The distinction between “dairy” and “non-dairy” appears to be straightforward. It’s not the case. It’s much more difficult to figure out exactly what you’re eating or drinking when “dairy-free” is added to the mix.
Dairy goods are exactly what they sound like. They’re made from the milk of a mammal, and that doesn’t always mean cows. Dairy includes goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and human milk.
Lactose is the sugar found in milk “milk sugar” is a naturally occurring sugar found in dairy products. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body’s ability to digest lactose is impaired.
Lactose intolerance is more frequent than many people realize. According to the United States Library of Medicine, around 30 million adults in the United States are lactose intolerant to some degree, accounting for nearly 15% of the population.
When lactose-intolerant people drink milk, their gastrointestinal tracts sometimes have severe reactions “Because their intestines can’t break down lactose molecules into simple sugars that the body can use, they can’t drink “regular” milk or eat dairy products.
Lactose-free products, which have had the lactose removed before being marketed, can be used to avoid the difficulties. Lactose-free products are those that are free of lactose, although they are still dairy products because they are made from milk.
Dairy-free, by definition, denotes that the product does not contain any dairy products.
Dairy-free milk, for example, is typically made from plants; soy milk, oat milk, and any sort of nut milk, such as cashew milk, coconut milk, and almond milk, are all dairy-free. All of the creamers created from them are as well.
However, there is a minor issue. Because the government lacks a legal definition for the word “dairy-free,” some smaller businesses label their products as such even if they aren’t. It’s usually a good idea to double-check the labels.
This is where things become a little more tricky, because non-dairy doesn’t always imply dairy-free. Seriously. Let’s see what we can do about that.
So far, we’ve discussed lactose, or milk sugar, which causes significant problems for lactose-intolerant people.
Milk, on the other hand, contains casein and whey, which are known as “milk proteins.” The proteins aren’t affected by the lactose-free milk production process; they can be eliminated, but they’re usually not.
Although casein and whey are thought to provide significant health benefits, they can cause serious health problems in some people. A milk allergy is usually a casein allergy, and symptoms include hives, rashes, congestion, bloody stools, and anaphylactic shock. Furthermore, vegans do not consume animal goods or byproducts, which includes milk proteins.
Both groups need to know if their dairy contains casein (or whey). Regrettably, the government is unwilling to assist.
Even while the FDA doesn’t have a legal definition for “dairy-free,” it does have a definition for “non-dairy,” and non-dairy products are allowed to contain casein, whey, or derivatives for some reason. Caseinate milk derivatives, which are forms of casein, are included in many goods, including non-dairy creamers.
In the end, “non-dairy” isn’t good enough for vegans or people allergic to milk. A product must be “dairy-free” in their eyes.
Keep this in mind as we evaluate the finest dairy-free coffee creamer options: we’ve rejected numerous non-dairy options because they don’t qualify as dairy-free.
Which creamers are dairy-free?
Although conventional Coffee-Mate (a Nestl product) is lactose-free and the company’s website claims it is “non-dairy,” some of their products contain sodium caseinate, a protein derived from cow’s milk, thus they are not fully free of animal ingredients. So, instead of the ordinary Coffee-Mate, try the non-dairy natural Bliss sister brand, which doesn’t appear to contain caseinate. We decided to taste test the most popular ones, as well as a few outliers that sounded interesting, because there are so many wonderful options.
California Farms Almond Creamer, Silk Almond Creamer Vanilla, Natural Bliss Coconut Milk Creamer/Sweet Cream, So Delicious Organic Creamer, Coconut Milk, Natural Bliss Oat Milk Creamer, Vanilla Natural Flavor, Silk Oat Yeah Oat Milk Creamer, Silk Original Dairy-Free Original Soy Creamer, and Trader Joe’s Coconut Creamer were all included in this taste test. While this is a very subjective taste dependent on personal preference and whether you prefer half and half or whole cream taste and consistency in your coffee, it should help you narrow down your options.
The main goal of my taste testing was to locate a non-dairy creamer to replace half and half, which I heated in my electric milk frother every morning to get those creamy coffee treats I craved. Unfortunately, except for the So Delicious organic creamer, most of the better non-dairy creamers I tried had extra cane sugar and added oils (coconut, palm or sunflower). Make sure to double-check the ingredients and only use a small amount of them!
Is almond milk a dairy-free option?
Almond milk is a plant-based milk that is dairy- and cholesterol-free. It’s produced by combining almonds and water in a blender, straining the liquid, and adding vitamins and minerals. It’s lactose-free and suitable for vegans and lactose-intolerant people. Calcium and vitamins A, D, and E are frequently added to nut milk.
Sweeteners like stevia, cane sugar, dates, maple syrup, or honey have been added to sweetened almond milk. Sweetened almond milk is available in vanilla and chocolate flavors. To extend its shelf life, it may contain stabilizers and preservatives. the
Almond milk is sold at supermarkets and marketplaces, but it can also be made at home.
