Low-Sugar S'mores Iced Latte
With gooey & decadent black chocolate drizzle and a thick layer of creamy French Vanilla, just one sip of this iced latte will transport you to the campfire.
This article has been written by experts and fact-checked by experts, including licensed nutritionists, dietitians or medical professionals. The information in the article is based on scientific studies and research.
It is designed to be honest, unbiased and objective, and opinions from both sides of an argument are presented wherever there is disagreement.
The scientific references in this article (marked by 1, 2, 3, etc.) are clickable links to peer-reviewed research material on the subject being discussed.
There are many simple joys in life.
But we often don’t fully appreciate simple pleasures, until we can’t experience them anymore.
For example, when you’re diagnosed with type II diabetes or you start a low-carb diet, that delicious cup of coffee with ample amounts of cream and sugar suddenly becomes off-limits.
Artificial sweeteners have been around since the mid-20th century, but most have been plagued with allegations (or proof) of health risks – and most of them don’t taste very good.
Non-dairy coffee creamers have also been around since the middle of the 20th century, but until very recently, they were all loaded with sugar and carbs, along with hydrogenated oils and artificial ingredients. Most still are.
So diabetics and keto dieters did have alternatives to cream and sugar when they poured a cup of coffee. The alternatives just weren’t good ones.
In recent years, there’s been a revolution in both the sugar substitute and coffee creamer markets. Non-nutritive, zero-carb sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit extract have emerged as acceptable, healthy alternatives to sugar.
And a number of companies have begun marketing coffee creamers which are much healthier than the Coffee-Mate and International Delight creamers that have been with us for decades.
Two of those options are Prymal coffee creamer and Super Coffee’s Super Creamer.
What’s in them? Do they taste any good? And which is better?
Let’s find out.
Type 2 diabetes was definitely on the minds of the people who founded this company. Courtney Lee, the investor of Prymal creamer, says she came up with the idea from watching her grandfather. He was diabetic, but still insisted on putting sugar and Coffee-Mate in his coffee every day because he couldn’t find anything else that tasted good.
Her answer was to create Prymal coffee creamer, a powdered, non-dairy sugar-free creamer that doesn’t contain most of the “bad stuff” that’s in milk-and-cream alternative products.
What is in it? Glad you asked.
One of the distinguishing ingredients in this creamer is a sweetener called Ketosweet. Ketosweet is a blend of three different natural sweeteners plus chicory root extract, a probiotic source of the fiber known as inulin. (Gum acacia and inulin are also added to Prymal creamer as carriers for the oil, chosen because they provide slight, additional health benefits.)
Since each of the sweeteners has different pros and cons, let’s look at each of them in more detail.
This is one of the artificial sweeteners known as a sugar alcohol, even though it doesn’t contain sugar or alcohol. Erythritol does occur naturally in some fruits, but the version that’s commonly used as a sweetener is artificial, not natural. The FDA approved its use in food about twenty years ago, and you’ll see it as an ingredient in all sorts of zero-calorie foods and beverages.
Sugar alcohols are known for causing digestive issues, but erythritol is one of the “better” ones. Some people may experience gas, cramping, bloating or diarrhea after consuming it, but most don’t.
Unlike sugar and some substitutes, erythritol does not affect blood sugar or insulin levels because the body excretes it quickly. That’s made it a favorite for use in products made for diabetics. It’s both low-calorie and low-carb.
Erythritol is sweet, but not overly sweet, and it has no strong aftertaste. That’s why it’s often mixed with sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit, since those alternatives are so sweet that just a very small amount is needed to sweeten beverages. The erythritol provides both added sweetness and, more importantly, bulk.
Some varieties of Prymal creamer also contain added erythritol in addition to Ketosweet.
Stevia is a natural sugar substitute, derived from the leaf of the stevia plant native to South America. The sweetener is described as non-nutritive, meaning it contains few or no calories (stevia is actually calorie-free) and no important nutrients. However, it’s one of the few non-nutritive sweeteners that is natural and not artificially-produced.
Stevia is extremely sweet, 200-300 times more sweet than sugar. So only a tiny bit is needed to produce the sweetening effect of sugar or other natural sugars like honey. As we’ve just mentioned, that’s why other sweeteners like erythritol are often added to it; for instance, a “packet of stevia” would be so small that it would be difficult to handle or store.
There’s one other reason why stevia is “diluted” – it has an aftertaste that many people find to be bitter. Adding a sugar alcohol like erythritol can hide that aftertaste.
Stevia is safe and approved by the FDA, but only in extract form. Like erythritol, it doesn’t affect blood sugar or insulin levels so it’s safe for diabetics to use, and it contains no carbs.
Monk fruit sweetener is in the same general category as stevia: non-nutrient, zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and safe for diabetics. It comes from the juice of – you guessed it – the monk fruit, native to southern Asia. This sweetener isn’t quite as sweet as stevia, but it’s close; one of the important differences is that it has almost no aftertaste.
There’s one other important difference between stevia and monk fruit extract: monk fruit sweetener appears to actually be good for you. It gets its sweetness from substances called mogrosides, which are antioxidants that can help prevent oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is often an issue for diabetics, and it’s one of the major culprits in the development of illnesses like neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. That appears to make monk fruit sweetener a particularly good choice for diabetics.
OK, that makes Prymal coffee creamer sweet. What makes it creamy?
Traditional creamers use unhealthy hydrogenated oils or corn syrup to do the job. Instead, Prymal combines coconut oil and organic coconut milk powder as the base of its creamer, and then adds healthy medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) separately.
There’s actually a better way to do that; MCT oil is derived from coconuts and naturally contains MCTs, and we’ll discuss that more in a bit. However, Prymal’s choices are still good ones, and far superior to the oil used in creamers like Coffee-Mate.
