How to Sweeten Coffee Without Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners
How to Sweeten Coffee Without Sugar or Artificial Sweeteners
Paying closer attention to health and diet, healing yourself with nutrition, is a process. Or at least, it should be.
Back in the day...
I had times late at night where I would go through my fridge and every cabinet.
Do you know that satisfaction of having your pantry and kitchen totally “clean”?
The trouble is, this kind of rash mass exodus of junk can be too jarring.
Before you know it, it’s slowly creeping back in. A package of cookies here, a frozen meal there. In the space of the year, I’d done these cleanings four times.
Eventually, it all came to me.
You add in the good things - fresh fruits and vegetables, organic whole grains - gradually. At the same time, you let the bad processed stuff fall away.
That’s the key to authentic, lasting change.
The Last Thing to Go
As you’ve made the switch, what “bad” thing is too hard to let go of?
I can’t help but notice that for many, it’s coffee creamer. When you eat mostly clean, it seems totally acceptable to allow a few tablespoons of creamer to slide.
More than half of all coffee drinkers add some mass-market creamer to their coffee.
Alarmingly, just one brand, notorious for their sugary, synthetic product, corners nearly 70% of the market.
We’ll talk about what they slip into their coffee creamer in a minute, but first I want to challenge your motives for using it.
I will explain:
Most of us think that we like store-bought creamers because they cut the bitterness with sugar.
Hence, if we don’t have a creamer, we’ll add spoons of sugar and some milk.
But the sugar isn’t what we’re after - it’s flavor.
Sixty percent of coffee drinkers admit it’s the flavor that makes them purchase creamers.
Forty percent of these further state that if they have their favorite flavor, they’ll drink more coffee.
Therefore, we can claim that sugar is incidental, and hooks us on these products.
After all, “sweet” is a basic taste, not a flavor in and of itself. If we can lighten up our strong cup of coffee and add flavor, we’ll be just as satisfied.
Let's look at some hard facts...
That’s what we’re after today. I’ll show you how to dress up your java naturally. And if it makes it sweeter without sugar or artificial sweeteners? Then you’ll really have no excuse but to kick creamer to the curb for good.
Sweet and Sneaky: Coffee Creamer
As I said, a little bit of creamer seems harmless in the grand scheme of things. However, this stuff is nutritionally sinister; there’s no nicer way to put it.
Let’s look at just a few of the ingredients the most popular brands include.
Mono and diglycerides - Stay far, far away from this ingredient. It’s an emulsifier that keeps oil from separating from the rest of the product. Mono and diglycerides are a close relative of trans fats.
Still, it’s completely legal for it to appear on labels that also state it’s a “trans-fat free” product. How they get away with this is beyond me.
After all, this artificial, industrial emulsifier is typically a derivative of hydrogenated oils, which we’ll cover soon. Studies are currently exploring a correlation between these emulsifiers and the rise of inflammatory bowel disease.
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - It’s actually a misrepresentation to claim that these coffee creamers are full of sugar. Because what do you think of when I say, “sugar”? Piles of white, refined sugar, right?
As it turns out, there’s something cheaper, sweeter, and more troubling on the market. High fructose corn syrup is made from corn stalks, and despite marketing claims, it’s nothing like real sugar. At least, to your body, it isn’t.
Sucrose in sugar is just bound-together fructose and glucose. High fructose corn syrup has both too, only with a higher percentage of fructose. Most importantly, the fructose and glucose aren’t bound to one another the same way.
So while your body works to unbind the fructose and glucose in real sugar, it requires no such work to process HFCS. This basically allows it to go straight to the bloodstream. You are mainlining genetically modified corn syrup.
Hydrogenated oils - Hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils that have been chemically processed into a solid fat. A lot of the most popular flavored coffee creamers contain partially hydrogenated oil.
In case you didn’t know, this is artificial trans-fat. It helps preserve the product, but it also plays a role in creating heart disease and high cholesterol.
Another fun fact about trans-fat labeling is that it’s not a requirement if there’s less than a half gram per serving. For all of our discussions about fat, you will never, ever see a favorable word about hydrogenated anything or trans-fats. They’re just bad news from top to bottom.
Carrageenan - This ingredient isn’t exclusive to Creamer by a long shot, either. Carrageenan is a thickening or stabilizing agent. Studies raise the question of whether or not this ingredient could be responsible for the increase in digestive disorders.
Speaking of studies, carrageenan is said to be an ingredient given to animal test subjects in order to create inflammation. It is a derivative of seaweed, and therefore “natural”, but processing methods can alter its properties. Degraded carrageenan, used in those animal studies, is not in our food.
Yet it begs an important question. Does something that has the potential to become so harmful belong in our food supply? Can we trust that all currently available information tells the whole story?
Probably not, as sources are torn on the safety of carrageenan. That’s probably because like HFCS, it’s difficult to avoid. You can find carrageenan in many plant-based kinds of milk, deli meat, yogurt, toothpaste, ice cream, and more.
Sodium stearoyl lactylate (SSL) and/or dipotassium phosphate - These two ingredients have something pretty disturbing in common. They also appear in fertilizer, cleaning solutions, and makeup. Do you typically consider those things to be food grade?
Actually, both have FDA approval for use as a food additive. SSL, another emulsifier, doesn’t pose so much of a problem for topical use, but ingestion? I can tell you it has absolutely no nutritional value. Basically, it’s more lab-processed filler that tastes good - it actually sweetens!
Dipotassium phosphate is a kind of anticoagulant. Hey, you have to include it to counter all of those thickeners and stabilizers, right? There are concerns that dipotassium phosphate can cause kidney damage.
