Recently on a plane, I requested coffee as the attendant came around. Being from Seattle and Chicago, I’m somewhat of a coffee fiend and when I’m traveling I’ll take what I can get. Recent studies keep touting the health benefits of coffee so I’m drinking it (in moderation) guilt-free these days. But use caution when adding sugar or cream…this is where you can get into trouble.
She handed me a creamer packet and I glanced at the ingredients. To my horror, this tiny powder packet contains a bunch of chemicals and products some states are banning due to their known detrimental health effects. Beware! Let’s break this packet down:
Corn Syrup Solids: dehydrated, concentrated corn syrup
Soy Lecithin something to make it taste creamy and not separate; an emulsifier
Artificial flavor: Artificial flavors can be a variety of generally petroleum-based chemicals that flavor foods.
Sodium Caseinate: a milk protein (caution with dairy allergies)
Dipotassium Phosphate: a protein stabilizer so the product won’t clot up when hot water is added. This product is also commonly used in fertilizer and can act as a skin, lung and eye irritant.
Sodium Silicoaluminate: anti-caking agent and controversial source of dietary aluminum
Artificial color: A combination of the seven approved artificial food dyes including Blue 1 and 2, Green 3, Red 40 and 3, Yellow 5 and/or 6. Food dyes are petroleum based.
Mono and Diglycerides: Made from soy, cottonseed, sunflower or palm oils, these compounds helps fat blend into water, another emulsifier. Mono and di-glycerides do not qualify as trans-fats since trans-fats are considered “tri-glycerides”. However, these can be a source of hydrogenated fatty acids without the label - tricky! Vegetarians and vegans use caution since mono and diglycerides can be either animal or plant-derived. It’s very hard to know if not labeled.
All that being said, I drank my coffee black. Read your labels carefully, everyone!