What do you put in your coffee?
Apparently 2/3 of Americans put either a sweetener or a creamer/whitener in their cup.
For the longest time I put skim milk in my coffee
When I was doing my cardiology training in the mid 1980s at Saint Louis University, one of the cardiology faculty was obsessed with the dangers of putting cream in coffee. He and mainstream nutritional guidelines convinced me that putting this dangerous liquid in my coffee would clog my coronary arteries and give me a heart attack. This was during the hey-day of the “saturated fat is bad so it’s better to substitute anything for it even if it was made in a factory and contains umpteen chemicals whose effects on the body are unknown” era.
Thus, was born the dreaded industrial trans-fats, and a host of food transformed to be low fat by adding high fructose corn syrup.
As a result of nutritional advice to avoid all saturated fats, Americans feared cream in their coffee and a variety of Frankensteinian coffee additives was born.
I encountered such a monstrosity the other day, as I was waiting in a gargantuan, luxurious medical waiting room when i felt the urge to have a cup of coffee to stimulate me while I waited interminably for my name to be called. Coffee was offered free of charge to those of us in the waiting room, but there was no container of milk or cream, not even boring skim milk. Instead, I found in a drawer filled with packets of sugar and artificial sweeteners, a product that calls itself “Coffee Creamer”
Made by “Wholesome Farms” a creation of Sysco, the giant food conglomerate, Wholesome Farms (?more appropriately Unwholesome Factory Produced) Coffee Creamer contains a long list of barely recognizable chemicals and industrially processed natural foods as follows
- corn syrup solids
- partially hydrogenated soybean oil
- sodium caseinate ( a milk derivate)
- mono and diglycerides
- sodium silicoaluminate
- sodium tripoliphosphate
- diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and di glycerides
- artifical flavor
- beta carotene
- titanium dioxide
- artifical colors
Wholesome Farms Coffee Creamer is a microcosm of the food industry reaction to misguided nutritional recommendations to cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet: substitute industrially produced chemical, sugars and oils and add in factory processed vitamins to create the illusion of healthiness.
The obvious advantages of this coffee additive are that it can sit in a drawer, unrefrigerated for years without spoiling because there is no real food in it but why on earth would anyone willingly choose to adulterate a perfectly good cup of coffee with it?
After realizing that full fat dairy does not raise the risk of cardiovascular disease (see here and here) about two years ago I began using whole milk (from Trader’s Point Creamery’s happy, grass-fed cows) in my morning coffee and it is a lot more satisfying than the skim milk I used for 30 years. In most coffee shops I’m presented with half and half or skim milk as options and I have no heart health concerns about cream as a coffee additive.
Indeed, we can now appreciate cream in coffee as a very good thing as Annette Henshaw sung in 1928.
Soon we shall have to discuss “the salt in my stew”.