Califia Farms Almondmilk Creamer
Califia produces a variety of delectable dairy-free creamers with just the right consistency to go with coffee. Its unsweetened Almondmilk creamer has a distinct almond flavor, but it’s sweetened with coconut cream for a delicious and nutritious result.
This creamer contains no oil (another bonus), but it has a pleasant tongue feel and froths wonderfully. Per tablespoon, there are only five calories, no carbs, and half a gram of fat.
It’s vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO, plus it doesn’t use carrageenan as a thickener, unlike many competitors. Calcium is added to provide the same bone-building benefits as milk.
Califia Farms sells a number of sugar-free non-dairy creamers with similar properties, including Almondmilk Better Half (which tastes more like half-and-half than cream). There are a variety of flavors to choose from, including hazelnut and French vanilla. Do you enjoy lattes? The Califa Barista blends have a lot of foam.
So Delicious Organic Coconutmilk Creamer
For years, this company has specialized in dairy-free products, so it’s no surprise that their creamers are well-designed and healthy.
The organic Coconutmilk creamer is produced from only coconut milk and water (plus a few natural additions), so it’s not as thick and frothy as the Califia Farms creamers, but it blends well with coffee and has a great flavor.
It’s a vegan and non-GMO food with 15 calories per tablespoon, no carbs, one gram of fat, and no added sweeteners. Caramel and French vanilla tastes are also available.
Nutpods Original Unsweetened Almond+Coconut Creamer
Because Nutpods’ products are Whole30-approved, you’re definitely familiar with them if you’ve been on a keto, paleo, or other low-carb diet (one of the most popular commercial low-carb diet plans).
Their Almond+Coconut creamer has ten calories, zero carbohydrates, and one gram of fat per tablespoon, no additional oil or sugar, is sweet and pleasant, and combines well with coffee. There are several great varieties (including cotton candy and toasted marshmallow! ), as well as two oatmilk creamer options.
Silk Original Dairy-Free Soy Creamer
This isn’t the healthiest option, but it’s the most widely available soy creamer, and it may be the most accessible non-dairy option.
Although it is vegan and non-GMO, it has additional cane sugar, corn oil, and thickeners, which is why it is ranked lower on our list. Even said, the nutrition facts aren’t as horrible as you may think: 20 calories per tablespoon, 1.5 grams of fat, and two grams of carbohydrates.
Nutiva Organic MCT Creamer
It contains organic coconut MCT oil, which low-carb dieters use to make their coffee “bulletproof.” We hope you enjoy coconut because it also contains coconut sugar and coconut milk powder. However, each tablespoon has 40 calories and three grams of fat, but only one gram of carbohydrates.
Laird Turmeric Superfood Creamer
There’s a lot of coconut flavor here, too, because it’s made with coconut oil and sugar, but the turmeric adds a lovely flavor variety as well as health benefits. For uniformity, olive oil is used. 15 calories, 0.75 gram fat, and a little more than one gram carbohydrate
Trader Joe’s Original Coconut Creamer
Obviously, this creamer is only available at Trader Joe’s, and if you’ve ever shopped there, you’ll know this is the cheapest option. It’s tasty, despite the fact that it contains cane sugar in addition to coconut milk. There are only five calories in each tablespoon, one gram of carbohydrates, and no fat.
Ripple Original Plant-Based Half-and-Half
Ripple makes a pea protein-based dairy-free creamer. That may sound strange, but adding it to your coffee makes it more frothier. Sunflower oil, on the other hand, isn’t the best addition. Per tablespoon, there are 20 calories, two grams of fat, and one gram of carbohydrates.
Not Dairy-Free But Still Good
Finally, we’d like to recommend two terrific creamer options that aren’t technically dairy-free or even non-dairy coffee creamers, but are worth exploring if eliminating milk isn’t your top priority.
- Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss: Coffee-Mate has been around for a long time, but its Natural Bliss range of products was only recently introduced. Some, like the Almond Milk Sweet Crme, are vegan and dairy-free, while others, like the Classic Caramel, use milk, cream, and cane sugar but are nonetheless low in saturated fat.
Are there any dairy-free creamers?
Despite the fact that they are not strictly made from milk, several of these kinds contain milk byproducts such as caseinate. Furthermore, many generic brands have high levels of added sugars and oils to give them a creamer-like flavor. Always read the nutrition label to make sure the creamer is suitable for your diet.
If I’m lactose intolerant, can I drink almond milk?
Some minerals in almond milk are not absorbed as well as they are in milk. This is mainly due to the presence of phytic acid, an antinutrient that inhibits iron, zinc, and magnesium absorption (4, 5, 6).
Almond milk is not acceptable as a milk substitute for infants since it is deficient in several nutrients.
Almond milk is naturally high in a variety of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin E.
It is low in calories
Despite the fact that almonds are high in fat and calories, commercial almond milk is a low-calorie beverage (1, 2).
This implies you may consume a large amount of it without gaining weight. It also has a high nutritional value in relation to its calorie content.
Almond milk is made by diluting it with water to get a fat content equivalent to that of low-fat milk, which is roughly 1% fat.
A cup of almond milk has 39 calories, which is half as many as a cup of skim milk.
