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Creamer vs. Half and Half

Hey Hounds

So I'm sitting here wondering if coffee creamer (The non dairy kind) is better for you than half and half cream is. For you coffee anyway.

We won't get into my FIL making milk out of it for cereal and to give to the dogs.

DT

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  1. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm more comfortable with something that came from a Jersey cow than from a factory in north Jersey.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Veggo

      Bingo. Key for me is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_c... "Other common ingredients include corn syrup and vegetable oil solids. Some creamers are based on soy milk rather than on milk protein." A link from the Wikipedia article goes here: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15...

      Just. Don't. Need. It.

    2. The Coffeemate-type products used to be full of trans fats (through hydrogenated soy proteins). Not sure if they still are, but I prefer something a little less manufactured in my coffee.

      38 Replies
      1. re: jnstarla

        My rule of thumb has always been, something made naturally HAS to be better than is manufactured.
        What I have found out when confronting my SIL with this is that this decision is not based on health but on finances. My FIL is plain and simply opting for the cheapest measure. Regardless of his, my MIL or the dogs health.
        I just still can't wrap my head around making "Milk" out of it.

        DT

        1. re: Davwud

          I have to play the devils advocate. Who says drinking milk beyond infancy and of another species is "better?" The Chinese have been making soy milk for centuries.

          [This is coming from a cheesemonger. - & I do drink milk]

          Half and half does have an oily off taste if youve weaned yourself off of it and try it after several months.

          1. re: kare_raisu

            kare, I agree with what you say about humans as a species drinking milk beyond infancy, and then, of another species. Still, being lactose intolerant, I can drink buttermilk and kefir, love cheese, and good yogurt is a joy. Also, I agree that soy products are good, and love many of them to distraction.

            I recognize your devil's advocate position and respect it, but I have to take up the bait and say: ( as you would expect) why would manufactured non-dairy, HFCS-laden, additive-laden creamer be better for one, rather than just having a Tbsp. of cream in one's coffee, as I am personally able to to, but know not all can?

            I just love these fringier CH threads...it's what we're all thnking but never ask.

            Cay

              1. re: cayjohan

                Wow, you can drink buttermilk? That has one of the highest levels of lactose. At least that's what it says on the Lactose Intolerance site here http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepa...

                1. re: Up With Olives

                  I know - odd. From what I've been told, is has to do with the culturing of the product. As if it's sort of, well, pre-digested for one's system! I don't know, but won't knock whatever mechanism is at work, as regular milk is a no-go for my tum.

                  1. re: cayjohan

                    I'm so excited. I've been avoiding baking with buttermilk, which, as we know, is a pretty miraculous product. I'll try it.

                2. re: cayjohan

                  You should know that lactose intolerant people can drink raw milk (unpasteurized).

                  http://www.organicpastures.com/faq.html

                  3. Why do you say that "Raw Milk is Alive"?
                  Natural organic raw milk has in it vitally important living things. These include the following: beneficial bacteria, enzymes (including lipase, protease. and other), lactase forming bacteria, and many enzyme based pathogen killing systems. ****The common practice of pasteurization inactivates or dramatically reduces the effects of these important active (living) elements. As a result, you may be lactose intolerant when drinking pasteurized milk, but not lactose intolerant when you drink raw milk.**** This is because lactase enzymes are being formed when you digest raw milk. That is why we say, "only living milk brings life."

                  In fact some lactose intolerant people drink raw milk as a morning "supplement" which allows them to eat pasteurized dairy during the rest of the day.

                  So it would seem that milk left alone is healthy... it is actually the processing of milk that makes our bodies reject it!

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    Having grown up on a farm drinking unpasteurized milk and developing lactose intolerance at the age of 6, I have to strongly disagree. Also, enzymes are proteins, not living things.

                    1. re: phofiend

                      The way it was explained to me is that pasteurization destabilizes the proteins, and is is that destabilized protein which the body rejects. I think the term "living" is referring not specifically to the protein, but to the milk as a whole... ie pasteurized milk is dead milk whereas unpasteurized milk is a living thing.

                      Mr Taster

                      1. re: Mr Taster

                        Lactose intolerance is due to inability to digest the sugar lactose...nothing to do with proteins or pasteurization. Any heat treatment (i.e. cooking) denatures proteins and no one develops bad reactions to cooked proteins (from any sources). The whole notion that pasteurized milk is somehow inferior to "raw" milk is idiotic...along the same lines that unpasturized apple juice is supperior to "raw" apple juice. Both "raw" apple juice and milk can and will have nasty bugs in it...the question is how soon you will get sick and how nasty it will be. People should go and see how milk or apple juice is "made" before believing the nonsense.....

                        1. re: Pollo

                          By your argument, yogurt with dead cultures is not superior in any way to yogurt with live active cultures. Would you agree with this statement?

