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Most of us love our morning cup of coffee (and if you don’t, you probably at least reach for a delicious and invigorating tea). If you’re don’t take your coffee black, you know that coffee just isn’t complete without a smooth, velvety coffee creamer to give your beverage an added element of thickness and flavor. But here’s the problem: While coffee itself appears to have many benefits for health, coffee creamers can be full of weird and downright unhealthy ingredients. Check out our handy infographic for a side-by-side comparison of our Collagen Creamers versus conventional ones.

Sugar

Sure, sugar is one of the most maligned ingredients out there — but believe it or not, it’s one of the most wholesome ingredients on our list! At least sugar is just plain-old sugar. But on the other hand, sugar is associated with many poor health outcomes, and is chock-full of empty calories.

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils

This is what we meant when we said that sugar was one of the more wholesome creamer ingredients out there. Hydrogenated vegetable oils, on the other hand, are highly processed. Most hydrogenated oils go through seven stages of processing, including bleaching and deodorizing, before hitting the shelves. Food manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oils in order to keep them solid at room temperature, prolonging shelf life.

Oils that are only partially hydrogenated are also known as trans fats, but even fully hydrogenated oils may negatively impact health. It’s best to avoid these processed oils altogether.

Corn Syrup

Corn syrup — often referred to as high-fructose corn syrup — is a sweetener that’s been added to processed foods in increasing amounts over the past few decades. Let’s break down it’s name for a minute, shall we?

Fructose is a type of sugar molecule that’s found in nature, but it’s usually found alongside fiber, glucose (another type of sugar) and other nutrients. High-fructose corn syrup, as its name suggests, is a sweetener that’s rich in fructose but devoid of the nutrients that are commonly found alongside it in nature. It’s made from highly processed corn — it’s nothing like natural sweeteners. It is extremely high in fructose, with a skewed fructose to glucose ratio. It has the same implications for health as sugar: It packs on the calories, may pose a risk to health, and is generally best left out of your kitchen.

Casein

If you don’t have a problem with dairy, casein may not be an issue for you. But if you’re in any way dairy-intolerant, this is an ingredient you’ll probably want to stay away from. Many adults who have problems digesting dairy have a sensitivity to casein, a protein found in milk. Even some powdered creamers often contain this problem-causing ingredient.

Healthier Alternatives

Did you just check the label on your coffee creamer? If so, we bet we’ve blown your mind! Don’t worry, though — there are plenty of more natural options out there that can stand in for your beloved creamer.

Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer is completely dairy-free and is made from wholesome ingredients like coconut milk, vanilla bean, tapioca, organic ginger, organic nutmeg, and other real foods. It comes in Coconut, Vanilla, and Gingerbread varieties, so there’s really something for everyone. And of course, Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer also has the added benefit of containing 10 g of health-promoting collagen per serving.

Finally, if you’re not sensitive to dairy, organic whole milk is another real-food option that can bring a lovely frothiness and creaminess to your cup of joe.