Is it OK to drink sugar free coffee creamer?

Quick Answer

For most healthy adults, drinking moderate amounts of sugar free coffee creamers is fine and unlikely to cause harm. The key is moderation – 1-2 servings per day is reasonable for most people. Potential concerns with sugar free creamers include:

  • Artificial sweeteners: Some artificial sweeteners like aspartame are controversial, though most major health organizations consider them safe. There are newer sweeteners with less controversy.
  • Fat content: Creamers can be high in fat and calories if over-consumed. Opt for low fat versions.
  • Gut health: Some artificial sweeteners may negatively impact gut bacteria. This needs more research.

Overall, enjoying the flavor of sugar free coffee creamers in moderation is perfectly fine for most people. Those with health conditions or on limited diets may want to check with a doctor.

Are Sugar Free Coffee Creamers Bad For You?

Sugar free coffee creamers are designed to add flavor to coffee without extra calories from sugar. But some people worry that avoiding sugar comes with its own risks. Here is a detailed look at some common concerns:

Artificial Sweeteners in Sugar Free Creamers

Most sugar free coffee creamers contain artificial sweeteners like:

  • Aspartame
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame potassium (Ace-K)
  • Saccharin
  • Stevia

Artificial sweeteners provide the sweet taste of sugar without the calories. But some types like aspartame and saccharin have drawn controversy over potential health risks.

However, major health authorities like the FDA, WHO, and American Heart Association have reviewed the evidence and deemed commercially-used artificial sweeteners safe. The FDA sets acceptable daily intake levels. As long as people don’t greatly exceed these levels, artificial sweeteners are considered safe.

That said, some newer sweeteners like stevia and sucralose have become popular because they are thought to be more natural and lack the controversy around older sweeteners.

Fat and Calorie Content

Coffee creamers aren’t as high in fat and calories as products like cream or half and half. But they can contain more fat than you might think:

Coffee Creamer Fat (per tbsp) Calories (per tbsp)
Light creamer 2g 20
Original creamer 2-3g 25-40
Fat-free creamer 0g 10-15

The calories from a splash or two of creamer are minimal. But drinking multiple servings per day could add unwanted fat and calories for some people watching their weight. Choosing lower fat or fat free varieties can help minimize this issue.

Impact on Gut Health

A recent area of research is whether artificial sweeteners impact gut health and gut bacteria balance. Some studies suggest they may:

  • One study found the common sweetener sucralose reduced levels of beneficial gut bacteria in mice by up to 50%.
  • Another study found that saccharin altered the types and numbers of gut bacteria in lean and obese humans.

More research is needed given the limited number of studies so far. But some people may wish to minimize intake of sweeteners in creamers until more is known about potential effects on gut health.

Other Minor Concerns

Here are a few other minor points of concern some people have raised about sugar free coffee creamers:

  • Hidden carbs: Some creamers use maltodextrin as a filler. This adds a small amount of carbs, something people on low-carb or keto diets need to watch for.
  • Additives: Creamers often contain emulsifiers, preservatives, and stabilizers to extend shelf life. While considered safe, some people prefer to minimize additives.
  • Acidic drinks: Coffee itself is acidic. Some worry combining it with sweeteners could increase acidity in the digestive tract for those prone to reflux.

However, for most people without special dietary needs or health conditions, these are likely to be minor concerns at most.

Health Benefits of Sugar Free Coffee Creamers

Sugar free coffee creamers provide a few potential health advantages:

Lower in Calories and Sugar

One of the biggest benefits of sugar free creamers is the reduction in calories and sugar compared to regular creamers and other coffee additives:

Additive Calories Sugar
Sugar free coffee creamer – 2 tbsp 20-40 0g
Regular coffee creamer – 2 tbsp 60-80 2-3g
Cream – 2 tbsp 100 0.6g
2 tbsp Sugar or honey 120 14-15g

Consuming extra calories and sugar from high-sugar coffee drinks can lead to weight gain or blood sugar spikes. Going sugar free eliminates these issues.