                          Raw milk contains bacteria which produces lactase. Lactase deficiency is what causes people to be lactose intolerance:

                          See header "What causes lactose intolerance" here:
                          http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddisea...

                          Therefore, drink the lactase producing bacteria and you can then consume dairy which does not contain lactase (i.e. pasteurized dairy products

                          )

                          My information comes from a recent visit to several farms and dairies central California's dairy country (Fresno area). All of the dairies except for one were fetid stinkholes with cows rooting around in what looked like mud, but wasn't (if you get my point). Raw milk from these conventional dairies would be a death sentence... that's why the milk has to be pasteurized.

                          Conversely, the raw milk dairy maintained open pastures with grazing cows and was by comparison an extremely sanitary place (no lagoons or fetid stinkholes at all).

                          Leaving the argument of the benefits of live bacteria aside, I feel more comfortable drinking raw milk which comes from a clean, well maintained single source dairy than milk that has to be pasteurized because the conditions in which it is harvested are filthy.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            I did not claim that "yogurt with dead cultures is not superior in any way to yogurt with live active cultures". If you read the link you posted you can see in the first paragraph that "Lactose intolerance is caused by a shortage of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the cells that line the small intestine". Pasteurization is designed to get rid of bugs that are pathogenic and will be present in raw milk. Wheather cows are living under conventional conditions or have access to open pastures changes only the probability that the milk they produce will have the pathogenic bugs.

                            1. re: Pollo

                              Pollo said:
                              "The whole notion that pasteurized milk is somehow inferior to "raw" milk is idiotic"

                              Pollo also said:
                              "I did not claim that "yogurt with dead cultures is not superior in any way to yogurt with live active cultures"

                              If you agree that the living organisms and bacteria in yogurt have positive health benefits, then why would you immediately assume that it is "idiotic" that raw milk does not? While this is not a direct correlation, acceptance of one would lead the curious dairy consumer to investigate the other... to summarily dismiss the whole notion of healthful milk bacteria as "idiotic" but healthful yogurt bacteria as a matter of course, may not be a practical conflict, but certainly is an intellectual one.

                              If:
                              A) Lactose intolerance is caused by lactase deficiency
                              and
                              B) The living bacteria in raw milk produce lactase as a byproduct

                              then would it not make sense that lactose intolerant people could consume raw milk?

                              Lastly, Pollo said:
                              "Pasteurization is designed to get rid of bugs that are pathogenic and will be present in raw milk."

                              Pasteurization cannot get rid of only pathogens and leave the beneficial bacteria. This is clearly a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

                              Incidentaly, there is also evidence to suggest that a grass-fed diet (versus grain) changes the pH balance in the cow, making their bodies less susceptible to infectious disease.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Yogurt is started with pure cultures of non-pathogenic organism. Raw milk may have small amounts of non-pathogenic bugs that may or may not be of any benefit. On the other hand if pathogenic bugs are present then people get sick. It is the notion of the suposed benefit of raw milk that I find idiotic. This is a simple situation where the suposed benefits of raw milk are miniscule in comparison with the benefits of pasteurization. Want the benefit of "good" bugs eat yogurt.

                                1. re: Pollo

                                  I am merely pointing out that pasteurization does bad things to milk as well (why do you think that every milk except raw must be fortified with vitamins A and D).

                                  Sanitary raw milk production lends itself well to smaller scale, sustainable farming. It does *not* lend itself well to mass produced factory farming. Raw milk production is totally inefficient by comparison... think about it, in addition to raising the cows, you have to plant grass and alfalfa for the cows to eat, and rotate the pastures. You've got to absorb the expense of growing a crop (which you do not sell directly, and for which there is no direct profit) as well as the expense of raising and milking the cows. Compare this to conventional dairy farmers which throw grain in a bucket and let the cows eat as they stand around in pools of liquid manure all day. It's much more efficient, but come on-- it's so disgusting!

                                  The real problem with pathogens in raw milk comes from irresponsible dairy producers. In the days before milk was pasteurized, unless you knew your dairy famer's milk production practices, it was a crapshoot as to what you got. Back then, who knew if the milk was produced (or stored) in sterile conditions. I think pasteurization in this environment was necessary because there were no adequate health standards in place, and bacteriological analysis of milk was not possible. That is clearly not the case in today's hyper health aware marketplace.

                                  If you know where your raw milk comes from, the potential danger is infinitesimal. This is one thing that would worry me about raw milk going mainstream.... undoubtedly there would be greater competition to keep prices low, and those farms which employ expensive, ultra-sanitary measures would be forced to cut them in order to keep their business alive, and the risk of pathogens would go up.

