EWWK: Coffee Creamers

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

Ever wonder why we should choose this product over that?

Most of us think about product comparisons from time to time and this is one I have been thinking about lately. Coffee creamers have realized some popularity in the wake of the “fear of fat trend."

I still think it prudent to watch the saturated fat and trans fat in our diet from the standpoint of heart health. However, some of the commercial coffee creamers have 0.5g trans fat and 0.5g saturated fat per serving (even if the label says 0g, if a product has less than 0.5g saturated or trans fat, it can be listed as “0” on the label). So if your creamer lists partially-hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list, know that it does have trans fat which is of concern when multiple servings of such a product is used.

Below you will find a brief review of coffee creamer options.

Powder or liquid commercially-prepared creamer (40-90 calories per 2 tablespoons)

-Remember to check your ingredient list to see if trans fats are sneaking into your product under the disguise of “partially-hydrogenated oil.”

-Two tablespoons can potentially give you 1g saturated fat and 1g trans fat or 2g “bad fats” (depending on ingredients) and yet the label may say “0” grams trans and “0” grams saturated in a 1 tablespoon serving

-Bottom line: Read the ingredient list and be cautious with your portions!

Table Cream (40 – 60 calories per 2 tablespoons)

-Cream is more natural than creamers but can be relatively high in saturated fat.

-Half-and-half can be a lighter way to enjoy natural cream. Half-and-Half has about 1g saturated fat per tablespoon.

Bottom line: a more natural choice but high in saturated fat, opt for cream from pastured cows if possible (local milk) or watch portions closely and alter saturated fat intake elsewhere.

Other Options

-If your main goal is to whiten your coffee, try it with skim, low-fat or whole milk. Calories per 2 tablespoons: 10 (skim) - 20 (whole).

-Try evaporated milk to keep a creamy flavor but with lower fat than table cream. It comes in full-fat, 2%, and fat-free. Calories per 2 tablespoons: 25 (skim) – 40 (whole).

-Try fat-free half-and-half for a creamy flavor with no fat or trans fat. Calories per 2 Tablespoons: 40.

-Try almond milk or soy milk for a vegetarian option. Try the creamer varieties or the plain milks. Calories per 2 tablespoons: 13 (soymilk) - 30 (soy creamer).

- Drink it black! Coffee is packed with antioxidants, so you could always try it just for what it is. Zero calories added!


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