As a coffee-loving dietitian living with type 1 diabetes, I love a coffee creamer that won’t raise my blood sugar. I teach my patients that the best coffee creamer for diabetes will be low in carbs, contain no sugar alcohols, and offer great flavor without needing to use multiple servings.
In this article, we’ll dig into how to choose the best coffee creamer for diabetes and review five dietitian approved creamers.
Quick summary of the 5 best coffee creamers for diabetes:
How to choose a creamer for diabetes
Whether you already make coffee at home or you’re going to start, creamer is essential to cut down the acidity of coffee and give you a great flavor. Before heading to the store, there are certain features to look for in a creamer that won’t raise your blood sugar.
First, we want to choose a creamer that is low in carbs. When we eat foods that have carbs, our bodies turn those carbs into sugar during digestion. Low carb equals low sugar as sugar is a type of carb. Aim for a creamer that has 3 grams of carbs or less per serving on the label.
Limit sugar alcohols
Have you ever gotten a really upset stomach and/or diarrhea after eating a sugar-free candy? You can blame sugar alcohols for that.
What are sugar alcohols?
In short, sugar alcohols are not sugar or alcohol; rather they are a type of carb used in several food products to add sweetness without adding calories. Some sugar alcohols are found naturally in fruits or veggies, but most are made in a lab (1).
Side effects of sugar alcohols
Since most sugar alcohols are made in a lab, our bodies don’t digest and use them like normal sugar. Many people experience gas, bloating, nausea, or diarrhea when they eat high amounts of sugar alcohols.
Common sugar alcohols
Foods and drinks marketed as low-sugar or sugar-free often have these common sugar alcohols:
Sweet drinks without sugar alcohols
To avoid the tummy troubles of sugar alcohols, choose beverages with a natural sweetener such as stevia. If your drink does contain a sugar alcohol, make sure it has erythritol as this has been shown to have the smallest effect on the tummy (1).
It’s important to also look at the serving size on the nutrition label as it shows the amount of food/drink that contains all of the nutrition listed. If you use more than 1 serving, you’re getting more carbs, calories, etc., so it’s important to measure your creamer if possible. Now that you know HOW to choose a coffee creamer for diabetes, let’s take a look at the 5 best ones.
5 Best coffee creamers for diabetes
1)Heavy cream, Half and Half, or Coconut cream
First, we have good ol’ plain cream. If you’re dairy free, coconut cream is a great alternative. These are first on the list as they truly are the best coffee creamer options for diabetes, and you’ll see why below. Highlights:
Little to no carbs
Most natural creamer option
Provides a rich, creamy mouth feel to coffee
No added sugars
If you want just a little something in your coffee, this is the way to go!
Nutrition info: Serving size: 1 Tbsp, 50-60 calories, <1-1 g carbs, 0-1 g sugar
Second, this liquid, shelf-stable creamer has been on the market for a while, but it still boasts 4.0-4.5-star ratings for most flavors on Amazon. Highlights:
No carbs or sugar alcohols
Gluten and soy free
Nutrition info: Serving size: 1 tbsp, 10 calories, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar
3)KITU Super Coffee
Next, we have a shelf-stable dairy liquid creamer with a 4-star rating on Amazon. Fun fact, this creamer was started on Shark Tank. Highlights:
Sweetened with stevia and monk fruit concentrate
Several different flavors
99.9% lactose free
Nutrition: Serving size: 1 tbsp, 15 calories, 0 g carbs, 0 g sugar
4)Premier Protein Shake
Ok, this next one isn’t really marketed as a creamer, BUT it’s low in carbs and high in protein which is great for stable blood sugars. It’s sweetened with sucralose which is not a sugar alcohol. It does have a fiber called inulin though which may impact digestion for some people. Highlights:
3 to 5 grams of carbs for an entire 11.5 oz bottle
Several great flavors
Liquid form so it’s easy to mix
Shelf stable to take on the go and add to a plain hot or iced coffee
Gluten free, no soy ingredients
Nutrition: Serving size: 1 bottle (11.5 oz) 160 calories, 3-5 g carbs, 1 g sugar. For reference, 1 tbsp of liquid equals 0.5 oz, so 1 bottle has nearly 23 tbsps. 1 tbsp serving= 0.22 g carbs, 7 calories, 0 g sugar
5)Califa Farms Oat Milk
Finally, we have another dairy-free creamer option with a 4.5-star rating that many coffee shop baristas use. Per 8 oz, it’s about the same amount of carbs as cow milk. Per tablespoon it’s less than 1 gram of carbs. Highlights:
Rich and creamy
Used at coffee shops
Steams into a foamy topping for beverages
Used for cooking and baking as well
Nutrition: Serving size: 8 oz: 130 calories, 14 g carbs, 3 g sugar. Per 1 tbsp serving: 0.8 g carbs, 8 calories, 0 g sugar
In this post, we covered how to choose the best coffee creamer for diabetes and reviewed 5 creamers that are blood sugar friendly. And so, when you choose a coffee beverage that isn’t straight black, be picky about what creamer you use.
Remember to select a creamer with about 3 grams of carbs or less per serving, always measure the creamer if you’re able, and keep your tummy happy by steering clear of sugar alcohols (unless it’s erythritol).
If you order coffee at a coffee shop, most places will have heavy cream or half and half, but if you do go with milk or oat milk which are higher in carbs, ask for about ¾ of your drink to be coffee.
Then, if you do decide that you need a little something sweet to pair with your coffee, head over to Milk & Honey Nutrition’s website and check out The Easy Diabetes Desserts Cookbook. It’s packed full of yummy baking recipes for you to enjoy while helping to balance your blood sugar.
Finally, when you make or order coffee, remember to choose a coffee creamer that’s diabetes friendly and don’t let your favorite coffee drink send your blood sugar through the roof!
Need help with carb counting?
If you want more information about diabetes nutrition, check out my other resources:
Carb Counting Cheat Sheet
Free eBook: Eating With Diabetes: A Guide for Beginners