Coffee Creamer Conundrum

Which one was it ma’am? The whole milk? No milk? Two percent?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Boy, that coffee shop creamer counter looks like a crime scene. Evidence spilled all over, straws kerfuffled, and all but three napkins mysteriously gone… they’re in my purse. But is there a HEALTH reason we should avoid this sticky situation? 

Jingyuan Liu and team from University of Copenhagen reviewed the evidence. 

They looked at polyphenols, antioxidants often found in coffee, known to be anti-inflammatory. They combined those polyphenols with an amino acid from dairy called cysteine. Then they injected it into mouse cells. 

The scientists chemically stimulated inflammation in the mouse cells and measured the anti-inflammatory response.


Cell cultures WITH the coffee and milk byproduct had more reduced inflammation than those without. BUT cells with ONLY the coffee byproduct had about TWICE the reduction of inflammation! 

Sounds like polyphenols and I are BOTH lactose intolerant! So save the milk for kitty… and make room for donuts! 


Poojary, M. M., Hellwig, M., Henle, T., & Lund, M. N. (2023). Covalent bonding between polyphenols and proteins: Synthesis of caffeic acid-cysteine and chlorogenic acid-cysteine adducts and their quantification in dairy beverages. Food Chemistry, 403, 134406.