- 7 things you need to know about non-dairy coffee creamer
- Your Weight-Loss Solution: Avoid Nondairy Coffee Creamers
- How Your Coffee Creamer is Making You Fat
- Not That! Flavored Creamers
- Eat This! All-Natural Substitutes
- Best Coffee Creamer for Weight Loss
- A Healthy Coffee Creamer that Helps with Weight Loss
- Coffee-mate Original Liquid Creamer Singles (.375 fluid ounces)
- Is Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer Bad For Your Health?
- Why Non-Dairy Creamers Aren’t As Healthy As You Think:
- Healthier Alternatives To Non-Dairy Creamers
7 things you need to know about non-dairy coffee creamer
Coffee lovers take their brew in lots of different ways. Some prefer it simple and black, and others stir in sugar, cream, or milk. We know what’s in all those ingredients, so no mystery there. But what in the world is in non-dairy creamer?
Before you tip that container of powdered or liquid non-dairy creamer, consider these 7 facts:
Calling it “non-dairy” isn’t always true. You would think that a product called “non-dairy” would be safe for those who avoid dairy in their diet, right? But vegans and those with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy be warned: While many non-dairy creamers contain no lactose – the sugar found in milk that many have a hard time digesting – those same products may still contain casein. Casein is a milk protein that can trigger reactions in those with milk allergies. It gets added to non-dairy creamer to impart a milky flavour and texture. Labels must list casein as a milk product in the ingredient information box. So, while the label may say “non-dairy” or “lactose-free,” it does not mean it contains no dairy-derived ingredients. Vegans can opt for soymilk-based “creamers,” though soymilk may still be problematic for those with milk allergies.
Calling it “creamer” isn’t always true. This should be fairly obvious: “Non-dairy creamer” is actually an oxymoron. How can you have cream if you have no dairy? Vegetable oils – usually coconut or palm kernel oil – give “creamers” that creamy look, feel, and flavour.
Extra ingredients get added in to mimic qualities of milk and cream. Sugar, sodium, and corn syrup show up in ingredient lists because they add the flavour you lose when you lose the milk or cream. Food colourings find their way into the mix, too, to mimic the way milk or cream will change the colour of your coffee. In some cases, non-dairy creamers are more truthfully and clearly labelled as “coffee whiteners.” If you have food colouring allergies, check labels, because sometimes “plain” or “original” flavoured varieties will not contain colouring.
Non-dairy creamers can boost your calorie count. Plain black coffee contains almost no calories. But once you start scooping or pouring in add-ons like non-dairy creamer, the fat and calories pile up. Be careful how much you scoop into your cup or risk serious portion distortion. Take note of the serving size on the label, and if you want more than recommended, multiply your calorie-and-fat intake accordingly. Like most food products, non-dairy creamer brands usually offer low-fat and low-calorie options. And the “original” or “plain” flavoured varieties of both powdered and fluid non-dairy creamers will likely contain fewer calories and less fat and sugar than those with additional flavouring.
Some non-dairy creamers contain trans fat. Trans fat is a kind of fat that increases your bad (LDL) cholesterol while lowering the more beneficial (HDL) cholesterol. This can boost your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. You should not consume more than 2 grams of trans fat in a day, and some brands of non-dairy creamer can contain 1 gram per tablespoon.
Non-dairy creamer can go bad. One of the perks of non-dairy creamers is that they keep longer than milk or cream. That doesn’t mean they do not have an expiry date. Check package for best-by or use-by advice. Both powdered and liquid non-dairy creamers can take on an off odour, flavour, or appearance and should be discarded. Store powdered creamer in a cool, dry spot, sealed tightly. Liquid creamer should always be refrigerated and sealed tightly.
Powdered non-dairy creamer contains highly flammable ingredients. The popular TV program Mythbusters tested out an urban myth similar to the Mentos-Diet Coke reaction: Could powdered non-dairy creamer ignite an explosion? As it turns out, sodium aluminosilicate, an ingredient added to keep powdered creamer from caking together, can become flammable when dispersed. The Mythbusters packed a large amount of powdered creamer into a cannon and, when lit, it set off a massive fireball. Coffee drinkers stirring small spoonfuls into their morning cup shouldn’t worry.
Your Weight-Loss Solution: Avoid Nondairy Coffee Creamers
Nondairy coffee creamers seem innocent enough. They’re a nice option for the lactose intolerant, and its powdered form is convenient for coffee drinkers who don’t have a refrigerator available.
