Is Condensed or Evaporated Milk Safe When Pregnant?

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Milk is always a great addition to any dessert or dish. But should you indulge in condensed or evaporated milk during pregnancy?

Condensed and evaporated milk are safe for pregnancy. They are either pasteurized or sterilized which kills harmful bacteria. Since condensed milk has added sugar, it’s best to eat it in moderation during pregnancy.

Does that mean evaporated milk is better than condensed milk? Find out the difference between the two, what benefits they have, and what you need to look out for below!

Is Condensed Milk Safe During Pregnancy?

While condensed milk may be safe for pregnancy, it should be eaten in moderation because it is high in sugar content (condensed milk is basically evaporated milk with added sugar).

The two are commonly mistaken for one another. Other than being canned milks, they also come in similar sizes.

condensed milk in a can

Condensed milk, otherwise known as sweetened condensed milk, has the same concentration as evaporated milk before sugar is added to it (source: NIH). 

To make condensed milk, skimmed milk or whole milk can be used. Water is removed from the regular milk through heating before sweeteners (sugar) are added.

Because it is heated, the color of the milk changes from cream to light brown. With the sugar added, its taste changes as well as its viscosity. The finished product also contains carbohydrates, protein, and minerals. 

It also contains fat and fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, as well as B and C. But these two essential vitamins have been reduced to their otherwise full density (source: NIH).

A cup of condensed milk also contains high amounts of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and sodium (Nutrition Data). 

Based on the data sourced above, let’s take a look and discuss the highest minerals and essential vitamins that condensed milk contains, to see what the benefits are for pregnancy.

It is high in potassium and calcium. Potassium is great for pregnant women because it helps negate high blood pressure for mom and baby. For the baby, high blood pressure may lead to low birth weight (source: USDA). 

Calcium is needed during pregnancy not just for the muscles and bones, but also for the circulatory and nervous systems (source: APA). Also present is vitamin A. During pregnancy, vitamin A can help maintain and support the growth of fetal tissue while also helping the mother’s metabolism (source: NIH). 

However, because condensed milk is added with sugar while regular milk already contains sugar, you may not want to overindulge. 

The sugar of choice for it is sucrose which is effective in preventing spoilage. Regular sweetened condensed milk has ≤ 8% fat while skimmed or fat-free milk does not exceed 0.5% (source: National Dairy Council). 

Condensed milk is pasteurized milk which we will further discuss below. 

Is Evaporated Milk Safe for Pregnant Women?

Like condensed milk, evaporated milk is also safe for pregnant women.

Evaporated milk is the result of 60% of the water being removed from the milk. It undergoes homogenization and fortification of vitamins D and sometimes A. It is then canned and heated (source: National Dairy Council).

Evaporated milk also contains essential nutrients like the ones in condensed milk but without added sugar.

a glass of evaporated milk

Is Condensed or Evaporated Milk Pasteurized?

Both evaporated milk and condensed milk are either pasteurized or sterilized, which is why they’re safe for pregnant women.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations, sweetened condensed milk is the product of intentional and incomplete elimination of water only from milk added with safe, appropriate, and nutritive sugars. 

It has no less than 8% fat and 28% total milk solids. The sweetener(s) utilized are also effective in preventing spoilage. Sweetened condensed milk is pasteurized and can also be homogenized (source: Code of Federal Regulations).

For evaporated milk, during the heating process, whole milk is heated to kill any bacteria that are in the milk. Next, it is concentrated to between 1/4 and 1/5 of its original state. The fat globules then decrease in size and the resulting milk is canned and sterilized (source: Life Sciences for Sustainable Development). 

However, some evaporated milk companies use pasteurization techniques instead.

Hence, both condensed and evaporated milk are safe for pregnant women.  

Both milks are well-suited for desserts as such as flans, cakes, or ice creams to add sweetness and creaminess to them. 

We hope this article helps you with everything you need to know about condensed or evaporated milk during pregnancy.