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The Truth About Coffee Creamers

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People love their beloved creamers. It feels good to know that in seconds you’ll have a sweet, buttery, joyful cup of Joe. Coffee is what gets us up in the morning, gives us a gift for going to work and doing something we don’t really care about. There are so many brands of creamers out there, but let me tell you, they aren’t all created equal. Actually, this might surprise you but the creamer you may be using could be the reason why you have eczema, asthma, hormone imbalance, thyroid issues, skin rashes, and the list goes on.  I’m going to divulge a little later what happened to me when I started drinking Nestlé Natural Vanilla Creamer.  But first, I reviewed a few creamers that you may consuming as we speak – what I found may surprise you.

Non Dairy Creamers, No Refrigeration Required

My first question is: why do non dairy creamers contain milk? The powdered non dairy coffee creamer that I investigated was a Vons brand “Light Original Coffee Creamer” which offers a tid bit of CHOLESTEROL FREE – which would appear to be attractive to the cholesterol free consumer. It also says “lactose free”, which is great for the person who can’t tolerate dairy. On the front of this creamer it’s looking attractive; a beautiful cup of coffee, with a biscotti on the side of it and it offers “0 trans fat per serving” (great on the thighs too!). The problem lies when you turn the bottle over.  When you look at the nutritional facts, (which are completely worthless in my opinion) it appears to be a healthy choice. It’s only 10 little calories per serving. How nice! Right? WRONG! Now onto the deception…The ingredients.

Vons/Generic brand “Light Original Coffee Creamer”

The ingredients:

  • Corn syrup solids (GMO – but doesn’t mention that, plus all fat storing sugar)
  • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fat but advertises 0 trans fat plus GMO)
  • Sodium caseinate (a milk derivative, casein is a milk protein)
  • Sugar (GMO)
  • Dipotassium phosphate (often used in fertilizers but it’s a food additive)
  • Artificial color (synthetic food coloring)
  • Silicon dioxide (synthetic mineral)
  • Mono- and diglycerides (another form of trans fat that combines fat and water together)
  • Carrageenan (red indigestible seaweed that is used as a food additive)
  • Soy lecithin (derived from soybeans and used as a preservative)
  • Artificial flavor (who knows where this is derived from)

The answer to my question: “Why does non-dairy creamers contain milk?” it doesn’t contain actual milk/lactose but it does contain casein which is a protein derived from milk and eggs. For those who have a dairy allergy, you may still react to this product. The worst part of this product, it’s not real food by any means. It’s all chemicals or ingredients that have been made in a lab, and then food scientists bottled it and called it a yummy consumable, digestible coffee creamer. Continual use of this product will lead you to nothing good.

Carrageenan

If you haven’t already heard about carrageenan than I’m glad you’re reading this. Scientist over the years have tested this red seaweed that helps with gelling or thickening a product. It was approved by the FDA, and advertised as a natural thickening agent. This was great news for many all natural and organic products; it seems as though this is what they were looking for to make their product thick and beautiful.  You can find this additive in many organic, non dairy and meat products such as soy, almond, and coconut milks. Carrageenan was tested on several different lab animals over long term use, and most of the animals developed colitis and tumors. Further research has indicated this food additive causes intestinal permeability (leaky gut) in humans.

So what does that mean for you? It means over long term use carrageenan can cause the gut to become irritated, inflamed and create holes in the lining of the gut. Food gets caught in these holes wreaking havoc on the digestive system, which make a person chronically sick and ill.

Mini Moo’s Half and Half and Non-Refrigerated Creamers

Have you ever been to a restaurant and they give you the single serve creamers instead of the pourable cream? I was actually surprised to see what the additives were since they don’t require refrigeration.

Mini Moo Single Serve Half and Half

The ingredients:

  • Milk (GMO fed/raised cows)
  • Cream (GMO fed/raised cows)
  • Sodium Citrate (sodium salts of citric acid)
  • Datem (emulsifier derived from soy, canola, or palm oil – ALL GMO)
  • Tetra Sodium Pyrophosphate (salt, used as a thickener)
  • Carrageenan (see above)

This is definitely not a creamer you want to use on a daily basis. It’s a once in a blue moon, in a pinch kind of creamer. If you’re not sure what GMO stands for, it means “Genetically Modified Organism” which basically means the “food” has been engineered with superpower strength to kill bugs, withstand weather, and it comes with built in Roundup. Research is still being conducted on the affects of GMOs on the human body but only time will tell. GMOs have been banned in numerous countries, but since the US was the creator of GMO Franken foods, the likelihood of the US banning them is highly unlikely at this point.

When you add flavor to non-refrigerated creamers such as hazelnut, the ingredient list is miles long. The interesting part is the ingredients don’t list the actual hazelnut flavor, it just says “natural and artificial flavors” so who knows where the flavor is actually derived from. Now there are non-refrigerated liquid creamers that are advertised as “New!” but you have to refrigerate after opening.

Coffee Mate Liquid Creamer Hazelnut Flavor, New!