But our use of nondairy coffee creamer is a prime example of how serving sizes mean different things to different people – and nondairy creamer means too many calories for too many people.
Consider that each tablespoon of nondairy creamer runs 10-20 calories compared with 5 calories in a tablespoon of nonfat milk. Adding a liberal amount of nondairy creamer to your coffee could mean 50 calories per cup.
One concern with nondairy creamer is people’s perception of its health benefits – or rather its lack of risks as compared with milk products. The nutrition label may show 0 grams of fat, but remember that if one serving of a food item has less than 1/2 gram of fat, the food can be labeled as having no fat (the same goes for trans fats).
For example, Nestle Coffee-Mate Fat Free Original Powder and Fat Free Original Liquid each list “partially hydrogenated” oil as the second or third ingredient (after corn syrup solids). This means trans fats. The label does state in small print “Adds a trivial amount of fat,” but if you use 2-3 servings at once and multiply that by four or five cups of coffee a day, you’re consuming a significant amount of trans fats and calories.
If you can commit to making a change in your brew, you can shave a surprising number of calories with relatively little effort. Use less sugar. Avoid sugar substitutes. If you have to have nondairy creamers, use one serving at a time. And if you really want to make a difference? Drink your coffee black.
COFFEE-MATE was introduced in 1961 as the first “non-dairy creamer” on the market, and today it remains the most popular such product in the world. Manufactured by Nestlé out of Glendale, California, COFFEE-MATE comes in over 25 flavors including gingerbread, Parisian almond crème and peppermint mocha.
But what the hell IS COFFEE-MATE? Mostly, it’s sugar and partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (which contains trans fats). So why does the label say, “trans fat free?”
And why in the world do people drink this stuff?
COFFEE-MATE is a fine example of an ongoing American trend towards “foodstuffs” instead of food. Chocolate-flavored candy instead of chocolate. Processed cheese substance instead of cheese. Non-dairy creamer instead of cream. Who cares about the quality of food, as long as you can buy a LOT of it for a little money? Unfortunately, this is the attitude of many Americans today – but what is the real price of eating foodstuffs instead of food?
Cream, by definition, is a dairy product, and therefore a product labeled as a “non-dairy creamer” is obviously… what exactly? In many parts of the world, COFFEE-MATE must be called not creamer but “whitener,” as the label of “cream” misleadingly implies a dairy product.
Whether you call it whitener or creamer, one thing is probably true; you don’t know what it is. No one seems to know what gives COFFEE-MATE that creamy texture without any dairy.
The first tip-off that something is amiss in the world of COFFEE-MATE is that the product’s ingredients are not listed on its website.
For the following list, I went to the grocery store and wrote them down in the dairy aisle, because it is impossible to find a solid list online.
Ingredients of COFFEE-MATE Original (Liquid):
Corn syrup solids: Used mostly in imitation dairy foods, corn syrup is a type of sugar (mostly dextrose) that is made from cornstarch.
Partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil: All partially hydrogenated oils contain high levels of trans fats, which are brutal to your body. These cheap, human-tweaked fats were adopted heartily by grocery manufacturers in the 1970’s, a move that some say helped to kick off the American obesity epidemic. Soybean oil is perhaps the worst, as some contend that it depresses the thyroid gland and lowers your energy level.
However: COFFEE-MATE is legally allowed to say it is “trans fat free” because the serving size is so small. But don’t be fooled: COFFEE-MATE contains trans fats!
Sodium caseinate: A milk protein that contains no lactose, stabilized to have a longer shelf life. It is a major component of cheese and provides many nutrients and essential amino acids.
Mono- and digycerides: Simply put, these are fats. They are emulsifying agents used to extend shelf life, and you will often see them in foods that also contain trans fats. In fact, some nutritionists are calling them “the next trans fats.”
Dipotassium phosphate: Also known as phosphoric acid, this water-soluble salt prevents coagulation and is “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA – aka it’s been in use since the 50’s.
Carrageenan: Extracted from red seaweeds, this food additive is a type of vegan gelatin and has been in use for hundreds of years.
Why do people even drink this stuff?
Besides a decades-long marketing campaign from one of the world’s largest grocery conglomerates (Nestlé), COFFEE-MATE’s stout sweet flavor covers up the taste of badly or over-brewed coffee – of which there is plenty in this country.
