how much sugar is in coffee creamer

How Much Sugar is in Coffee Creamer?

That first cup of coffee in the morning gives you life and prepares you for the day ahead. For many of us, it’s the only thing about the early morning that we look forward to.

Coffee itself is not just a functional part of your morning (or afternoon) routine, it’s loaded with health benefits. However, everything changes when you add coffee creamer to it.

Sure, the creamer is necessary for some who don’t like the bitter taste of black coffee. But are you aware of just how much sugar is in coffee creamer? If not, you’re in for an unpleasant surprise today.

We’ll take a look at the sugar content in common coffee creamers, from the basics like Coffee Mate French Vanilla (40g!) to half and half (just 2g). You’ll also learn about the idea of sugar-free coffee creamer and whether it’s really a better solution or not. 

Does Coffee Creamer Have Sugar?

Wait, does coffee creamer have sugar? It all depends. Sure, there are low-sugar and even sugar-free coffee creamer options out there. However, most people are using the good stuff - and this is where the problem lies.

Traditional flavored creamers, like vanilla, hazelnut, or caramel flavors, typically contain high levels of added sugars, which enhance flavor but also add unnecessary calories. 

On the other hand, more basic options such as half-and-half or heavy cream generally have little to no sugar. These may not have the same fun, flavorful taste, but they can give your morning cup of java a richer texture and taste without the health consequences. 

Meanwhile, plant-based alternatives like almond, soy, and coconut milk can vary. Some are sweetened to improve taste, while others are naturally low in sugar, a perfect pick for health-conscious consumers.

There’s clearly a lot of variability here, so let’s get more specific about how much sugar is in coffee creamer below.

How Much Sugar is in Coffee Creamer?

Part of what makes the sugar content in coffee creamer so convoluted is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for what constitutes a creamer. 

Maybe you have a favorite brand and flavor you buy at the store - from Coffee Mate to International Delight, Great Value, and more.

Or, perhaps you use something a bit more natural, like good old heavy cream, half and half, coconut milk, or some other plant-based creamer. There’s so much variety out there, but here’s a quick overview of the most common choices:

    • Coffee Mate French Vanilla Creamer: A favorite for those who like a sweet, creamy touch in their coffee. A single tablespoon of Coffee Mate French Vanilla Creamer contains about 5 grams of sugar, making it one of the sweeter options available.
    • Coffee Mate Original Creamer: Offers a more subtle, creamy taste without the strong vanilla flavor, containing about 1 gram of sugar per tablespoon. It’s a slightly better option for those looking to cut down on sugar.
    • Half and Half: This is a mixture of milk and cream that generally contains around a half a gram of sugar per tablespoon, which is not added sugar either - it’s naturally occurring in lactose.
    • Heavy Cream: This richer and thicker alternative has less than 0.5 grams of sugar per tablespoon. It’s virtually sugar-free, making it an excellent option for those on low-carb or ketogenic diets.
  • Coconut Milk: In its natural form it contains less than 0.5 grams of sugar per tablespoon. However, there are many sweetened coconut milk products out there that contain much more - so be careful when shopping to make sure you know what you’re getting.
    • Soy Milk: Unsweetened varieties are naturally low in sugar with around 0.5g per tablespoon. Again, though, many sweetened varieties can have a lot more sugar than you may realize.
    • Almond Milk: Like soy milk, unsweetened almond milk is a low-sugar alternative, with around 0.5 grams of sugar per tablespoon. As with all the other plant-based options, opting for unsweetened versions is key to keeping sugar intake down.

    Now, before we go any further it’s important to note that the vast majority of users are not consuming a single serving of coffee creamer with their morning mud. 

    Think about how little a tablespoon of liquid is, and then, compare that to how much you actually use daily. You may realize you’re consuming as much as 20-30g of sugar with a traditional flavored creamer if you like a really light-colored coffee!

    Why the Coffee Creamer Sugar Content Can Be Concerning

    If you’re just putting a small amount of a plant-based creamer or even half and half or heavy cream in your coffee, you probably have nothing to worry about. A little bit of sugar won’t kill you - but a lot might.

    Coffee is a daily ritual, after all. And you might have multiple cups throughout the day. It’s not uncommon for those using a traditional creamer to consume 2-3x their daily sugar intake guidelines just in coffee creamer alone.

    But why does this matter - what’s the big deal with sugar?

    Impact on Metabolic Health

    Regularly consuming high-sugar coffee creamers can cause blood sugar levels to spike. Over the long term, these spikes may contribute to insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. 

    For those already managing diabetes, sugary creamers can complicate blood sugar control, making management more challenging. You’ll need to avoid these in favor of a low-sugar or sugar-free alternative. 

    Hidden Calories

    When you see sugar in coffee creamers, think about all the extra calories you’re consuming. While these might seem minor in the context of a single serving, they can lead to unintentional calorie surplus over the day, which may contribute to weight gain over the course of time. 

    Risk of Heart Disease

    Studies have shown that excessive sugar intake is linked to an increased risk of developing heart disease - which just so happens to be among the leading causes of death in the US.

    Ingredients in many sweetened creamers can contribute to elevated triglycerides and unhealthy cholesterol levels, both of which are prominent risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

    Dental Health

    Frequent consumption of sugary beverages, including sweetened coffee, is associated with an increased risk of dental issues like cavities and tooth decay. 

    The sugar in creamers feeds harmful bacteria in the mouth, producing acids that erode tooth enamel. Coffee itself is already highly acidic as well, making this a dual-pronged attack on your dental hygiene. 

