Does Coffee Creamer Make You Gain Weight?

by Peter Taylor | Last Updated: 17 January 2021

I promise not to send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Does Coffee Creamer Make You Gain Weight?

There are many different types of coffee creamer that can add flavor and texture to your daily caffeine fix. These sweet additions to your daily brew can improve the flavor of low quality coffee, but will drinking coffee creamer add inches to your waistline?

Coffee creamers can make you gain weight if you are using them regularly outside the prescribed daily servings. Although gaining weight is a result of various factors, all coffee creamers drastically increase the caloric content of your coffee, which can lead to unexpected weight gain.

Many people don’t consider this small addition to their coffee a primary dietary concern, but here we will take a look at the different varieties of coffee creamers and their nutritional contents. We will also examine some of the issues associated with artificial creamers and provide some healthy alternatives. Read on to gain a complete understanding of what you are putting in your cup.

What Is a Coffee Creamer?

Despite having the word ‘cream’ in its name, coffee creamers are almost always dairy-free, making them an excellent option for lactose-intolerant coffee drinkers and vegans.

Milk and other related products like heavy cream, get their rich texture and distinct flavor from the fats that are naturally produced by cows.

On the other hand, coffee creamers attempt to replicate these natural products’ taste and texture through other means, most commonly some combination of sugar, oil, and a thickening agent. When added to coffee, these ingredients react with the water, changing the beverage’s texture and flavor.

Coffee creamers come in a near-endless variety of flavors, so you can give your morning cup a hint of vanilla, pumpkin spice, or even Oreo cookies. However, the sweet taste these creamers give your coffee isn’t the end of the story.

Liquid vs. Powdered

The most significant distinction in the world of coffee creamer is between powdered or liquid varieties.

Powdered creamers are popular because of their shelf life and the convenience they provide to people without access to a refrigerator. Many people keep a few packets in their car or purse just in case they aren’t able to find fresh milk for their cup of coffee on the go.

The other significant difference between these types of creamer is the caloric content. Most powdered creamers have higher amounts of sugar than liquid versions, although many people feel that liquid creamers aren’t as potent and subsequently add more to achieve the same sweet flavor.

Is Drinking Coffee Creamer Bad for You?

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with drinking coffee creamer, with a few exceptions we will cover later. However, it is always important to know what you are putting in your body.

Does Coffee Creamer Make You Gain Weight?

Many of these non-dairy coffee creamers have between 10 and 20 calories per tablespoon. While this may not seem like a lot, but in comparison to the five calories found in non-fat milk, the caloric content of your cup of coffee can quickly spiral out of control.

Deceptive Serving Sizes

These flavorful milk substitutes also highlight some issues with serving sizes and what they mean to different people.

The label of a coffee creamer may show that it has 0 fat. However, according to FDA regulations, if a single serving has less than 0.5 g (0.018 oz) of fat, it can be labeled as having 0 g (0 oz) of fat. While this strange semantic loophole may seem insignificant, it can be quite misleading to those who don’t understand this designation system.

Another way that companies can fudge their nutritional facts is the loophole that surrounds the labeling of trans fats. Many coffee creamers contain partially hydrogenated oils; soybean and cottonseed are common crops used to produce these oils.

Partially hydrogenated oil is just another name for dreaded trans fats, and, once again, if there are less than 0.5 g (0.018 oz) of trans fats per serving, a product can list 0 fat.

Finally, a single serving simply may not be flavorful enough for many people, so they add more creamer without considering how this is affecting the nutritional and caloric content of their coffee. This issue can quickly become a problem if you drink a lot of coffee and enjoy your creamer.

Some people may think that since the label says ‘0 fat,’ that they can use as much as they want because it is fat-free, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is if you are using 2 or 3 servings per cup of coffee and drink 4 cups daily, a significant amount of calories and fats soon add up.

Thickening Agents

There are several different compounds in coffee creamers that are used to mimic the rich, creamy texture of natural products; however, there is one that continues to spark controversy.


Carrageenan is an additive used as a thickener that occurs naturally in red seaweed and is extracted and used in a wide variety of food and beverages. While it has no nutritional value, its role as a thickener and emulsifier has made it a common ingredient in dairy-substitutes like almond milk, vegan cheese, and–you guessed it–coffee creamers.