Non-dairy creamer is good for the lactose-intolerant who can’t live without whitening their coffee. And as many American’s palates seem to be stuck in childhood, a preference for sweet drinks like soda grips many adults long after they should have their fingers out of the sugar bowl.
COFFEE-MATE can last two years with no refrigeration, and stays fresh for two weeks once opened – working well in offices where items rarely get put back into the refrigerator. However these minor conveniences don’t make up for the fact that you are putting vegetable oil into your coffee. Ready for another cup?
COFFEE-MATE actually has more calories than half-and-half, with the original powdered version clocking in at 30 calories per tablespoon vs. real half-and-half at 20 calories per tablespoon!
If you have been a COFFEE-MATE consumer but want to change your ways, there are far better options for your coffee:
1. Learn to love it black. Give up the cream and sugar entirely – you’ll save heaps of calories per year, and after a few weeks I guarantee that you will not miss the added sweet. Save those calories for chocolate cake!
2. Try cream – REAL cream or half & half. Just a dab will brighten your coffee and cut the sharp flavor.
3. Use a creamer made from real dairy, such as La Crème, which uses naturally flavored, rBST- and lactose-free ingredients.
4. Keep it vegan and use natural non-dairy alternatives like organic almond or hemp milk.
Related on Organic Authority
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image: Terry Johnston
How Your Coffee Creamer is Making You Fat
Americans get more antioxidants from coffee than from any other source. It’s been shown to help control symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, prevent liver disease, and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Did we mention that coffee drinkers have a lower risk of developing depression?
There are so many reasons to drink coffee, but could your daily cup of caffeinated awesome be making you fat?
Yes, but it’s not the coffee that’s to blame. Coffee has 1 calorie per 8-ounce cup. Here at Eat This, Not That!, we’re more worried about what you put into it: flavored creamers.
Not That! Flavored Creamers
For example, let’s look at International Delight French Vanilla Creamer. Not only is it completely devoid of dairy (with a base of water, sugar, soybean oil and corn syrup), it contains trans fats that have been linked to coronary disease and metabolic syndrome, and carrageenan, a stabilizer linked to inflammation in the body. The even worse news: one serving is considered one tablespoon. An average unmeasured pour equals four times that amount.
So, what you think of as 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 6 grams of sugar is actually 140 calories, 6 grams of fat and 24 grams of sugar. Add a second cup, and you’ve already exceeded the maximum recommended daily sugar intake of 40 grams.
That single cup of coffee with 1/4 cup of creamer equals on additional 15 pounds a year on your derriere.
This doesn’t mean you need to go cold turkey and avoid java completely.
Eat This! All-Natural Substitutes
A splash of milk is the perfect creamer—the calcium in it can help counter the calcium-robbing aspects of the caffeine, and it’s a great way to get vitamins A, D and B12, which are vital for bone health. (Go for 1% or 2%; skim milk is great for calorie control, but vitamins A and D are fat soluble, so you need a bit of fat to reap the nutritional benefits.)
Or, if creamer is a must, try making your own, sans trans fats and ingredients you can’t pronounce: Mix one can of condensed milk with a cup of low-fat milk, add a natural liquid sweetener like agave, maple syrup or honey to taste, and a teaspoon of flavored extracts like vanilla or almond. The final product is healthier and cheaper, and will help extend your shelf life.
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Best Coffee Creamer for Weight Loss
If you are a coffee lover, I have some amazing news for you. Coffee contains caffeine, which is also included in most of the fat-burning supplements available today. Caffeine is one of the few substances known to help mobilize fats from your fat tissues and increase metabolism!
Caffeine works by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. By blocking it, caffeine increases the firing of neurons and the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. As a result of this process, you feel more energized and awake.
And what happens when you feel more energized and awake? You increase your performance. Coffee helps you stay active when you would otherwise feel tired. In fact, it may improve exercise performance by 11–12%, on average. If you are wondering about the best coffee creamer for weight loss, keep reading.
The one thing that most people are skeptical about when it comes to a good cup of coffee is the creamers – and they should be. Most coffee creamers are full of chemicals and sugar. So if you are trying to boost your workout routine and drop a few pounds, the regular creamers are a no-no for you.
Did you know that most store-bought coffee creamers aren’t actually made with cream? They get their taste and texture agents and emulsifiers like carrageenan, a thickener studied to induce inflammation and digestive problems. Ew!
A Healthy Coffee Creamer that Helps with Weight Loss
Unlike all the other coffee creams out there, Leaner Creamer is the realization that there is such a thing as a healthy, guilt-free coffee creamer. Combining natural Coconut Oil and Functional Supplements to keep your morning ritual lean, our natural formulas help you to boost your metabolism and ease your sugar cravings.
