Is Coffee Mate Bad for You?

It may be your go-to creamer but have you ever wondered, ‘is coffee mate bad for you?’ Sadly it’s not the healthiest option out there. Read on to find out why.

Is Coffee Mate Bad for You
Coffee Mate is a go-to option for a dairy-free creamer

For many people looking for a dairy-free creamer, particularly one that does not have a ton of fat, Coffee Mate is their go-to option. On the outside, Coffee Mate appears to be a great choice. And to many, it tastes delicious! But underneath its creamy texture and delightful flavors, Coffee Mate is not all that it seems.

The temptation of great taste, a long shelf life, and a smooth texture are selling points for Coffee Mate. Many people choose it believing it is a healthy option; however, sadly, that’s not the case. Follow along with us as we take a closer look at Coffee Mate.

Is Coffee Mate Bad for You

If you are looking for a healthier option for adding some creaminess to your morning coffee, a non-dairy alternative is a good solution. Coffee Mate is the most popular brand of non-dairy coffee creamer. However, that doesn’t mean it is healthy for your body.

Coffee Mate isn’t a healthy option when considering the ingredients, particularly the original powdered and liquid varieties. It is a highly processed food and contains more artificial ingredients than we would like in a healthy, “good for you” coffee creamer.

Why isn’t Coffee Mate good for you? Well, we’ve briefly alluded to the reason. The ingredients could be better. Though it is very popular, it is filled with processed sugars, artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, and unnatural preservatives.

There are no vitamins, minerals, or other “good for you” ingredients. As such, Coffee Mate provides no nutritional benefit to your body.

The host of processed ingredients may make this product harmful to some people. Many health experts will note that the hydrogenated oils in Coffee Mate are one of the most toxic ingredients for your heart.

Now that you know that Coffee Mate is bad for you. Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients and why it is the wrong choice for a healthy diet. 

What Is Coffee Mate Creamer?

In 1961 when Carnation introduced Coffee Mate creamer, it was designed to be a non-perishable option for adding cream and sugar to your coffee. The base of the original product was Sodium caseinate, a milk derivative that does not contain lactose and does not need to be refrigerated.

Over the years, the ingredients of Coffee Mate have changed. Today’s version still contains Sodium caseinate, but it also contains many other ingredients that are not ideal for your body.

If you look at the ingredient list for Coffee Mate, you’ll find the following:

  • Corn syrup solids
  • Hydrogenated vegetable oils (coconut, palm kernel, or soybean)
  • Sodium caseinate
  • Dipotassium phosphate
  • Sodium aluminosilicate
  • Mono and diglycerides
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial colors

The Sugars

Let’s start with corn syrup solids. Corn syrup is a highly processed sugar and is 100% glucose. When consumed too frequently or in large quantities, refined sugar may contribute to unhealthy body weight. 

Refined sugars are linked to many diseases associated with obesity, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood lipids, and high blood pressure. 

Some research has shown that refined sugars like corn syrup solids inhibit the ability of our body to utilize essential nutrients and micronutrients. 

Finally, because refined sugars trigger a craving for sugary foods, you tend to choose sweets over more nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.

The Fats

Dairy-based products are high in fat, and some non-dairy milk alternatives are also high in fat. One of the draws to Coffee Mate is that it has less fat compared to dairy and some non-dairy options. However, that doesn’t mean it is low in fat. 

The second ingredient in Coffee Mate is one of three hydrogenated vegetable oils. These hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils serve two purposes. 

Dairy products on wooden table
Dairy-based products are high in fat

First, they create a creamy, smooth texture, which many people like for their coffee. The second is to increase the shelf life of the product. 

The problem with hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils is that they contain a high amount of trans-fats. The original liquid oil is not high in trans-fats. However, when hydrogen is added to the liquid, making the oil thicker and more “solid, ” trans-fats are produced.

This process turns relatively healthy fats into very unhealthy oils.

Research has shown that hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils and those foods high in trans-fats are directly related to high cholesterol. They increase the levels of bad LDL cholesterol while at the same time decreasing the levels of good HDL cholesterol in your blood. 

This poor LDL and HDL cholesterol balance increase your heart disease risk. Hydrogenated oils are also linked to the hardening of your arteries, which can lead to stroke and heart attacks.

The Chemicals

Another problematic ingredient in Coffee Mate is Dipotassium phosphate. The purpose of this ingredient is to increase the shelf life and to keep the liquid creamer from coagulating. It isn’t a particularly scary-sounding ingredient, but it isn’t used just in foods.

Many non-food products, including cosmetics and personal care products, contain Dipotassium phosphate. It is not a terrible ingredient, but it has little nutritional value, so it doesn’t improve Coffee Mate or make it more healthy.

Possible Negative Side Effects of Coffee Mate Creamer

Why do many people choose Coffee Mate creamer? Well, sensitivity to dairy products is a widespread problem. It is hard for many people to digest, and the discomfort caused by dairy drives the search for non-dairy alternatives. 

While Coffee Mate seems like a good alternative since it does not contain any dairy or lactose, this product’s ingredients can harm your health. 

Possible short-term side effects of Coffee Mate

  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Spikes in blood sugar
  • Inflammation

Possible long-term side effects of Coffee Mate

  • Weight gain
  • Vitamin and mineral depletion
  • Elevated blood lipids
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke 

Ingredients to Be Aware Of in Coffee Mate Creamer

We’ve already discussed three of the most problematic ingredients in Coffee Mate creamer; corn syrup solids, hydrogenated vegetable oils, and Dipotassium phosphate. However, these are only some ingredients you should be concerned with.

Coffee Mate uses a few different ingredients for flavoring and coloring their product. None of these are particularly good for you, and they are all artificial. It is better to flavor your foods with natural products like honey or fruit-based syrups.

One ingredient that we want to point out is Carrageenan. This ingredient is used to stabilize the creamer and works as an emulsifier. It won’t cause actual harm, but it has been linked to uncomfortable conditions like digestive distress, inflammation, and bloating.          

Alternatives to Using Coffee Mate Creamer

If we’ve convinced you to bail on your Coffee Mate, you’re probably thinking about possible alternatives. There are suitable additives for your coffee that are healthy, natural, and free of processed and refined ingredients.

A cup of hot black coffee
Black coffee is a fat-free, dairy-free, low-calorie drink
  • Drink it black! That’s right, skip the sweeteners and cream all together. Black coffee may take some getting used to, but coffee is a fat-free, dairy-free, low-calorie drink on its own. Some experts believe skipping the sweeteners and cream improves your body’s ability to absorb the antioxidants in coffee more efficiently.
  • Unrefined sweeteners like stevia, honey, or agave are great alternatives to refined sugars. These products are also better for the planet than corn base sugars.
  • Nut milk is an excellent way to give your coffee a creamy texture and flavor. If you are looking for a dairy-free alternative, try unsweetened coconut, oat, or almond milk.
  • Actual dairy products like whole milk, cream, or half-and-half are great if you want something other than a dairy-free option. These are high in fat and calories, but when added in moderation, they are a good source of calcium and protein.     

With all those choices, there has to be a good alternative out there for you. If consumed in moderate portions and infrequently, Coffee Mate creamer won’t cause you significant problems. Nevertheless, drinking lots of it can lead to various health problems and digestive discomfort.