The Real Difference Between Coconut Milk And Coconut Water

Coconut milk and coconut water are two liquids derived from the coconut, but they come from different parts of the coconut and are used for different purposes. While you often see people exercising drinking coconut water, coconut milk its not a particularly popular workout beverage.

Part of the reason is that coconut milk has about 500 calories per cup, while coconut water has just 45 (via Treehugger). While coconut water has the same consistency as actual water or a light juice such as apple juice, coconut milk has a thick and creamy consistency, not ideal for sipping when you're on the treadmill, for instance.

Meanwhile, coconut water is more often consumed as is, and coconut milk tends to be called for more often in recipes, both for cooking, and for smoothies and cocktails. It also makes a great nondairy latte edition.

Coconut milk and water originate from different periods of the coconut life cycle as well. Coconut water comes straight out of the inside of the shell of a young, green coconut (via Healthline).

More to know about how coconut water and coconut milk differ

Over time, coconut water hardens to become coconut meat once the coconut has gone from a young, green one to a brown, mature one. Coconut milk is produced by taking the meat of a mature coconut, grating it, and then cooking it down with water. The mixture is then strained, and you've got coconut milk.

Due to the fact that they're completely different substances, it would stand to reason that they have different nutritional profiles as well. While coconut milk contains about 50 grams of fat per 1-cup serving, coconut water only contains half a gram. Coconut milk is also higher in carbohydrates, sugar, and protein. As far as vitamins and minerals go, coconut milk is higher in potassium, magnesium, manganese, vitamin C, and folate, although not by much. Interestingly, coconut water is higher in sodium.