Coconut oil contains fatty acids – also known as good fats and keto-friendly, that helps you to shed excessive weight. Coconut oil is also super easy to digest, and it helps the thyroid and endocrine system. So Leaner Creamer is the best coffee creamer for weight loss!
At Leaner Creamer, our healthy coffee creamers are designed with Love and Health in Mind. Click on the button below and shop online today to keep your morning ritual lean.
Coffee-mate Original Liquid Creamer Singles (.375 fluid ounces)
How many carbs are in Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles?
Each .375-fluid-ounce tub of Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles has 4 carbs or less, depending on the flavor. See the “Nutritional Value” tab for a complete list of ingredients and nutritional information.
How much does a box of Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles weigh?
A case containing 360 .375-fluid-ounce Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles has a gross weight of 10.01 pounds. A case containing 4 50-count dispenser boxes of .375-fluid-ounce Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles has a gross weight of 6.17 pounds. A case containing 180 .375-fluid-ounce Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles has a gross weight of 5.16 pounds. For more information, see the “Product Specifications” tab.
Can Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles be frozen?
No. Do not freeze. Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles should be stored in a cool, dry place with no refrigeration necessary. The industry-leading 9-month (270 days) shelf life is great for all foodservice needs.
What is the shelf life of Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles?
Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles have an industry-leading shelf life of 9 months (270 days).
Do Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles need to be refrigerated?
No. Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles should be stored in a cool, dry place with no refrigeration necessary.
Can Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles be used in iced coffee?
Yes. Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles blend quickly and completely into hot or cold beverages.
What does “lactose-free” mean?
Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles are lactose-free. That means they do not contain lactose, a type of sugar found in milk products that can be difficult for some lactose-intolerant people to digest.
What does Kosher dairy mean?
Coffee mate Liquid Creamer Singles are Kosher dairy. That means they are prepared according to the requirements of Jewish law.
I don’t drink coffee. There, I said it. I know I am in the minority here, but I drink hot green tea in the mornings. But I know that most of you out there not only drink coffee, but love your morning cup of joe. In fact, many people tell me that they are addicted to coffee, and indeed it is a drug. But is your coffee habit getting in the way of your weight loss or healthy lifestyle goals?
I drank coffee in college…black coffee, mostly because that’s what my mother drank. So I never got into the cream and sugar filled coffee. I gave coffee up because it made me too jittery. Tea seems to be just the right amount of caffeine for me. But I understand that many people are addicted to their coffee, and black coffee is not the norm. So extra calories, fat, and sugar are showing up in your cup on a regular basis.
I am not going to tell you to give up coffee. In fact, coffee has many health benefits when enjoyed in the right amounts. It contains powerful antioxidants that can help fight diseases like diabetes, cancer, heart problems, and dementia. Coffee can also help you focus mentally and feel more energized. Drinking two cups of coffee in the morning can actually be a good thing.
However, as soon as you add other things to coffee, the nutritional value starts to plummet. Adding sugar is obviously going to increase your sugar intake. If you are still using sugar in your coffee, you really want to try to wean yourself off of that habit. You can get some ideas from my other posts about quitting sugar. And please don’t switch to artificial sweeteners, which only means you are adding foreign chemicals to your body. Learn to drink your coffee without any added sweetener.
In my discussions with clients and friends, it seems the bigger addiction is with coffee creamer. Let’s start with the stats. For 2 teaspoons of French vanilla coffee creamer, you are taking in 50 calories, 3 grams of fat, and 6 grams of sugar. That’s a lot of unwanted stuff for a liquid you are pouring in your coffee! I was also surprised (and grossed out) to see that most creamers have vegetable oil in them. Yuck! Finally, carrageenan will most likely show up on the ingredients list. This is a natural additive to thicken the product, but has been directly linked to cancer, so you want to avoid it.
Now it’s just a guess that many people use more than 2 teaspoons of creamer, mostly because they just pour it in the cup without measuring. Plus you have to add on the second (or third, or fourth) cup of coffee too. So you could be taking in well over 100 calories and over 10 grams of sugar if you are heavy-handed with the creamer. Considering that you shouldn’t be going over 20 grams of sugar in a day, it’s not a good sign when you are half-way there before your day even starts.
