Coffee Creamers: New report finds hidden calories and fat

It seems innocent enough – just using a little coffee creamer can’t hurt, right? After all, some nutrition labels list a measly 10 calories and half a gram of saturated fat per serving. But both your serving size and the labels might deceive you, according to a new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).

CSPI finds Nestle rounds down the calories in its Original Coffee-mate powder – from 14.83 calories to 10 – and the 0.99 grams of saturated fat is rounded down to 0.5 grams per one teaspoon serving. But CSPI says most people actually use about a tablespoon.

“Anyone glancing at the Nutrition Facts label for most of these coffee creamers would have a false sense of security,” says Bonnie Liebman, nutrition director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

So, if you use one tablespoon of the Original Coffee-mate, it adds up to 45 calories and three grams of saturated fat – more than the 40 calories and 2.1 grams of saturated fat in two tablespoons of half & half. Three or four servings of coffee creamer a day and before you know it you’ve had half a day’s allotment of saturated fat.

The CSPI report finds some Coffee-mate products and other brands are lower in saturated and trans fat. But after reviewing several popular liquid and powder coffee creamers, the only “Best Bite” ratings (this means no partially hydrogenated oil, i.e. trans fat, and no more than 0.6 grams of saturated fat per serving) go to International Delight Fat Free and Silk liquid creamers… as well as plain old fat-free, 1%, 2%, or even whole milk, and fat-free half & half from Land O’Lakes and some store brands. Something to keep in mind before you refill your cup o’ Joe.