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I use coffeemate or other non-dairy creamers in my cereal and coffee because I don’t tolerate dairy very well. Are the ingredients healthy? Should I use something else?

The principal ingredients in nondairy creamers are sugars and vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated oils which are loaded with trans fats. These oils could be any of the following: coconut, palm kernel, soybean, cottonseed, or safflower oil and the sugars are typically a combination of corn syrup, maltodextrin, and sugar.

In most non-dairy creamers the main ingredient is sodium caseinate who’s purpose is to provide dairy flavor as well as to create a thickening and whitening additive for a creamy look and feel. Sodium caseinate is derived from fresh and pasteurized skim milk by acid coagulation of the casein, neutralization with sodium hydroxide, and drying in a spray dryer.

Another common ingredient in nondairy creamers is dipotassium phosphate (a powder used to moderate coffee acidity), mono and diglycerides (to prevent oil separation), plus natural and artificial flavors and colors.

In looking at all this, you can see that these creamers contain a lot of trans fats, sugar and chemicals that your body doesn’t need and can cause real health problems.  As an alternative, you may wish to try soy milk or goat’s milk.  Goat’s milk tends to be more tolerable than cow’s milk if you have lactose intolerance.