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by Alex Brecher November 04, 2022
It is well known that coffee is an acidic beverage, but have you thought about your creamer? If you get heartburn after drinking coffee, you might want to consider what else is in your coffee. It’s possible that coffee is not the only ingredient causing heartburn after you drink your beverage.
It’s still important to limit your acid intake if you’re on a low-acid diet. That may mean switching to a brand of coffee with less acid, such as Alex’s Low Acid Coffee. But you may need to take a careful look at your creamer and make a change or two. Here’s what to know about whether coffee creamer causes heartburn and what to do about it.
How Heartburn Happens
Before talking about the possible effects of creamer on heartburn, let’s look at what heartburn is. If you’ve ever had it, you know what it feels like, for sure! It feels like your chest is on fire, and you need relief.
The cause of the burning sensation is due to acid from your stomach, or gastric acid, coming into contact with the lining of your esophagus. Your esophagus isn’t designed to touch gastric acid. Acid reflux, or acid coming up, happens when the ring-like muscle between your esophagus and your stomach relaxes more than it should. This muscle is called the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES.
Acid reflux can cause heartburn as well as other symptoms. Examples include coughing, a sour or bitter taste in the mouth or throat, and burping. If you have any of these after you drink coffee, it’s possible your coffee, or the creamer in the coffee, is causing acid reflux. Using Alex’s Low Acid Coffee can help reduce acid from the coffee, but the creamer could still cause a problem.
Heartburn can happen occasionally or regularly. Recurring acid reflux or heartburn may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which is a chronic condition to manage. You should let your doctor know if you have heartburn sometimes.
Dairy Products and Heartburn
Do you use a milk or dairy-based creamer in your coffee? Do you ever order it with whole milk or with whipped topping? Some people have reported heartburn after drinking dairy products or eating cheese. It may be due to the high fat content of full fat dairy products.
A tablespoon of real cream has 5 grams of fat, including 3.5 grams of saturated fat. Saturated fat is less healthy for your heart, and it may be more of a trigger for heartburn.
If you’re not sure how much cream you put in your coffee, you might want to check. You could be surprised at how little one tablespoon is. It’s very possible you’re adding two or even more tablespoons, leading to an intake of 7 grams of saturated fatper cup of coffee. To put that into context, the daily limit for saturated fat is about 20 grams for most people.
That means 7 grams is already a lot, more than one-third of your daily limit. What if you usually have 2, 3, or 4 cups of coffee? You can see why heartburn may be a problem if you tend to use cream in your coffee.
Fat in Creamer
Do you skip real cream and instead choose creamer? Knowing that fat can cause heartburn, you might want to check the fat content of your creamer. A single-serve cup of creamer, whether based on soy, almond, or coconut milk, may have 1 to 2 grams of fat. That is certainly less than the amount in heavy cream, but again, might those grams of saturated fat be adding up faster than you bargained for?
They might, especially if you’re the type to automatically use two cups of creamer without thinking about it each time you have a cup of coffee. Do you have a cup or two of coffee at home, and then more when you get to work? Then you may be getting a dose of several grams of saturated fat, leading to heartburn. That’s especially true if you have a fatty breakfast or go out for fast food at lunchtime.
Fat in Coffee Beverages
How much fat do you get in a coffee beverage if you order one instead of making it at home? It could be quite a load, and that might play a role in causing heartburn. There could easily be 5 grams of fat in a small coffee with whole milk, with up to 13 grams of fat in a large drink.
That’s before adding extra fat such as from whipped topping. Every squeeze could add another gram or two of fat. Knowing all of this about the relationship between fat and heartburn, and the potential for your coffee beverage to end up high in fat, could be enough to make you think twice when ordering.
Other Ingredients in Coffee Creamer
It’s not all about the fat when it comes to coffee creamer. While real cream can be high in fat, at least it is free from other ingredients. Creamers tend to have a variety of artificial ingredients. These could potentially lead to increased heartburn.
One set of ingredients that’s common in coffee creamers, especially diet creamers, is artificial sweeteners. These have been reported as a heartburn trigger by some people, so you might want to check the ingredients of any creamer that you use. If it has artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, or saccharin, it could be suspect.
If you’re worried, you can be extra cautious the next time you go shopping for a coffee creamer. You can look for all-natural versions to be sure of avoiding artificial chemicals. Or, you can check the list of ingredients and choose a brand that is sweetened with monk fruit, stevia, or another natural sweetener. It could be a little higher in cost, but if it avoids heartburn, it’s probably worth the extra money.
