UPDATE: One of the questions I’m often asked if it’s okay to add a “little” store-brand commercial coffee creamer to their daily coffee. The long-worded ingredients aren’t enough to avoid it — particularly if their favorite brand contains fewer processed ingredients than some of the other brands. Remember, sometimes it only takes “little” for products to cause chronic systemic inflammation and damage to the endothelium (the inner lining of blood vessels). Think of it this way… a “little” x 365 days = a lot.

Try healthy alternatives to artificial coffee creamers

All in all, when you add artificial creamers to your coffee, you’re essentially adding oils and highly processed oils, a.k.a. trans fats (hydrogenated oil) and highly processed industrial sugar (corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup) — the principal ingredients. The other ingredients prevent the oils from separating and provide a hint of dairy flavor as well as artificial flavor and color. Sound yummy?

Generic Non-Dairy Creamer (liquid) Ingredients: Water, Corn Syrup, Soybean & Cottonseed Oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Sodium Caseinate (A Milk Derivative), Dipotassium Phosphate, Mon-& Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate. 

Generic Non-Dairy Creamer (powder) Ingredients: Corn Syrup Solids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Sodium Caseinate (A Milk Derivative), Dipotassium Phosphate, Mono- And Diglycerides, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor, Artificial Color

Creamer Alternatives

How about trying a shot of REAL 2% milk instead? You’ll gain some essential nutrients while you feed your coffee-drinking ritual. For extra flavor, add a shot of pure vanilla bean extract.

An ounce (2 Tbsp) of 2% milk has 1 gram of protein and just 17 calories. In addition, you’ll gain some of your daily dose of vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A (1%), Calcium (4%), Vitamin D (3%), Phosphorus (3%), and Potassium (2%). To trim the fat even more, switch to skim (nonfat) or 1% lowfat milk.

Evaporated skim milk has 2X the nutrients as regular milk and no fat.

Better yet, try some evaporated skim milk (not to be confused with sweetened condensed milk). It has zero fat and a rich consistency since 50-60% of its water has been removed.  Compared to regular milk, evaporated skim milk has twice the protein (2 gm) and 25 calories per ounce with double the nutrients: Vitamin A (2%), Calcium (8%), Vitamin D (6%), and Potassium (3%).

Non-Dairy Alternatives

Better yet, use unsweetened soy milk or almond milk. Soy milk has a better nutritional profile compared to cow’s milk. NOTE: Almond milk contains very little protein compared to soy or cow’s milk.

Karen Owoc "K" logoKaren’s Fit Tip: If you also gradually reduce the amount of added sugar you add to your coffee, this single adjustment would be healthier for your heart. A study published in JAMA found that added sugar can lower your levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and raise your levels of triglyceride (fats in the blood).

Karen Owoc

Karen Owoc is a certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist specializing in cardiopulmonary rehabilitation and lifestyle medicine. Her science-based approach to longevity, nutrition, and muscle health has made her the go-to source for health seekers and medical professionals alike. Karen's best-selling book on functional longevity, "Athletes in Aprons: The Nutrition Playbook to Break 100", and her transformative perspective have mended many minds, hearts, and spirits.

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