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Gone are the days of simply adding milk and sugar to your coffee—with names like Snickerdoodle, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and Creme Brulee, there is a wide array of coffee creamers on the market that are not-so-good for our health.
Although coffee is highly nutritious, with just a handful of calories, no sugar, and a host of antioxidants, the addition of sweet coffee creamers can negate some of the health benefits.
If you’re looking for a healthy way to add some flavor to your morning cup of joe, you’re in luck—there are plenty of options to make your coffee delicious without additives and unhealthy fats.
In this article, find out more about seven healthy coffee creamers to buy, plus the top unhealthy ingredients to watch out for when choosing a creamer.
Nutpods provides a variety of shelf-stable coffee creamers consisting of either coconut, oat, or almond milk bases.
Unlike many other flavored creamers, all the Nutpods creamers contain zero sugar and only 10 calories per serving—plus, they are keto-friendly, plant-based, kosher, gluten-free, carrageenan- and soy-free, and non-GMO.
Some popular flavors include French Vanilla, Chocolate, Hazelnut, and the seasonal Pumpkin Spice and Toasted Marshmallow.
One of the leading producers of almond milk, Califia Farms is also known for its wide variety of non-dairy coffee creamers in dozens of flavors.
Califia Farms Better Half line is a blend of almond and coconut cream that is touted as closest to the “real thing,” containing less than 1g of added sugar per serving with plenty of coconut-based creaminess.
Plus, they have a Barista Blend line and several seasonal flavors like Pumpkin Spice, Maple Caramel, Toffee, and Holiday Nog.
While the nutritional information varies between flavors, all of their coffee creamers are low in sugar, lactose-free, gluten-free, and contain minimal ingredients.
Laird Superfood produces eight dairy-free, low-sugar, and gluten-free powdered creamers.
Rather than cane sugar, Laird uses small amounts of coconut sugar to sweeten their creamers lightly.
Additionally, these creamers do not contain trans fats or unhealthy oils—Laird uses extra-virgin coconut oil to provide the creaminess.
The eight flavors are Unsweetened, Original, Pumpkin Spice, Turmeric, Cacao, Original with Functional Mushrooms, Vanilla, and Chocolate Mint, making Laird the most uniquely flavored creamer on this list.
With additions like turmeric, cacao, and functional mushrooms, you can now say your morning cup of coffee has reached superfood status.
Elmhurst 1925 carries a line of non-dairy creamers made with certified gluten-free oats and just a bit of cane sugar—less than 1g per serving.
They are all dairy-free, vegan, non-GMO, and carrageenan-free, carrying tasty flavors like French Vanilla, Pistachio Creme, Chai Spice, and Caramel Macchiato.
Plus, Elmhurst uses a patented HydroRelease® Method that uses water to preserve the integrity of fats, proteins, and fiber from their ingredients.
What Makes a Healthy Coffee Creamer?
Healthy coffee creamers typically contain less sugar, lower amounts of unhealthy fats, and fewer additives or artificial ingredients.
Many healthy coffee creamers consist of non-dairy milk, including almond, coconut, or oat milk, and are either sugar-free or contain small amounts of non-refined sugar or natural sugar-free sweeteners, like stevia.
Although it may not seem like a significant change, switching to a healthy alternative to coffee creamer may improve your health by reducing the number of empty calories you consume and leading to better blood sugar control.
These differences between traditional and healthy coffee creamer alternatives could lead to increased weight loss and improved health outcomes.
Despite the small amount of creamer you may add to your coffee, the unhealthy ingredients can add up—especially if you drink more than one cup of coffee per day (no judgment from us if you do).
If you want to take a small step to improve your health in significant ways, start with your morning cup of joe.
4 Unhealthy Coffee Creamer Ingredients
Traditional coffee creamers may include additives or artificial ingredients to make the creamer whiter, creamier, more shelf-stable, or better incorporated into the coffee.
As coffee creamers typically don’t contain any real cream (despite their name), many of these additives are thickening or emulsifying agents.
One is carrageenan, an algae-based compound that may cause digestive issues or inflammation.
These coffee creamers may also contain artificial flavors (you won’t find any cookies in that Thin Mint-flavored creamer) and inflammatory preservatives like BHA, BHT, and polysorbate 60.
Although some coffee creamers use artificial sweeteners (we’ll get to those in a minute), others rely on the addition of regular sugar to sweeten your cup—including corn syrup, corn solids, or high fructose corn syrup.
Some coffee creamer brands can contain up to 5 grams of added sugar per one-tablespoon serving—so, if you drink multiple cups of coffee daily, you may reach 15 grams of sugar or more throughout the day.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are also not ideal to have in your coffee creamer.
Despite not containing any sugar, these non-caloric sweeteners could be detrimental to health.
Although research is not entirely conclusive, some studies have linked artificial sweeteners (like Splenda, Equal, and Sweet-n-Low) to weight gain or obesity, gut health or microbiome disturbances, and dysregulated blood sugar or metabolic control.
4. Unhealthy Fats
Lastly, traditional coffee creamers tend to contain unhealthy fats like trans fats and inflammatory vegetable oils.
Trans fats, also known as partially hydrogenated oils, are used in some coffee creamers because they have a longer shelf life and add texture.
These fats are highly inflammatory and can cause heart disease and an increased risk of mortality.
Although trans fats were banned from the U.S. food supply in 2018, some shelf-stable products—like powdered creamers—may have been produced before then and could still contain the unhealthy fats.
Vegetable oils are not as harmful as trans fats, but some research has linked these oils—including canola, vegetable, and soybean oil—to increased inflammation and cardiovascular risk factors.
FAQs About Healthy Coffee Creamers
Which Non-Dairy Creamer Is the Healthiest?
Many non-dairy coffee creamers are healthy—you’ll want to look for one that is low in sugar (0g or 1g of added sugar per serving is ideal) and doesn’t contain unhealthy ingredients like vegetable oils, trans fat, or artificial preservatives or fillers.
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