I asked the members of my Facebook group about their coffee habits, and got some interesting answers and feedback. I want to share some of their suggestions with you so you can see what might work for you. Replacing or eliminating your beloved coffee creamer is not something you have to do overnight, so these suggestions go hand-in-hand with the next section where I talk about how to go about making a change.
Instead of coffee creamer, you could opt for different varieties of milk. Some people use whole milk, 2%, 1%, or skim. Many of the responders said they hated skim milk in coffee, but others didn’t mind it. There are also non-dairy milks, like soy, almond, and coconut that will provide a creamier texture similar to coffee creamer. Just make sure you go with unsweetened milks. You could also try adding some simple flavoring to your coffee, like real vanilla extract and cinnamon. Other people suggested half and half, which has no added sugar in it.
A word about sugar-free creamer. No. That’s my word, just no. In many types you will find trans fats in there. Just look on the ingredients label for anything “partially hydrogenated.” If you see that, there are trans fats in there. You are also looking at artificial sweeteners (many use sucralose), which you want to stay away from as much as possible. Fat free half and half isn’t much better. In this case, the removed fat is just replaced with sugar, usually in the form of corn syrup.
Your best bet is to eventually get to where you can drink your coffee black. If the bitter taste of black coffee turns you off, there are some things to consider. First, you can try out different roasts. You might like a lighter roast with nothing added to it just fine. Also, invest in good quality coffee. Yes, it will be more expensive, but it will taste better and you will save money by not buying creamer.
Some of you may be shaking your head right now and saying, “No way, I am not giving up coffee creamer.” Well, would you at least be willing to try? Remember that it takes at least 3 weeks for something to become a habit, and even longer to break an old habit. So it will take time, and probably will require a slow transition process. One responder said that it took her husband a year to do this. If after all of that, you still want to go back to creamer, then I guess you can say at least you tried. You just have to be careful to budget in your diet for it.
Because coffee is such an addicting habit, the best way to change the way you drink it is slowly over time. Follow these steps.
Step 1 – Mix half creamer and half half-and-half in your coffee cup. Do this for 3 weeks, or longer if needed.
Step 2 – Drink your coffee with just half and half, no creamer. Do this for 2 weeks, or longer if needed.
Step 3 – Mix half half-and-half and half milk in your coffee cup (I recommend an unsweetened almond milk for the creamy texture). Do this for 2 weeks, or longer if needed.
Step 4 – Drink your coffee with just almond milk. You can stay happily here or move on to step 5 after 2 weeks.
Step 5 – Drink your coffee black.
A note from Tammy..
Another suggestion when trying to wean off coffee is to remove 1 daily cup. So if you drink coffee all day long try removing your afternoon coffee. Replace it with tea or water.
Also, don’t forget to measure. If you decide to continue with creamer it might do wonders to just measure the creamer used instead of “eye-balling” it. This could save many calories in the long run.
What are you tips to break or reduce the coffee creamer habit?
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Is Non-Dairy Coffee Creamer Bad For Your Health?
Non-dairy coffee creamers seem like an innocent alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
However, as non-dairy creamers become more popular, speculation about their healthiness has grown as well. Are dairy-free coffee creamers really good for you?
According to most studies, using non-dairy creamer could have a negative impact on your health, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Here are five reasons why.
Why Non-Dairy Creamers Aren’t As Healthy As You Think:
1. Non-Dairy Creamers Add Calories
Plain black coffee has almost no calories, but the calories start to pile up when you add something like non-dairy creamer. Each tablespoon of non-dairy creamer is 10-20 calories compared to the five calories you get in a tablespoon of nonfat milk.
This may not seem like a big difference, but when you’re counting calories for weight loss, every little bit counts.
2. Dairy Free Might Not Be Dairy Free
While many non-dairy creamers don’t contain lactose, they may still contain casein, a milk protein that can trigger reactions in those with milk allergies. Casein is added to non-dairy creamer for flavor and texture.
If you are allergic or especially sensitive to milk, you may react to casein. Additionally, vegans drinking non-dairy creamer likely won’t be pleased with this.
3. They Contain Extra Ingredients
In addition to casein, sugar, sodium, and corn syrup may be included in a non-dairy creamer’s ingredient list to add the flavor you lose when you leave out milk or cream. You should also be on the lookout for food coloring that’s added to mimic the way milk and cream changes the color of your coffee. Here are a few other ingredients in non-dairy creamer you’ll want to think twice about putting into your morning cup of coffee:
Natural flavors – You’ve probably heard of MSG (monosodium glutamate) and how it’s bad for you. Related forms of MSG are sometimes labeled as “natural” flavors. Some MSG may also be based from soy, which could cause problems for people with severe allergies.