Since the 1960s, carrageenan has sparked controversy due to a number of studies that linked this substance with intestinal issues, bloating, IBS, and gastrointestinal ulcers.

One study suggested reconsidering this product for human consumption, given the evidence of gastrointestinal ulceration in animals. This study also highlights the fact that, despite the International Agency for Research on Cancer identifying evidence that carrageenan posed a cancer risk in humans, little has been done to dissuade manufacturers from incorporating this controversial substance in their products.

Despite significant evidence linking carrageenan with serious health risks, the FDA has not placed any restrictions on manufacturers’ use of this substance. However, in 2016 the National Organics Board voted to remove carrageenan from the list of substances that can be labeled ‘USDA Organic.’

For anyone who uses coffee creamer on more than an occasional basis, it is important to find brands clearly labeled ‘Carrageenan Free.’

Is There a Healthy Coffee Creamer?

Given the deceptive serving sizes and use of questionable substances in many coffee creamers, it may seem like there is no healthy option for non-dairy creamers. The truth is, these big-brand, manufactured products are, by definition, unhealthy.

However, many companies answer the market’s calls for truly healthy alternatives to the coffee creamers that so many people love. Here are a few products that can improve your cup without strange thickeners or mountains of sugar.

Milkadamia Unsweetened Macadamia Milk

An Australian product, Milkadamia, is a milk alternative that is derived from macadamia nuts. Using all-natural products and a comprehensible ingredient list, this is one coffee creamer alternative that is good for you.


  • Macadamia milk (filtered water, macadamias)
  • Calcium phosphate
  • Pea protein
  • Natural flavors
  • Locust bean gum
  • Sea salt
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Gellan gum
  • Vitamin A palmitate
  • Vitamin D2
  • Vitamin B12

Califia Farms Unsweetened Better Half

Another alternative to traditional coffee creamers, this product uses half coconut milk and half almond milk to produce a creamy and healthy base. Better Half has received positive feedback from many health food communities and is a good option for those steering clear of dairy.


  • Almond milk (water, almonds)
  • Coconut cream
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Natural flavors
  • Calcium carbonate
  • Sea salt
  • Potassium citrate
  • Locust bean gum
  • Gellan gum

Laird Super-food Coffee Creamer

Brought to you by the world-famous surfer, Laird Hamilton, this is an option that fits within several popular diets, including Paleo, keto, and vegan. This product has an even shorter list of ingredients than other coffee creamers, making it an excellent choice for anyone that wants to know exactly what is going in their body.

There are other versions available, including one that contains turmeric, which is all the craze in health food circles for the seemingly endless number of health benefits it provides.

Ingredients (Unsweetened):

  • Aquamin (calcified sea algae rich in calcium and minerals)
  • Coconut powder
  • Extra virgin organic coconut oil

Rising Tide Elevate Vegan Creamer

This brand uses a variety of super-food products and claims to give you a delicious coffee cup and simultaneously boost brain function thanks to another popular health food product: lion’s mane mushroom. This fungus, along with MCT oil, completes this organic, vegan-friendly option with only five ingredients.


  • Organic coconut powder milk
  • Organic lion’s mane mushroom
  • MCT oil powder organic
  • Organic acacia fiber
  • Organic coconut sugar

Nutpods Dairy-Free Creamer

This sugar-free product comes in several flavors: everything from chocolate and vanilla to pumpkin spice is available, providing the variety that ensures everyone will find their favorite flavor. With coconuts and almonds forming this certified-vegan coffee creamer base, it is a great option for lactose-intolerant coffee drinkers.


  • Purified water
  • Coconut cream
  • Almonds
  • Less than 2% acacia gum
  • Dipotassium phosphate
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Sea salt
  • Gellan gum


We now have a much more knowledgeable understanding of coffee creamers and some of the problems they can pose for regular coffee drinkers that choose this milk-free option.

Massive amounts of sugar, trans fats, and deceptive serving sizes mean that these traditional coffee creamers may very well play a role in weight gain for users that do not have otherwise healthy diets and engage in regular exercise.

However, there are more and more products with a healthier and more holistic approach to enhancing the flavor of your coffee, providing consumers with real options that are not only delicious but healthy.


Subscribe to the Coffee Hyper Newsletter

If you liked this article and want more coffee content delivered straight to your inbox, join the monthly newsletter.

I promise not to send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.