Creamer In Coffee May Not Be As Bad As You Thought, Study Finds
Don't like the taste of black coffee but think it's the only way to reap the drink's health perks? Good news: Research shows that some coffee additives aren't as harmful to health as you might think. While loading your cup with sugar won't be ideal, adding cream or nondairy creamer doesn't seem to make much of a difference in your brew's benefits.
Adding cream to coffee doesn't necessarily discount its benefits
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding cream or nondairy creamer to coffee was not significantly linked to weight changes. However, researchers found that adding sugar to coffee was associated with weight gain in some individuals, so this doesn't apply to super-sweetened creamers.
Researchers looked at three large prospective cohorts for this study, analyzing data on coffee habits and concurrent weight changes. On average, drinking unsweetened caffeinated coffee was associated with a slight reduction in weight over a four-year period. Adding 1 teaspoon of sugar to coffee daily was associated with modest weight gain (0.09 kg, or 0.19 pound) over four years. Adding creamer or nondairy creamer to coffee made no difference in weight, nor did drinking decaffeinated coffee instead of regular.
These findings squash the idea that adding cream to coffee automatically leads to unwanted weight gain. And while researchers did find that sugary coffee increased weight gain very slightly, it did so over a four-year period. So enjoying the occasional sweetened beverage shouldn't undo an otherwise healthy diet and lifestyle. Just be wary of making it a habit, as a diet too high in added sugar can increase your risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and various inflammatory diseases1.
Balancing the urge to make your morning cup of coffee just a bit healthier without overanalyzing it is important. If you find yourself feeling anxious over what foods you consume and which ones you skip, you may want to consult a therapist or your health care provider to manage this diet-related stress.
Tips to build a healthy cup of coffee
- Use natural sweeteners: If you want a sweet cup of coffee, sugar isn't the only option. Reach for natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, monk fruit sugar, coconut sugar, Stevia, and vanilla extract.
- Check your creamer: Some store-bought coffee creamers contain more sugar than adding a teaspoon to your cup would, so check the label. If you're not sure, opt for plain milk or unsweetened dairy-free milk.
- Add supplements: If you really want to level up your daily cup, consider adding supplements like collagen peptides or protein powder. These may even produce a creamier texture as a result.
People who just can't do black coffee may be happy to know that a new study suggests both cream and dairy-free creamers can be perfectly healthy additions. Added sugar may negatively affect overall health when consumed on a daily basis, so consider natural sweeteners if possible. Here, more on natural sweeteners if you're curious about the alternatives.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.