Prymal coffee creamer is obviously safe for those who are lactose intolerant. You might also think that since this creamer uses coconut milk, it’s dairy-free and vegan-friendly. It’s neither, though. It contains added sodium caseinate, the protein that remains after lactose is removed from milk. It’s a safe ingredient, except for those with allergies to milk protein.
There are five more ingredients in Prymal coffee creamer: silicon dioxide, sunflower lecithin, pink salt, natural flavoring, and vegetable juice color. The chocolate flavors also contain cacao powder.
Since it contains no added sugars, and only one of its natural sweeteners (erythritol) contains any carbohydrates at all, you’d expect that Prymal creamer is a very-low-carb product as well. The truth is a bit more difficult to sort out.
The label on the creamer says there are three grams of net carbs in each serving (three tablespoons). The company, however, claims that Prymal contains only one gram of net carbs per serving. Why the discrepancy? It’s because the gum acacia and inulin in Prymal creamer make things complicated.
Normally, net carbs are figured by subtracting dietary fiber from total carbs. When you’re on a paleo or ketogenic diet, fiber doesn’t really count as carbs; that’s because it’s not digested, and it passes from the body quickly. However, the government doesn’t consider either of those ingredients dietary fiber, so they’re legally counted as net carbs – meaning the label has to say three grams of carbs, not one.
That’s potentially a big deal. A strict keto diet only allows you to consume 20-25 carbs per day. If you drink three cups of coffee a day, and use a full serving of Prymal creamer each time, the government’s numbers mean you’re consuming nine net carbs, or almost half your daily allowance. Prymal’s numbers would mean you’re only consuming three net carbs, an amount that easily fits into your diet.
Who’s right? We’re not nutritionists or scientists, so we have no idea. Prymal claims its creamer is keto-friendly, but it’s up to you to decide whether it truly is.
There are 45 calories and four grams of saturated fat in each serving of Prymal coffee creamer.
The company has a lineup of flavors that are always available, and others which are released on a seasonal or limited basis.
“Original” (creamy without extra sweetness), French vanilla, cacao mocha, butter pecan, Italian sweet cream, salted caramel and birthday cake are the staple flavors; others like blueberry pancakes, cinnamon dolce, cookie dough, pumpkin spice and Fruit Loops are among the ones that come and go.
There’s no doubt that a lot of time and effort went into creating the flavors; they’re delicious and satisfying – even if they don’t taste quite the same as heavy cream or Starbucks specialty coffees. One way to spice them up even more is to mix them with unsweetened almond milk to create a liquid creamer.
Prymal coffee creamer is gluten-free and non-GMO, and since it comes in powder form, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated. All flavors are available in a large bag (11.3 ounces, enough for 25 cups of coffee) and some are sold in a small bag (2.8 ounces, five cups of coffee) as well. The product is available on the company’s website and on Amazon. If you’re a latte fan, Prymal also sells a reasonably-priced, branded milk frother.
Super Creamer has a similar but slightly different origin story. It was originally created for coffee drinkers on keto diets, but it’s ideal for diabetics as well.
The creamer is an offshoot from the company’s original product, Super Coffee. Super Coffee is ready-to-drink coffee sweetened with monk fruit extract, with added MCT oil to help keto dieters with their fat burning. (We told you that you’d hear more about monk fruit and MCT oil.)
After the success of Super Coffee, Super Creamer was born. It contains many of the same ingredients, and provides many of the same health benefits.
Basically, just four ingredients: purified water, MCT oil, monk fruit sweetener, and either milk protein isolate or pea protein. The flavors with added milk protein are still gluten-free, but of course, not vegan-friendly.
The choice of monk fruit extract was important to Super Coffee; it’s the best-tasting zero-carb natural sweetener, with virtually no potential side effects and virtually no aftertaste. Protein is added to compensate for the protein that’s normally contained in milk.
MCT oil certainly is a benefit to those on keto, and it provides a number of other health benefits. It’s been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, it reduces cardiovascular risks by contributing to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and helps to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
The only other ingredients in Super Creamer contribute minerals like potassium and calcium, or natural flavors.
There’s nothing ambiguous about the carb content in this creamer; it contains zero carbohydrates. That’s good news for those on low-carb diets, those with diabetes – and everyone else concerned with health and wellness. There are 15-30 calories and two grams of saturated fat in a three-tablespoon serving.
There aren’t dozens, and none of them are “novelty” flavors. They’re simply very tasty. You can choose from “original,” caramel, hazelnut, vanilla, French vanilla, sweet cream and coconut mocha. Each is carefully created with natural flavorings, and each delivers the taste you’d expect.
Super Creamer is manufactured in liquid form, it’s available in cartons containing 26 fluid ounces (enough for about 17 cups of coffee), and it has to be kept in the refrigerator. It’s gluten-free, lactose-free and non-GMO.
To be honest, these are two of the healthiest coffee creamers on the market. They’re both good choices for those with diabetes, and if you believe Prymal’s explanation about its carb numbers, they’re both good choices for those on a keto diet.
Prymal certainly wins the battle for number and variety of flavors, since you can’t try to replicate the taste of Fruit Loops or pumpkin spice latte with Super Creamer. However, their “standard” flavors are quite similar, and both are very good.
There’s a clearer winner in the battle for health benefits. Super Creamer contains zero carbs, while Prymal contains one (or three) grams. Super Creamer contains less saturated fat and fewer calories. Super Creamer’s monk fruit extract is a better choice than Ketosweet. And Super Creamer’s MCT oil trumps Prymal’s coconut oil and added MCTs.
You can’t go too far wrong with either creamer. But in our view, if you’re deliberately choosing a coffee creamer for its health benefits – and they both taste good – why not choose the healthier one?
Published: March 31, 2021
Last Updated: August 24, 2021
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