It can also be found in laxatives and workout supplements. Not exactly what we expect to pour into our morning coffee.
Something you probably didn't know.
Did you know that half-and-half is lower in calories than store-bought non-dairy creamer? If you’ve been pouring on the sweet stuff because you think it’s lighter than real dairy cream, stop today.
If you’re trying to lose weight, half and half from cows not treated with rBGH is a healthier choice.
Quitting Creamer: In Come Artificial Sweeteners
Knowing all of this, it’s not difficult to see why giving up coffee creamers is important. But what will you replace it with?
I’ve observed many easily transitioning to half and half, which is fine, but they still want to sweeten their cup. Without extra calories.
So they go for….no-calorie sweeteners, which are totally artificial.
They can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but over time your taste buds demand sweeter.
This can be one reason why they’re implicated in raising rates of obesity.
Also, they can cause inflammation, and, you guessed it - gastrointestinal disorders.
Some may not be a direct cause of cancer, as previously thought, but they’re still responsible for inflammation. As we know, inflammation is the root of all disease.
When we’re talking taste, this one really confuses me. Artificial sweeteners are noticeably bitter in the aftertaste.
If you’re trying to take the bitter edge off of coffee, it makes no good sense to use a fake sugar.
So what do you do?
It’s time to explore alternatives to sugar, creamers, and all things artificial.
Healthier Ways to Sweeten Your Coffee
1. Coconut Oil
If you’re looking to quit all things sugar, coconut oil will help you fend off the cravings. You can start by adding a tablespoon to your coffee every morning.
It sounds unbelievable, but I urge you to try it.
In fact, coconut oil in coffee is best done in a blender. It’s the natural way to emulsify!
It makes your coffee, light, frothy, and much less bitter. And it truly does taste a bit sweeter.
2. Cinnamon and Spices
Use this tip with any other tip here, and challenge my idea that adding real flavor negates the need for sugar. Grate a cinnamon stick into your ground coffee prior to brewing.
Will this sweeten, though?
The answer is yes.
Because cinnamon is actually a kind of tree bark that has been naturally sweetened by sap.
If you enjoy the cinnamon, get more creative and try clove, nutmeg, and other spices. It’s just as good in coffee as it is in cider!
Quick video for making super easy Coconut Creamer *Dairy & Sugar-FREE
You can definitely consider dates nature’s candy. They’re a great source of vitamins, but they’re also undeniably sweet.
You can soak dates to soften them up before blending them into a smooth paste.
Or, you can go the extra mile and try this vegan, healthy coffee creamer recipe. This is a great option for those who absolutely insist on having something obviously sweet in their coffee.
4. Coconut Cream
You can buy coconut cream but, it's also found sitting right at the top of full-fat coconut milk. Coconut cream is a replacement for heavy dairy cream - that’s right, you can even make whipped cream from it.
Now... tell me that doesn’t sound sweet!
By cutting that bitterness with cream, you’ll find that sugar just isn’t as important.
And coconut cream is a lighter option, as it is lower in fat and calories than dairy cream. Some kinds have 10g less fat than dairy cream per 1/3 cup, with more protein!
While you’re experimenting with coconut oil and cream, add in some extracts. This will give you the flavor that reminds you of your old coffee creamer.
Plus, pure extracts do contain a hint of sugar.
Please be aware that imitation flavored extracts aren’t as good here. They contain synthetic flavors, caramel color, and corn syrup.
The caramel color is only there to fool you and distract from the “imitation” label.
For example, imitation vanilla extract is clear. The pure extract is not, as vanilla beans are dark.
This idea isn’t totally new to me.
I put a few drops of almond extract in my tea, especially if I want to add almond milk as well.
I highly recommend pure extracts in place of synthetic flavors for all of your beverages - coffee, tea, smoothies, and protein shakes.
6. Cocoa Powder
Could I talk you out of sugar if I promised there would be chocolate?
Add a little cocoa powder to your ground coffee, or stir it in after brewing. The flavors are very complementary, and it may even remind you a little of hot chocolate.
And of course, both coffee and cocoa are great sources of antioxidants. As you know, antioxidants can fight aging and disease. Something we definitely can’t attribute to store-bought nondairy coffee creamer.
Here is an Extra Bonus tip for you: Salt!
If you can’t stand the bitterness of coffee, try a sprinkle of salt.
Many users swear that salt makes the richness and complexity of coffee much more enjoyable. You can add a pinch before or after brewing for a less acid taste, too.
You may as well go the extra mile and use the Healthiest Salt for the added minerals that are vital for a well functioning body.
Hopefully, you see now that letting that bottle of creamer linger in your fridge really is a big deal. From industrial emulsifiers to hydrogenated fats, the lists are thick with artificial and potentially toxic ingredients.
Besides, if we love coffee so much, why do we need all that garbage? I think the answer is sugar.
I can completely relate; we’ve all fallen victim to the unexpected need for sweets. That can often lead us to artificial sweeteners that have fewer ingredients but are still harmful to our health.
Honestly, we don't need any of it.
You can sweeten your coffee without creamers and artificial sweeteners. And most of the things you can replace them with offer extra health benefits!
Make your coffee a tad sweet and a lot less guilty-inducing with:
- Coconut oil
- Coconut cream
- Pure extracts
- Spices and Cocoa
I’m dying to know - would you try putting salt in your coffee?
What ingredient in coffee creamer disturbs you the most?
Most importantly, how do you sweeten your coffee? Have you tried anything I mentioned here? Leave your comments!