Why You Might Want To Think Twice About Non-Dairy Creamer

If you prefer your coffee to be lighter and sweeter than its natural state, non-dairy creamer is an easy thing to reach for; you get the creaminess, sweetness, and even seasonal flavoring all in one product. If you work in an office, it's even more likely that you use this type of additive, since it usually doesn't have to be refrigerated and is convenient to keep around. And while those who avoid dairy may feel they're making a better or even healthier choice this way, we're afraid we have to burst that bubble.

Virginia Cooperative Extension analyzed these products and found that not only does non-dairy creamer contain a lot of processed sugar, but if you're reaching for the powdered variety, you're also dosing your coffee with trans fats and hydrogenated oil, both of which are highly inflammatory and unhealthy. You might be thinking, "wait, I read nutrition labels, and my powdered creamer doesn't say anything about this type of fat." Well, the most insidious part of this is that manufacturers of these creamers legally avoid listing this information on the nutrition labels because the serving size is so small the amount of fat is considered negligible (via Everyday Health). But most people aren't using just one serving; they use more per cup, and if you have more than one cup per day, it all adds up. Instead, you have to check the ingredients list to be sure what's in your creamer, and you likely won't be thrilled. 

What to use instead

Okay, so you still want to avoid dairy but just can't do black coffee? Don't worry! There are some great alternatives out there that add both creaminess and flavor to your caffeine jolt. Adding coconut oil to your coffee adds satisfying, fatty creaminess while also benefiting your health rather than damaging it. Just one teaspoon provides you with healthy fats, speeds up your metabolism, improves energy levels, and may even be good for your digestion (via Healthline). If you happen to be on a ketogenic diet, it also helps your body to stay in ketosis.

Now, what about the flavor? Have a bottle of vanilla extract in your kitchen cupboard? Well, it might just be your new best friend. While most people may reserve vanilla extract for baking recipes, it can also go a long way toward making your morning coffee more enjoyable, and without the sugar or calories of flavor shots or syrups. Not only can it add flavor and aroma, but vanilla extract is high in antioxidants, which are compounds that help to scavenge free-radicals in your body. The smell of vanilla can also reduce anxiety and boost mood, according to Livestrong.

Before reaching for your stand-by creamer, give these substitutions a try and see how they make you feel!