                                  The thing that really gets me is that all this is just common sense. Let cows be cows... eat grass, roam freely, have babies and they will produce high quality, sanitary raw milk. It's only when you impose an unnatural system of dairy processing onto this paradigm that pathogens become a real problem.

                                  Filthy boiled milk might be clinically safer since the risk of contamination is basically 0, but its important to know that the benefits to the digestive system are also 0 (and can in fact exacerbate other digestive problems, not the least of which is lactose intolerance). To buy or not to buy raw milk is a decision that people must make for themselves, but it should be an educated decision.

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    "It's only when you impose an unnatural system of dairy processing onto this paradigm that pathogens become a real problem."

                                    that is not correct. anthrax is a case in point.

                                    "Can milk be contaminated by anthrax?
                                    Although most anthrax outbreaks in recent history have been recorded in beef cattle, there is a possibility that anthrax can occur in dairy cattle. B. anthracis is fragile and easily inactivated by common disinfectants or exposure to moderate temperatures (above 58°C or below 4°C). In an environment such as milk, the vegetative organisms of B. anthracis die spontaneously within 24 hours. Furthermore, it is known that B. anthracis does not form spores in a cool environment, and the fermentation processes would destroy all vegetative bacteria that gain access to milk. The environmental contamination of milk with anthrax is extremely unlikely and this is precluded further under Canadian milk handling processes which require collected milk to be carried through enclosed milk lines to milk room refrigerated vats. The collected milk must also be cooled to 1-4°C within two hours of milking and maintained at that temperature. All the above precautions combined with B. anthracis characteristics are sufficient to reduce the risk of viable anthrax organisms present in bulk milk or dairy products, from herds where anthrax occurred, to nil."

                                    citation from the canadian food inspection agency: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/a...

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      I was making the common sense point that cows living in a healthy environment tend to produce healthy milk. I was not making the "uncommon sense" point that healthy living condition insulates cows from every instance of disease.

                                      You can live your life with the umbrella always open, always anticipating a problem, always insulating yourself from a percieved threat. I'm just here to make the point that it's okay to put away the umbrella if the skies are clear.

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        Problem with "common sense" approach is that it is very uncommon as this discussion demonstrates to a certain dgree. Cows (as do any other animals) are prone to infection and do carry bugs in their systems regardless if they appear healthy or live in healthy environment (i.e. grass fed) so unless you where to test each and every animal regularly and have almost sterile milk collecting/processing environment you will run into problems. The point I am making is that the suposed benefits of consumption of raw milk are not worth the risks or the costs of such production. By the way, the addition of vitamins A & D to milk are at this point in time nothing more than a marketing ploy. Sure, in the 1930's, '40's or '50's it made sense due to under nourished population but now?

                                        1. re: Pollo

                                          That's not true.... you don't have to test each and every animal regularly. You do, however, have to test the batches of milk regularly, and government regulations mandate a certain minimum. That's why it's important to know your raw milk supplier and his sanitary practices. You should find a raw milk provider that voluntarily exceeds government minimum standards. If you find a raw milk provider who takes sanitation seriously, contamination risk is so low as to be negligible.

                                          Mr Taster

                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                            Required testing of milk is v. limited and generic in nature and will not detect the potencial pathogens that may be there. To implement this kind of approach (testing) would be 1) v. expensive and 2) too long to be usefull since raw milk will has a short shelf life (time delay before results are available). To say that "you need to knowing your supplier" is meaningless. Pasteurization does what it's supposed to do - kill pathogens and if in the process few beneficial/harmless bugs get killed...Oh, well....eat yougurt with live cultures....

                                            1. re: Pollo

                                              "Required testing of milk is v. limited and generic in nature and will not detect the potencial pathogens that may be there."

                                              Where do you get this information?

                                              http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/dairy/404-...

                                              Out of all dairy producers, raw milk production itself is very limited in scope. The expense of raw milk testing procedure as well as the inherent expenses (such as maintaining a grass/alfalfa crop to feed the cows) mean that the cost of raw milk is very expensive ($5-$7 per half gallon is how much I pay at the farmer's market, but I've seen it at retailers for $10).

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                The problem is not where I get my information (I'm a microbiologist/food scientist) but that you do not understant the information you quote. Have a look at it again and try to comprehend what is stated.

                                                1. re: Pollo

                                                  If you're a microbiologist/food scientists than you should have no problem quickly pointing me to the journals in which you are referencing your information.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                    No need for journals...at this time you did not even understand what I said in my last post. Like I said before....read the info. you quoted:

                                                    http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/dairy/404-...

                                                    There is more than enough information to make my point.

                                                    1. re: Pollo

                                                      I've said a lot of things here, and I want to understand your points.

                                                      Specifically which of my many points do you contest, and what specific references in the vt.edu site contradict these assertions?