The ingredients:

  • Water (filtered?)
  • Sugar (GMO)
  • Partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil (contains transfat but not required by the FDA to
  • mention it on the label)
  • Less than 2% of sodium caseinate (milk protein)
  • Mono-and diglycerides (transfat; if this ingredient is added the FDA says it’s ok to list 0 trans fat on label)
  • Dipotassium phosphate (often used in fertilizers but it’s a food additive)
  • Cellulose gel (indigestible carbohydrate used as an anti-caking agent or thickener)
  • Natural and artificial flavors (flavors derived from some unknown place)
  • Color added (fake food coloring/dye)
  • Cellulose gum (similar to gel)
  • Carrageenan (see above)

On the bottom of the Mini Moo package, it says UHT-Processed which stands for Ultra High/Heat Temperature which is used for dairy products to withstand a shelf life of 6-9 months without being opened. Overall, I don’t feel these products are healthy choices by any means.

My experiment with Nestlé Natural Vanilla Creamer

A few years ago (before I nixed most dairy out of my life), I drank Nestlé Natural Vanilla Creamer. I was pleased with the ingredients since it’s only cream, milk, sugar, and natural flavor. I could pronounce and was familiar with all of the ingredients except for natural flavor. Why wouldn’t they just label it as vanilla? I wanted to see how I would feel after consuming this product again after being cleansed of dairy. My typical reactions to dairy are: wheezing, asthma, coughing, and over production of mucus buildup in my lungs. After consuming one bottle of Nestlé Natural Vanilla Creamer, I of course had the normal reaction to dairy but I developed eczema on my elbows and back of my arms. I never in my life reacted like that.

I called Nestlé to inquire about their “all natural ingredients”, as I was a little suspicious of such little ingredients mentioned. The Nestlé representative that I spoke to let me know their dairy does come from GMO fed cows, and the sugar they use is also GMO. The “natural flavor” is supposedly derived from vanilla beans.  After all of my questions, she became suspicious and started asking my name and wanted my information so I quickly ended the call. After ¾ of the bottle gone, I threw out the bottle. I cleansed my body and all symptoms cleared.

Dairy Alternatives

When I was posting pictures of different creamers on Instagram, people were shocked to know their creamer wasn’t good for them. Their justification was it’s their one bad thing they do in the morning. Many people boasted they use So Delicious Coconut Creamer which they thought was so much healthier than the other creamers I was posting. But is it a healthier option? Sure you’re omitting the dairy, trans fat factor but you aren’t escaping from the overly processed, sugar packed, carrageenan filled factor. Let’s take a closer look:

So Delicious (Dairy Free) Original Coconut Milk Creamer

The ingredients:

  • Organic coconut milk (water (filtered?), organic coconut cream)
  • Dried cane syrup (could be GMO? Doesn’t specify)
  • Colored with titanium dioxide (earth mineral often used in natural, organic makeup)
  • Dipotassium Phosphate (often used in fertilizers but it’s a food additive)
  • Carrageenan (see above)
  • Guar gum (derived from guar beans – it’s all natural but can be harsh on a weak digestive system; causes gas)

What I deducted is this creamer is a healthier option; BUT the problem lies with long term use of carrageenan and possibly guar gum that could also harm your gut. Organic canned coconut cream / milk mostly contains guar gum so if you have a reaction to canned (BPA free) coconut milk know that it’s most likely not the coconut milk itself but guar gum that you’re reacting to.

Nikki Jencen's Homemade Coconut Coffee Creamer

In short, seek out healthier alternatives when it comes to coffee creamers. Start your day off right by having warm lemon water in the morning, have something to eat then drink coffee with an all natural creamer with only 1-2 ingredients listed. If you tolerate dairy and don’t want to give it up, the best option that I’ve found is Horizon Organic Half and Half, the ingredients are simple and all organic: organic grade A Milk, Organic Grade A Cream. If you stick true to the Paleo diet, omitting dairy is part of your daily life. If you’re missing a good coffee creamer, I suggest a homemade coconut creamer – either using real coconut milk/cream from an actual coconut OR buying it in the canned version (most all contain guar gum) add coconut sugar or raw honey (or you can omit altogether), with a little vanilla extract or beans.

Have fun exploring with new, natural flavors to brighten your morning cup of Joe.

Please share:

Susan

Monday 3rd of January 2022

I was so glad to find this article that confirms my recent experience. After multiple prescriptions for my wheezy cough that didn't help, I removed creamer from my diet and my wheezy cough went away almost overnight.

Sridhar

Saturday 7th of September 2019

There is no ingredients list in Nestle Half Half small ones but carton had it and it listed in addition to milk and cream (not sure if it is organic), carrageenan, datem, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, sodium citrate - all of it when I googled are found to be having bad reputation at least in animal studies.. decided to completely stay away forthwith.

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Saturday 17th of August 2019

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Denise C Williams

Wednesday 31st of July 2019

I am looking for a healthy powdered coffee creamer do you have any recipes

Michael Shim

Thursday 24th of January 2019

I recently developed a severe pork allergy. Today, I found out the most glycerides(mono, di) are made from pork fats, just like gelatin is. I've been finding new elements made from prok almost on a weekly basis and it's driving me nuts.