coconut oil or milk. You can cook rice with either one of them too.
But coconut oil seems more versatile since you can add it to literally any food, be it raw or cooked. I use coconut oil more extensively than coconut milk.
I also use coconut oil for skin care every day. You can't do the same with coconut milk as leaving it on your skin overnight while asleep may attract ants (so to speak) due to its mild natural sweetness. It makes your skin a little sticky too because of the sugar in it.
Well, that's my take. But if you feel good with coconut milk on your skin, why not?
A 32-ounce coconut oil may cost $16 whereas the same volume of coconut milk costs only $3.50. It's about 4–5 times cheaper than coconut oil. This is mainly because the process of making coconut oil is very much complex than making coconut milk.
The difference in their composition makes coconut oil more oily while coconut milk more watery, which is why you can't fry your food with coconut milk. On top of these differences, coconut milk may contain fiber which is why sometimes you can feel your soup-based food a bit fiber-y but coconut oil like I said is 100% fats so it has no fiber at all.
What other differences have you found between coconut oil and coconut milk?