Is half and half creamer good for weight loss?

Half and half creamer is a popular coffee creamer made from equal parts whole milk and cream. It has a rich, creamy texture and adds flavor and creaminess to coffee and tea. But is it a good choice if you’re trying to lose weight? Here’s a detailed look at how half and half may impact weight loss efforts.

Calories in half and half creamer

The number of calories in half and half varies by brand, but a typical 1 tablespoon serving contains:

  • 20-40 calories
  • 2-3g fat
  • 1-2g carbs
  • 0-1g protein

Compared to other liquid creamers like skim milk (5 calories per tablespoon) or fat free half and half (10 calories per tablespoon), half and half is relatively high in calories.

If you use 2-3 tablespoons of half and half in your coffee once a day, that equates to 40-120 extra calories per day, or 280-840 extra calories per week. Over time, these excess calories can lead to weight gain.

Fat content

In addition to being high in calories, half and half is high in fat. A single tablespoon contains 2-3 grams of fat, mostly from saturated dairy fat.

While moderate fat intake is healthy, diets too high in overall fat and saturated fat have been linked to weight gain and obesity in some studies (1).

Choosing lower fat creamers more often, like skim milk or low fat half and half, can help reduce your saturated fat intake if you’re trying to lose weight.

Effects on metabolism

Some research has found that consuming high fat dairy foods like half and half may negatively impact metabolism, which can promote weight gain.

One study found young adults who consumed a high fat milkshake containing whole milk and cream had reduced fat oxidation compared to a low fat milkshake with skim milk (2).

Another study showed a high fat meal with whole milk dairy resulted in greater fat storage compared to an otherwise identical low fat meal with skim milk dairy (3).

The saturated fat in half and half may reduce your ability to burn fat after consuming it, making it easier to gain unwanted weight.

Hunger and satiety

How filling or satiating a food keeps you feeling full plays an important role in weight control.

Some research suggests higher protein foods increase satiety more than high fat foods (4). Since half and half is low in protein, it may not promote satiety as much as lower fat dairy options higher in protein like skim milk.

One study found people who had a high fat yogurt snack were less full and consumed more calories at a subsequent meal than people who had a low fat yogurt snack higher in protein (5).

The creaminess of half and half may help provide satiety, but its low protein content could lead to increased hunger and overeating compared to low fat alternatives higher in protein.

Healthier weight loss creamer options

Here are some healthier creamer alternatives to consider if you’re trying to lose weight:

  • Skim or low fat (1%) milk – Significantly fewer calories and fat than half and half but provides protein for satiety.
  • Fat free half and half – Has similar creaminess as regular half and half but a fraction of the calories and fat.
  • Light soy milk – Low in calories, fat and carbs with a creamy consistency. Opt for unsweetened.
  • Almond milk – Low in calories with a mild, nutty flavor. Look for unsweetened.
  • Coconut milk beverage – Low calorie option with creamy texture. Shake the carton before pouring.

Be mindful of added sugars in creamer alternatives like flavored non-dairy milks. opt for unsweetened varieties whenever possible.

Should you avoid half and half for weight loss?

Half and half can absolutely be enjoyed in moderation on a weight loss diet, but it may need to be limited due to its high calorie and fat content.

Here are some tips for drinking half and half without overdoing it:

  • Measure servings rather than pouring freely from the carton.
  • Use just 1-2 tsp per cup of coffee instead of multiple tablespoons.
  • Limit half and half to just 1-2 cups of coffee or tea per day.
  • Use milk alternatives like almond milk more often.
  • Save half and half as a treat instead of an everyday creamer.

If you’re trying to lose a significant amount of weight, you may want to avoid half and half and opt for lower calorie, lower fat creamers like skim milk or unsweetened almond milk more often.

But for moderate weight loss goals, half and half can likely be incorporated in small amounts without major issues.

The bottom line

Is half and half good for weight loss? Overall, half and half may not be the best choice for weight loss due to its high calorie, fat and saturated fat content. Lower calorie creamers like skim milk or light non-dairy creamers are generally better options if you’re trying to lose weight.

However, incorporating a small amount of half and half in your coffee or tea on occasion likely won’t sabotage your weight loss efforts. Just be mindful of portion sizes and limit higher calorie creamers to keep your diet on track.

At the end of the day, the best creamer for weight loss is one you enjoy that fits into your overall daily calorie target.

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