However, not all almond milks are created equal. Depending on how many almonds are in each cup, homemade almond milk and select brands may have a substantially higher calorie count.
Furthermore, some products have added sugar, which people should avoid if they want to get the most out of their health.
Bottom line: Almond milk prepared in a factory may have less calories than skim milk. However, this may not apply to all brands, so read the nutrition labels carefully.
Unsweetened almond milk doesn’t raise blood sugar
Sugar-free almond milk, on the other hand, is a low-carb beverage with fewer than 2% carbs in 1 cup, or 3.43 g of carbs (2).
Low-fat cow’s milk, on the other hand, has a carb content of 5%, or 12 g per cup (3).
In comparison to its glucose level, almond milk is also heavy in fat and protein. As a result, it does not induce a surge in blood sugar levels, making it acceptable for diabetics and those on a low-carb diet.
However, study the ingredient lists carefully and choose items that are as natural as possible.
Bottom line: Almond milk is a low-carb beverage that is ideal for those on a low-carb diet or who need to keep their blood sugar levels in check.
It is dairy-free
Almond milk is a fantastic alternative for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk because it includes no cow’s milk or other animal ingredients.
Many people are lactose intolerant, meaning they can’t entirely digest it. Undigested lactose goes down to the colon, where it is fermented by the indigenous bacteria, causing excessive gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Because almond milk is dairy-free, it contains no lactose, making it a good milk substitute for lactose-intolerant persons.
Bottom line: Almond milk is a dairy-free substitute for vegans and anyone with lactose intolerance or milk allergy because it is an imitation milk that contains no dairy.
Enriched almond milk may strengthen your bones
Calcium is found in the highest concentration in dairy products. Almonds, on the other hand, are a poor provider of this vitamin.
Calcium is commonly added to almond milk to make it more akin to genuine milk. Depending on the type and brand of commercial almond milk, a cup may provide 37 percent or more of your daily need.
A cup of cow’s milk, on the other hand, may contain up to 23 percent of your daily calcium need, depending on the type and brand.
As a result, fortified almond milk is a good source of calcium for people who don’t eat dairy, such as vegans and those who are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk.
Calcium is necessary for the formation and maintenance of bones. As a result, consuming enough calcium lowers the risk of osteoporosis, a disorder marked by weak bones and fractures (7).
Bottom line: Almond milk is frequently fortified with calcium, making it a good source of the mineral. Those who do not consume dairy products may minimize their risk of osteoporosis by drinking enhanced almond milk on a regular basis.
It may reduce the risk of heart disease
Regular eating of nuts has been related to a lower risk of heart disease in observational studies. This is mainly due to their high content of beneficial fats (8).
Almond oil’s major fatty acid, oleic acid, has been associated to positive changes in blood lipids in studies (9).
In one study, healthy adults who consumed 66 grams of almonds or almond oil daily for six weeks saw their levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, drop “Cholesterol was lowered by 6%, and triglycerides were reduced by 14%. It also improved their HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol “It’s a wonderful thing,” cholesterol by 6% (10).
These positive alterations in blood lipid profiles have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease (11).
Although fat accounts for around half of the calories in almond milk, it is a low-fat product that is unlikely to have a substantial impact on your blood lipid profile.
Many of the health advantages of almonds are attributed to vitamin E, as well as bioactive plant chemicals such as polyphenols, according to nutritionists. These substances are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which are beneficial to heart health (12).
Almond milk is strong in vitamin E and includes healthy fats, so it’s a good choice. It may be beneficial to your heart if you drink it on a regular basis.
Enriched almond milk is high in vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency affects a large number of people. Brittle bones, tiredness, and weak muscles are more likely as a result of this (13).
In the human diet, there are few good sources of vitamin D. As a result, adding vitamin D to particular foods is a typical public-health practice. This is especially true with dairy products.
Almond milk, like ordinary milk, is frequently fortified with vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in each product varies. One cup of almond milk, for example, may contain 2.62 micrograms, or 13% of your daily value. A cup of vitamin-fortified cow’s milk has a same amount of vitamins (2).
As a result, fortified almond milk is a good source of vitamin D that, if consumed frequently, can help prevent insufficiency.
Bottom line: Almond milk is frequently fortified with vitamin D, and drinking it on a regular basis may help avoid vitamin D insufficiency.
Is there any dairy in unsweetened almond milk?
Almond milk is dairy-free by nature, making it acceptable for vegans and anyone with a dairy allergy or lactose intolerance ( 4 ). If you’re allergic to tree nuts, however, you should avoid it. Almond milk is a plant-based beverage produced with water and strained almonds.
Is Coffee Mate vegan since it is dairy-free?
Coffee-great Mate’s majority of products are not vegan. Make sure they don’t have any milk derivatives like sodium caseinate or micellar casein in them. They are at best vegetarian and lactose-free in this situation, but they are definitely not vegan. However, Coffee-parent Mate’s company, Nestl, has introduced a Natural Bliss Coffee-Mate chain with a few vegan alternatives. To discover more about these, read the rest of our article.