    The Appeal of Sugar-Free Coffee Creamer

    Clearly the sugar in coffee is a problem - so, is the solution as simple as switching to a sugar-free coffee creamer? These are a popular choice among those who want to lower their sugar intake and still enjoy a rich, flavorful cup of coffee.

    It’s not just about lowering the sugar content, but also bringing the calories down a bit. These sugar-free alternatives are low in calories as well, appealing to those who want to watch their weight.

    You also won’t have to worry about the spikes in blood sugar levels like you would with a traditional coffee creamer. This is why those with diabetes or monitoring their glycemic control prefer these.

    Now, you do need to set your expectations a bit if you haven’t tried these yet - the absence of sugar will lead to a more bitter, boring taste. 

    You may not notice much if you only put a little bit of creamer in your coffee, but those who prefer a really light coffee color will notice the difference.

    But, it’s also important that you’re aware of the issues sugar-free coffee creamer has itself. So, why is sugar-free coffee creamer bad for you in some cases?

    Is Sugar-Free Coffee Creamer Bad For You, Though?

    You may be wondering, where does the sweetness come from in these low or no sugar alternatives? Artificial sweeteners, like stevia vs sucralose vs aspartame. While these don’t have any caloric consequences, they do have a few concerning implications in their own right.

    For example, some studies have referenced the impact these artificial sweeteners have on your gut microbiome. They kill off good bacteria that is essential for digestion, creating a sense of imbalance in the body. 

    The gut plays a role in so many of your body’s other natural processes beyond digestion too, from maintaining your immune system to influencing lung function. There’s even a connection between the gut and the brain.

    But beyond the gut issues, sugar-free creamers often contain various additives and preservatives to enhance flavor and texture, which could raise health concerns over long-term consumption. These ingredients can sometimes lead to digestive discomfort and other minor health issues. 

    This is why so many individuals are left looking for a stevia, sucralose, or aspartame free drink instead. Don’t worry - we’ll share a DIY sugar-free coffee creamer recipe you can try below that doesn’t contain any artificial sweeteners!

    DIY Sugar Free Coffee Creamer Recipe to Try

    Knowing how much sugar is in coffee creamer alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, heavy cream, and other plant-based sweeteners, you can easily create your own guilt-free goodness from the comfort of your home. Here’s our personal favorite that we drink every morning:

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
    • 1 cup of coconut milk (the thick kind from a can for creaminess)
    • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
    • 2 tablespoons of pureed dates (as a natural sweetener)
    • A pinch of cinnamon (optional, for added flavor)

    Instructions:

    1. Combine Milks: In a saucepan, combine the unsweetened almond milk and coconut milk. Warm over medium heat, but do not boil.
    2. Add Flavor: Add the scraped vanilla bean (pod and seeds) or vanilla extract to the milk mixture. If using a vanilla bean, let the pod simmer in the milk for a few minutes to infuse the flavor.
    3. Sweeten Naturally: Stir in the pureed dates into the mixture. Dates are a great source of natural sweetness and won't spike your blood sugar levels as refined sugars do. Continue to heat the mixture gently, stirring until the dates are well integrated and the mixture is smooth.
    4. Enhance Flavor: If desired, add a pinch of cinnamon for a warm, spicy note that complements the vanilla.
    5. Blend for Smoothness: Remove from heat. If you used a vanilla bean, remove the pod. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend on high until the creamer is smooth and frothy.
    6. Store: Pour the creamer into a glass jar or bottle and store in the refrigerator. Shake well before each use as natural separation may occur
    7. Enjoy: Use your homemade, sugar-free creamer to add a rich, subtly sweet flavor to your coffee, all without any artificial ingredients or added sugars.

    When in Doubt, Try Black Coffee!

    Try it out yourself and see what you think! Or, try getting high-quality craft coffee beans, a french press, and give straight black coffee a try. Like most things in life, it’s an acquired taste - but it’s the best way to enjoy coffee from a health standpoint.

    You can cut back on the amount of coffee you use each day so that you become more accustomed to less and less sweetness rather than going “cold turkey”.

    Whatever approach you take, just make sure you are putting your wellbeing first and foremost. Sure, we love the taste of a french vanilla late as much as you do - but knowing how much sugar is in coffee creamer, is it worth it? We think not.

    Wrapping Up Our Guide to How Much Sugar is in Coffee Creamer

    That just about does it for our guide on how much sugar is in coffee creamer. The exact amount of sugar you’re getting in your morning cup of coffee all depends on the brand and style of creamer you’re using. Of course, how much creamer you use plays a role here too.

    It can range from just a few grams to 10-20 grams of sugar per cup of coffee. The good news is you have plenty of low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives at your fingertips, just take note of the problems with artificial sweeteners and avoid these as well.

    Sugar is all around you, and as you now know, it can have detrimental effects on your health. The first step in avoidance is awareness - so learn all about the sugar content in your favorite drinks below:

    But before you go, we want to introduce you to some of the tastiest, healthiest low sugar drinks you can get your hands on, right here at Oobli. While we can’t solve your coffee crisis, our low-sugar tea and lemonade are a delicious, refreshing beverage you can enjoy any time of day.

    They’re sweetened by sweet protein, which is an innovative natural sweetener that is up to 5,000 times sweeter than sugar, but without any of the harmful effects of artificial sweeteners.

    This means not only are you indulging in a tasty treat, but you can do so with complete peace of mind. We also have low-sugar chocolate for those with an insatiable sweet tooth.

    So, join us on our anti-sugar revolution over at Oobli and taste the difference firsthand today. We’re confident you’ll be back for more!

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