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Healthy Recipe Doctor

with Elaine Magee, MPH, RD

Elaine Magee's blog has now been retired. We appreciate all the wisdom and support she has brought to the WebMD community throughout the years.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Are You Getting Creamed By Your Creamer?

Photo Credit: Colin and Sarah

A quick glance at the nutrition label of your non-dairy creamer initially gives you comfort…you see 10 calories and half a gram of saturated fat. Then a double take at the portion size brings you back to reality – one teaspoon!

Most of us use at least 1 tablespoon to cream our coffee. Do I hear 2 tablespoons? Next time you fix your cup of coffee, measure the creamer and find out for sure what your personal creamer serving really is.

I’m talking about the liquid non-dairy creamers that come in different flavors that you buy in the refrigerated section next to milk. If you go this route, it’s important to check the ingredient list too, because some of the companies use partially hydrogenated oil which means trans fats are lurking too, along with saturated fat.

Two tablespoons of some of these creamers will add 40 to 80 calories and up to 2 grams of saturated fat and .9 grams of trans fat for every 2-tablespoon serving. If you are a “3 cups of coffee” type of person, this can add up fast in a bad way (up to 240 calories, 6 grams of saturated and 2.7 grams of trans).

What about the soy based or fat free creamers? They must be better right? Actually, most of them are! International Delight Fat Free contains zero saturated and trans fat and 60 calories for a 2-tablespoon serving. Silk brand liquid soy creamers add an average of 30 calories, around .5 grams of saturated fat and zero trans fat per 2 tablespoon serving. The flavored fat free creamers by Coffee-mate (French vanilla or hazelnut) are better than the original types though with 50 calories, .2 grams of saturated fat and .3 grams of trans per 2-tablespoon serving.

You can always try pouring in some fat free half and half. That will only cost you 20 calories per 2 tablespoon serving.

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Posted by: Elaine Magee, RD at 7:00 am

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