Coffee Creamer, Weight Gain, and Heartburn
There is something else to consider when putting together your coffee beverages. How many calories do they have? That’s completely relevant because of the fact that excess weight is a risk factor for acid reflux and heartburn.
If you’re making your own coffee beverage, how many calories does it have? When you brew your own Ground or Whole Bean Coffee, such as Alex’s Low Acid Coffee, you’re only getting about 5 calories per cup. But what about the additions?
Each tablespoon of cream has 50 calories. A couple of those adds 100 calories, and if you have a couple of cups of coffee, you’ll be adding hundreds of calories to your day. Similarly, a packet of creamer has 20 to 30 calories, and adding creamer after creamer to cup after cup of coffee can give you a high-calorie beverage. That’s before adding any sugar or flavoring syrup.
A cup of coffee from a coffee shop can also be high in calories unless you’re careful. Black coffee and coffee with a splash of skim milk or almond milk is low-calorie. A coffee drink with creamer or whole milk and whipped topping, along with flavoring syrup, can have hundreds of calories. Drinking these beverages regularly can contribute to weight gain and increase your risk for heartburn.
Alternatives to Coffee Creamer
There are many different types of cream, creamers, and milk. You might try a few different ones to see which works best for you. A simple solution could be swapping cream or a creamer for skim milk or low-fat milk. Just keep the low-fat milk to 2 tablespoons, and you’ll have less than a gram of fat and no artificial ingredients.
You might also check into whether you’re particularly sensitive to dairy or another ingredient. Creamers are available in soy, almond, coconut, and other versions, so you might be able to find something that works for you and still tastes good.
Low-Acid Coffee and Creamer for Heartburn
Are you a purist who cannot face the thought of using a substitute for cream? Maybe a low-acid coffee would work best for you. That’s because it doesn’t taste as bitter or sour, since it has less acid in it. With this flavor profile, you may be able to get away with using smaller amounts of cream and still enjoy your coffee.
Whipped Cream and Heartburn
If you love fancy coffee drinks, you may be one who likes whipped cream on top of your coffee beverage. It can be high in fat, but there are workarounds. First, you can make your beverage yourself, with Alex’s Low Acid Coffee, instead of ordering it from a shop. Then, you get to choose your topping. You might consider a non dairy or low-fat whipped topping, such as almond or coconut based. There are also fat-free versions available.
Other Causes of Heartburn When Drinking Coffee
Many people believe coffee is a trigger for heartburn. There may be other causes of heartburn from your coffee, aside from any creamer that you may use. First up is caffeine. Caffeine relaxes the LES and increases the risk for acid reflux. Worse, caffeine also increases acid production in the stomach.
If you think caffeine may be causing heartburn, consider using less caffeine. Alex’s Low Acid Coffee comes in Decaf and Half Caff versions to help you regulate your caffeine intake while still getting the same great beans.
As a reminder, if acidity in coffee is a problem for you, you don’t have to avoid drinking this favorite beverage. Instead, choose a brand with less acid, such as Alex’s Low Acid Coffee. It is certified organic and guaranteed fresh. Plus, it tastes great due to its blend of coffee beans from famous coffee-producing regions in the world, to its roast, and to its less bitter and sour taste from having less acid.
You can also think about what you’re having with your coffee. If you’re downing it with a doughnut, bacon and eggs, or a breakfast sandwich or burrito from a fast food joint, you might be getting a load of fat that contributes to heartburn. A less greasy breakfast, such as egg whites with vegetables or oatmeal with fruit, may help.
More Ways to Reduce Heartburn
Coffee with a creamer is just one small part of life. There are many more possible triggers for heartburn, and you can do a lot to lower your risk of having an episode. These are some ways to reduce heartburn risk.
If you have heartburn more than once or twice, it’s best to ask your doctor to investigate. You don’t want to develop complications from frequent heartburn.
Creamer in coffee can cause heartburn, so if you tend to drink coffee with creamer and you think your beverage is causing symptoms, you might want to take a second look at your creamer. It’s possible that another type of creamer could help. You can also be sure that you’re using a coffee brand with less acid, such as Alex’s Low Acid Coffee, if you’re on a low-acid diet to prevent heartburn.
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