Coffee 101: Instant Coffee vs. 3-in-1 Coffee
What is the difference between instant coffee and three-in-one coffee and which one should you be drinking? Let's find out.
What is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is a soluble type of coffee that comes in two different forms. Depending on how it was dried, instant coffee can either be fine powder or crystal granules. To make coffee powder, brewed coffee is put through the spray drying process where high heat is used to transform it into fine powder. To make coffee granules, brewed coffee is put through the freeze-drying process where it is frozen solid. Then through the process of sublimation, water is extracted and small chunks of coffee granules are left behind. Contrary to a common misconception, instant coffee is made from pure coffee beans.
What is 3-in-1 Coffee?
Three-in-one coffee is a type of coffee mix comprised of three main ingredients: instant coffee, sugar, and creamer. Unlike pure instant coffee, three-in-one coffee comes with additives like sweetener, creamer, and artificial flavors, making it more similar to cappuccino mix. Specifically, the typical ingredients in three-in-one coffee include sugar, glucose syrup, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, flavoring additives, salt, and instant coffee powder.
Should You Drink 3-in-1 Coffee?
Now that you know what 3-in-1 coffee is, should you be drinking it? The short and simple answer is "no." You don't need to be an expert in food science and nutrition to know that you definitely should NOT be drinking three-in-one coffee regularly. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, hydrogenated palm kernel oil should be limited or eliminated from the diet completely.
What Makes 3-in-1 Coffee so Bad?
One quick glance at the back of any three-in-one coffee packet will tell you just how harmful the ingredients are to your health. For example, an active ingredient in three-in-one coffee is glucose syrup which is basically a source of concentrated sugar and calories. Consuming glucose syrup regularly or in large quantities may increase your risk of obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Another active ingredient in three-in-one coffee to avoid is hydrogenated palm kernel oil. This oil is highly processed and contains large amounts of trans fat. According to this article, trans fat increases low density lipoproteins (LDL), triglycerides and insulin levels and reduces beneficial high density lipoproteins (HDL). Higher levels of LDL (also know as bad cholesterol) may increase a person's risk of developing heart disease among other health issues.
Overall, we strongly recommend to NOT drink three-in-one coffee. The additional ingredients in the coffee mix may actually be more harmful than it is convenient. In fact, most three-in-one coffee mixes contain only around 10% instant coffee. For a quick and delicious cup of coffee, it is much better to brew yourself pure instant coffee and add your own sugar and creamer after. This way you get to have full control over exactly what you are consuming.