Can Help Reduce Sugar Cravings

The sweet taste of sugar free creamers may help satisfy a sweet tooth and reduce cravings for other sugary foods and drinks. This is beneficial for managing weight and blood sugar levels.

Just be sure to consume them in moderation and not overdo intake, since they are highly palatable.

Lower Calories Support Weight Loss

Swapping out regular creamers and sugar-filled coffee drinks in favor of sugar free varieties can create a meaningful calorie deficit for those looking to lose weight.

Even a 100 calorie per day reduction could translate into 10 pounds of weight loss over a year’s time. So enjoy the flavor while cutting calories.

May Support Heart Health

Heavy consumption of drinks with added sugars has been linked to increased heart disease risk. By providing flavor without extra sugar, sugar free coffee creamers may support cardiovascular health compared to sugary alternatives.

But this benefit mainly comes from displacing high sugar drinks rather than any special heart benefits from artificial sweeteners themselves.

Are There Any Side Effects?

For most people, drinking moderate amounts of sugar free coffee creamers will not cause any negative side effects. But a few things to be aware of:

  • Blood Sugar Response – Despite having no calories and sugar, artificial sweeteners may still elicit a small insulin response in some people, especially in those with diabetes or insulin resistance.
  • Allergies – Rarely, some people may have sensitivities or allergies to ingredients in creamers like certain artificial sweeteners, dairy, or additives.
  • Digestive Issues – Some people report bloating, stomach pain, or diarrhea after consuming certain sweeteners like sugar alcohols. This is more likely in excessive amounts.
  • Headaches – There are anecdotal reports of headaches from consuming high amounts of artificial sweeteners. But evidence linking the two is weak.

In most cases, people do not report negative effects from sugar free creamers when consumed in moderation as part of a typical diet. Those with underlying health conditions should ask a doctor first.

Special Considerations

Here are a few things specific groups should keep in mind regarding use of sugar free coffee creamers:


Most health authorities advise limiting artificial sweetener intake in young children. While considered safe for adults, the long-term effects in kids is less understood. Focus on building overall healthy eating habits instead.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

Small amounts of artificial sweeteners are likely fine, but women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should minimize intake out of an abundance of caution. There’s no evidence they cause harm, but more research would be helpful.


Sugar free creamers can be a good lower calorie option to flavor coffee, but those with diabetes should be aware they may cause a small blood sugar response similar to sugar. Moderation is key.

Those on Low-Carb Diets

Be sure to check the carb content on creamer labels, as some contain 1-2 grams of carbs as fillers. Opt for lowest carb options.

People with Digestive Issues

A small number of people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners, reporting bloating or diarrhea when consuming them. Try eliminating sweeteners for a period to see if it provides relief.

Healthiest Sugar-Free Creamer Options

While most sugar-free creamers are fine in moderation, some varieties are arguably healthier than others:

  • Creamers with newer generation sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol
  • Low fat or fat free creamers
  • Minimal additives and preservatives
  • Unsweetened nut or plant-based creamers
  • Homemade creamers using milk, fat free half and half, nut milks, etc.

Check nutrition labels and opt for more natural options when possible. But an occasional flavored creamer won’t do any harm.

Moderation Is Key

When it comes to sugar free coffee creamers, moderation and balance are key.

There is no need to completely avoid them – feel free to enjoy flavored creamers occasionally or daily as long as your intake is reasonable. Just be mindful of your overall diet.

Try limiting use to 1-2 servings per day and avoid excessive intake. Also, opt for lower fat and lower calorie varieties whenever possible.

The Bottom Line

For most healthy adults, using sugar free coffee creamers is perfectly fine when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. They offer the benefit of added flavor without extra sugar or calories.

Potential downsides like artificial sweeteners, fat content, and additives are minor concerns at typical intakes. As with most things, too much can be problematic, but a little added flavor in coffee is perfectly reasonable.

Those with medical conditions, pregnant women, and children should be more cautious and may prefer sticking to lower fat dairy creamers. But for most people, the small pleasures like flavored coffee are one part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

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