Getting Creamed at the Office?

Nutrition Action Healthletter Weighs Coffee Creamers


WASHINGTON—The nutrition label on the powdered Coffee-mate in your office kitchen might list 10 calories and just a half a gram of saturated fat. Those sound like reassuringly low levels of both. But use a more realistic tablespoon-size serving instead of the miserly teaspoon the Food and Drug Administration allows—and unround the rounded down numbers on the label—and you’re looking at 45 calories and three grams of heart-harmful saturated fat. Have three of four servings of your office coffee thusly “creamed” and you’ve stealthily consumed half a day’s saturated fat.

But the liquid version of Coffee-mate—flavored or Original—is worse. Instead of using the coconut and palm kernel oils Nestlé employs in the powdered version, the liquid versions use partially hydrogenated soybean or cottonseed oil. Three mugs of coffee with that (and without Nestlé’s innovative arithmetic) delivers 1.86 grams of saturated fat , not to mention the 2.76 grams of trans fat—which is more than an entire day’s worth of the kind of fat that raises your bad cholesterol and lowers your good cholesterol.

review of coffee creamers entitled “Are You Getting Creamed?” appears in the April issue of the 900,000-circulation Nutrition Action Healthletter, published by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest.

“Anyone glancing at the Nutrition Facts label for most of these coffee creamers would have a false sense of security,” said CSPI nutrition director Bonnie Liebman.

Several iterations of Coffee-mate and other brands are lower in saturated and trans fat. But ’s only “Best Bite” ratings go to International Delight Fat Free and Silk liquid creamers, as well as plain old fat-free, 1%, 2%, or even whole milk, and the successful fat-free half & half made by Land O’Lakes and some store brands.

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