Dr. Kellyann on set with Dr. Oz

The Truth About Different Coffee Creamers

Dr. Kellyann on The Dr. Oz Show

Watch as I uncover the truth about different coffee creamers. How are they different, and what you should look for in the ingredients when shopping.

How Are Coffee Creamers Different Than Milk Or Half And Half?

Coffee creamer could come in liquid or powdered form. They are extremely popular for the everyday coffee drinker to use. The surprising thing here is that most of these creamers have no real cream or milk in them. Instead companies use other ingredients to make you think it tastes like real cream, but that’s not the case.

  • Half and half is a combination of milk and cream. Cream is the fat that naturally rises to the top of whole milk. Half-and-half contains between 10.5 and 18 percent milkfat, that’s what gives your coffee that thick consistency and richness.
  • Milk, on the other hand can have anywhere from 1% to 3% milkfat. The consistency of milk in coffee will not be as rich as something like half and half

Let’s zero in on traditional creamers – which come in plastic containers in the refrigerated section of the store… If these creamers don’t’ have cream in them at all… what are they made of?

Some of these include over 10 different ingredients. Instead of the real ingredients like milk or cream, some companies may be using oils to give you that creamy consistency. In addition they may also use corn syrup which is basically adding more sugar to mix. They’re also adding something called carrageen. A lot of people are concerned that it may be linked to inflammation but for me it’s just a sign that this is a more processed product.

They’re also including natural flavors which again is used to help with the taste. Most of them are designated as non-dairy but when you look closer at the ingredient label, it says they have a milk derivative

Should people with milk allergies worry about it?

If you look closer at the label a lot of these creamers say they are a non dairy product which I don’t think a lot of people realize. That just means they don’t contain lactose. However, some do contain casein, which is a milk protein. You’ll see on the label it may say “sodium caseinate” or micellar casein. This can trigger reactions in those who have a milk allergy. The FDA says that you must list casein as an ingredient on the label. A lot of these creamers come in all sorts of flavors from cinnamon buns to actual candy bar flavors.

How much sugar can you get from adding these into your drinks??

We looked at all the different types of flavored and traditional creamers and we found they can have up to 12 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoon. This could be equal to eating two chocolate chip cookies for breakfast!

What other surprising ingredients did you find in the flavored creamers?

Some companies may be adding things like cane sugar in addition to artificial flavors. The other ingredients they may be adding is palm oil – this is used to help with that creamy consistency. As a nutritionist, I watch out for palm oil, which is a saturated fat that can increase your bad cholesterol

The Powdered Creamers

These don’t need to be refrigerated yet you stir it into coffee and it makes it creamy… what’s actually giving it that creamy consistency? Powdered creamers are usually non-dairy creamers, which we talked about earlier… all of these oils like veggie oil or palm kernel oil and even hydrogenated coconut are used to give you that creamy texture. But, buyer beware… all of these oils are highly processed and even though they give you that velvety smoothness and thicker consistency once mixed in with your coffee, don’t be fooled, it’s not real cream at all. They also contain something called anneto – which is a pigment that provides a yellow color so the creamer looks more dairy-ish… it doesn’t concern me but it’s good to keep in mind. They also contain the milk derivative that we talked about earlier – so if you are someone who has an allergen to milk, keep away from this.

We also looked at the nutritional value.

Surprisingly powdered creamers can have 0 grams of sugar and only 10 calories per serving. I prefer something that has an expiration date as opposed to a product that’s highly processed with shelf stabilizers that are used to make it last longer.

The New Non Dairy Alternatives

There are the almond, soy and even coconut creamers out there.

What Surprising Ingredients Did You Find In These Creamers?

I like that most of the non dairy alternatives actually have the almond, soy or coconut milk as the first ingredient. This tells us right off the bat that they’re actually using these products in our creamers. If you look further you’ll see they may be using ingredients like cane sugar, other oils and stabilizers to help with the consistency in addition to natural flavors which may give you more of that coconut or almond taste that you’re used to when you drink traditional almond or coconut milk.

What Should You Look For When Buying Creamers At The Supermarket?

Out of all of these creamers, I like an almond milk creamer that has no added sugar… look for the kinds that have the least amount of ingredients… avoid the creamers that don’t have any milk or cream in them because they usually contain highly processed oils.

If You’re Filling Up Your Coffee Mug So It Ends Up Looking White, What Coffee Benefits Are Really Getting?

If you’re filling up your mug where your coffee ends up looking super white, chances are you’re canceling out all of the health benefits that coffee can give you. Coffee is a very low calorie drink but a lot of people don’t realize that the creamer adds up really fast! If you fill up ½ your mug with creamer, that’s a total of 280 calories in addition to 12 grams of fat. You’re essentially diluting the coffee and if you’re adding more sugar on top of this, you may end up spiking your blood sugar and crashing shortly after.

What’s The Perfect Coffee Formula To Avoid An Energy Crash And Not Be Overloaded With Extra Calories?

We know that most creamers don’t contain any real milk or cream so what I suggest doing is adding a quarter cup of whole milk to your mug of coffee. It’s a total of 40 calories, 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fat! This allows you to get the energy you need to power through your day. And you’ll also avoid that sugar crash that you may get from creamers!

Coffee is like wine. It has different notes and flavors and whatever you add into it should compliment it. Add up to 1/4th cup of milk according to taste… some people even use oat milk! It’s the new trending milk that not only tastes amazing in coffee but you also get the nutrients from the oats. It’s the perfect alternative to those who avoid soy… plus it has 68 calories less per quarter cup than creamer.

Keep thinking Big and living BOLD!