                                                      Mr Taster

                                          2. re: Pollo

                                            My grandparents used and drank raw milk all their lives and so did I when I visited, which was regularly for fourteen years. I remember my grandmother boiling water and taking that hot water down to the barn to wash the udders and her hands with before she began milking. They knew what to do. There was no testing, but they took good care of their livestock.

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              At the raw milk farm I visited, they used iodine to sterilize the udders before milking. In fact, the milking barn itself had a huge pile of iodine stained rags piled up right next to the washing machine!

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                Iodine is not a sterilizer...it's a sanitizer and can not be used all the time since it's an irritant to the udders.

                                                1. re: Pollo

                                                  What is your source for this information?

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                                    I find it hard to beieve that you can "sterilize" a cow's udder. What would you do, stick the udder into an autoclave? And if you could I imagine that you would be left with one VERY angry cow after the procedure.

                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                      What they do at this particular dairy that I visited is that before milking, they douse the surface of the udder with iodine and then wipe it up with a terrycloth towel which then goes in the aforementioned laundry bin.

                                                      Is it so hard to believe that the same substance that had been sterilizing wounds for generations and is an essential for campers and backpackers to ensure clean drinking water can be put to similar usage in sterilizing a cow's udder?

                                                      Mr Taster

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                        A cow's udder can't be "sterilized" without heating to a temp of around 160 degrees Centigrade and keeping it there for 20 minutes or so. A cow's udder won't ever be the same again if you do that (nor would mine). You can "sanitize" using an anti bacterial solution such as the one you cite. But that does not get rid of 100% of the external (surface) bacteria.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Thank you for clarifying the semantics. Nothing we consume is 100% free of microscopic life, nor should it be!

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            The cow would find the semantic distinction excedingly important.

                                                            1. re: Servorg

                                                              Considering that the context of our discussion places us in a dairy farm, I think most non-science majors reading along knew that I was not referring to laboratory-like sterization procedures.

                                                              (ok, here come the ornery contrarian replies...!)

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                          2. re: Servorg

                                                            Standard autoclave sterilization is set at 15 min at 121.1 deg. C (250 deg F).

                                                        2. re: Servorg

                                                          I do not know the science or laws/regulations for selling raw milk to consumers today, but look at what the price has risen to! Today I passed a place (with cows) with a sign exlaiming "raw milk". I think I should get into this business at the current price! As I said, my grandparents milked daily and I had plenty of it and this argument over what is OK (or correct, legal, etc.) seems silly....

                3. Half and half gets my vote.

                  Let's think market forces here for a sec: if all people who love god food just STOPPED buying the insipid "creamer," the world would be a much tastier place.

                  As for your FIL, DT, get him a box of dry milk! The dog would be much better off nutritionally! (I know...hard to change the hardened in-laws...)

                  But for the bipeds, certainly - real dairy, in whatever amounts they can tolerate. No fakes unless you have true allergy issues.

                  Milk out of CoffeeMate? - yuuuurrrgh.

                  Cay

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cayjohan

                    "(I know...hard to change the hardened in-laws...)"

                    You have no idea who you're dealing with here. He had a stroke about a year back. Or so some doctor said...... ;-)

                    DT

                  2. Nothing beats real genuine 1/2 & 1/2 in coffee. I find a dash of torani's syrup flavors coffee much better than non-dairy creamers.

                    1. I don't like non-dairy creamer because it turns coffee into an ugly gray color. But at home I don't use conventional half & half either; I use non-fat half & half (I know, a contradiction in terms). Your question is a good one because one has to ask, which is better, the manufactured item, which I believe has fewer calories and fat, or the more "natural" one which has lots of fat. Probably the best answer to learn to drink black coffee.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: sueatmo

                        Isn't there corn syrup & sugar added in non-fat 1/2 & 1/2 ?

                        1. re: sueatmo

                          Not to mention partially hydrogenated oils. The stuff is made in a lab for cryin' out loud. How healthy can it be??

                          The best answer is to drink black decaf. You don't need all that caffeine in you either. Which is what I drink.
                          The odd thing is, years ago, when faced with creamer or black coffee I opted for black since the other stuff is vile. Once I got used to it, I found I liked coffee much better. So did my innards if you know what I mean.

                          DT

                          1. re: Davwud

                            I basically agree with you about creamer. At work I opted for black coffee because I couldn't bear the creamer. But there is something so nice about cream in my coffee.

                            I do, however, depend on the caffein in coffee for the stimulus it gives me in the morning.

                            Luckily, for those like me who need to watch fat intake, there is no-fat half & half. But that is a processed food. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

                            1. re: sueatmo

                              I'm with you on the FF 1/2 & 1/2. I started using it as part of my weight loss program. There's a lot of fake foods I won't eat, but sometimes I just have to go there. This is definitely a case of "you take what you can get."