Dipotassium phosphate – Used as a stabilizer and anti-coagulant in non-dairy creamer, this chemical is also used in fertilizers and cosmetics. When consumed on a regular basis, it can potentially cause kidney problems and interfere with some medications.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (SSL) – SSL replaces fat and sugar but is also used as a cleanser, foaming agent, and in cosmetics. Consuming it in excess can lead to abnormal sodium levels in the body and food intolerance symptoms like headaches, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
4. Some Brands Contain Trans Fat
Trans fat increases your bad cholesterol while reducing your more beneficial cholesterol (HDL). In turn, this can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. If a creamer’s ingredients list includes “partially hydrogenated oil,” that means trans fat. It’s recommended that you shouldn’t consume more than two grams of trans fat in a day; some brands of non-dairy creamer contain one gram per tablespoon!
5. Non-dairy Creamer Can Go Bad
While it’s certainly true that non-dairy creamer keeps longer than milk or cream, it still has an expiration date. Both powdered and liquid non-dairy creamers can go bad and should be discarded if they have an odd flavor, appearance, or odor. Old creamer can become a festering pot for bacteria.
Healthier Alternatives To Non-Dairy Creamers
So, what’s the best alternative for lactose intolerant coffee drinkers? The best alternative is a high-quality, dairy-free milk. Soy, rice, almond or coconut milk provide a similar creaminess in your coffee without the artificial ingredients. However, you should always read the packaging, as some of these often contain added sugar and preservatives.
If you enjoy thicker cream, coconut cream is an excellent alternative. Every can of coconut milk contains a rich, decadent layer of coconut cream on the top. You can scoop this white layer out and store it in the fridge for your morning coffee. The heat from the hot drink will melt the condensed coconut. Coconut products are also known for their health benefits, particularly in terms of your immune system and weight management.
*This post has been updated and republished for accuracy and freshness.
For an even easier way to manage your weight and eat healthier, try the Mediterranean Diet. Our FREE guide breaks it down for you so you can start feeling better now.
A: We wouldn’t call either a “good” choice. Per Tbsp, the fat free version of Coffee-mate contains 25 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 0 grams of saturated fat. While the sugar free version has 15 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, and the artificial sweeteners sucralose (Splenda), and acesulfame potassium.
When choosing these creamers over milk and natural sweetener, you’re opting to use a much more processed, artificial product in your coffee. But the number one downside to the fat free and sugar free Coffee-mate products is the second ingredient that they both share — “partially hydrogenated oils” — which is code for “trans fats”. At first glance, you’d think that the product doesn’t contain any trans fats (under trans fat on the Nutrition Facts panel you’ll see “0 grams”). But, here’s the trick: If the amount of trans fats in a product is less than 0.5 grams per serving, it’s not required to be listed on the Nutrition Facts label.
Companies can get around this by using a smaller serving size, like the 1 Tbsp serving that is used for Coffee-mate, which allows for the product to be labeled without trans fats. If each Tbsp of Coffee-mate contains .49 grams of trans fat, and you use 2-3 Tbsp in your coffee, you could be consuming almost 1.5 grams of trans fat per cup. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 1.5 grams of trans fats per day, with an ideal goal of avoiding them all together — and we agree.
Better option: In exploring the Coffee-mate product offerings, we discovered that they now have a newer product line, called Natural Bliss, that contains nothing artificial– just nonfat milk, cream, sugar, and carageenan (a natural thickener). If you like the flavor of Coffee-mate, the low-fat Vanilla Natural Bliss is a good option with 20 calories per tablespoon (less than the fat free version), just 1 gram of fat, and 0.5 grams of saturated fat.
An even better option: Start to transition off of a generally sweeter coffee/beverage preference by using just 1 teaspoon of Coffee-mate. Then add 2 tablespoons of 2% milk (or try vanilla soy/almond milk if you like the vanilla flavor), and 1 teaspoon of sugar to bring the flavor and consistency to your liking. If you’re someone that has developed a preference for the super-sweet, tapering your added sugar intake in coffee will be beneficial to you in other areas of your diet as well.
Best option: A quarter cup 1% milk plus 1 teaspoon sugar. You’re getting calcium from the milk, without the fat or saturated fat you get with cream, and you get a little sweetness without too many calories (1 teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories.)