How Toxic is your Coffee Creamer?
If you are like me and millions of Americans, you NEED something to sweeten your coffee. I know I do. I don't particularly love the taste of coffee, but I like the "dessert coffee" taste. I used to love all the coffee mate creamers that tasted like cookies and yummy desserts.
Well, until I started to read labels and understand what actually was in them. Many are not able to have dairy, so simple cream is not an option. However, using something where there are partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, shouldn't be either. Thankfully we have a lot of better options these days.
Let's take a closer look at why some of these ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, casein and other ingredients aren't good for you.
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
Hydrogenated vegetable oils are highly processed and devoid of nutritional value. Hydrogenation is a chemical reaction that has been heavily used in the processing of cooking oils and fats. This process turns unsaturated fatty acids into saturated ones. Hydrogen is also added to vegetable oils in the processing to keep these oils solid at room temperature, also making the shelf-life longer. There are 2 categories of hydrogenated vegetable oils. Partially and fully hydrogenated. "Full hydrogenation increases the amount of saturated fat, although much of it is in the form of stearic acid, which is converted by the body to oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, which doesn't raise levels of bad cholesterol. This makes fully hydrogenated fats less harmful than partially hydrogenated fats". (source) Partially hydrogenated are also known as trans fats. Trans fats have no benefit to humans while also increasing levels of LDL (low-density lipoproteins - bad cholesterol) and lowering levels of HDL (high-density lipoproteins - good cholesterol). This can increase the risk of heart disease, specifically coronary artery disease.
Corn syrup, also known as high-fructose corn syrup is a cheap sweetener added to many types of food. Fructose in and of itself if a type of sugar that is found in nature. "It can be found in honey, tree and vine fruits, flowers, berries, and most root vegetables." (source). High Fructose Corn Syrup on the other hand is also a sweetener made from highly processed corn starch. It is made by processing the starch into syrup where enzymes are added to make some of the glucose into fructose which is much sweeter. HCFS can be found in desserts, soda, bread, sauces, cereals and so much more! This substance has been linked to the obesity epidemic and health related issues like heart disease, gout, diabetes and cancer.
Casein or Sodium Caseinate
Casein isn't a huge deal unless you have any kind of dairy intolerance. Even though your non-dairy creamer doesn't contain actual dairy, it contains casein. Casein is the main protein in milk and coagulated in cheese. According to webmd.com "A casein allergy occurs when your body's immune system mistakenly thinks the protein is harmful and inappropriately produces allergic (IgE) antibodies for protection. It cause symptoms which may include:
Swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, face, or throat
Skin reactions such as hives, a rash, or red, itchy skin
Nasal congestion, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, or wheezing
You might even find casein in powdered creamers. I have seen creamers list Sodium Caseinate, not casein but don't be fooled. It is a derivative of casein. It keeps us guessing.
Mono and Diglycerides
They are emulsifiers to help fat and water blend together. We use forms of them in aromatherapy product making to help the essential oil blend with the water, so it doesn't sit on top and cause harm to the individual. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, they are fatty acids which are similar to triglycerides, the predominant fat in food. In this case they are classified as an emulsifier and not a lipid. Seem pretty harmless, right? Well...... high concentrations of triglycerides in the blood could indicate an elevated risk of stroke. Mono and Diglycerides are considered trans-fats and may increase risk of heart disease, and diabetes. They also raise LDL cholesterol levels and lower HDL like hydrogenated vegetable oils do. See a pattern here?
This inorganic salt is effective as an emulsifier, stabilizer and texturizer. It is used to prevent coagulation. This helps the product avoiding the look of being spoiled. Dipotassium phosphate is also used in fertilizers, cosmetics. When used in excess it may cause vomiting and diarrhea. Since it is more easily absorbed it could rapidly raise phosphorus levels too much in people who eat a lot of processed foods containing this. It should be used with caution if you have kidney disease, severe heart and lung disease, thyroid problems, liver disease and Addison’s disease. While this may not be a big deal for most people, I wanted to make you aware of it. My favorite creamer, So Good Vanilla Coconut Milk Creamer contains it.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (SSL)
Sodium stearoyl lactate is a combination of stearic acid and lactic acid, and the final product is a mixture of several components. Stearic acid comes from plant or animal fat, although vegetable oil is used more often. (source) This too in an emulsifier and helps keep mold away increasing the shelf-life. It is most commonly used in bakery products. Since the FDA has granted this substance GRAS (generally regarded as safe) status, there is a lack of data available on human carcinogenicity, toxicity, and developmental toxicity. "There is some small incidence of allergies (contact dermatitis). This causes the body to release inflammatory chemicals which can make the skin feel irritated and itchy. Another possible adverse effect is a food intolerance, or the “inability to properly digest or fully process certain foods,” which can cause illness and chronic symptoms." (source)
The list goes on and on. Almond milk creamer, coconut milk creamer or any other nut milk creamers are excellent alternatives. Or if you have access to raw cream, you are better off, as no creamer on the market is perfect. Below are some that I have found to be better than most on the market.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a beautiful day!!!
Love and light,
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