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Decaf Coffee, Good or Bad? Unhealthy vs. Healthy Benefits

Decaf Coffee, Good or Bad?
While decaf coffee contains 97 percent less caffeine than regular coffee, it is safe to drink and suitable for a healthy diet.

Like regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee is safe to drink and suitable for a healthy diet

Around the world, millions of people start their day with freshly brewed coffee. It is sometimes referred to as the "world's most popular beverage" and is favored for a variety of causes.

Coffee plays a special role in the lives of many people, whether it is as a pre-workout or pre-work stimulant. However, as people's attention to their health has increased, some consumers have begun to doubt the quality of their coffee, particularly their caffeine intake. 

Naturally, this has prompted more investigation into the advantages and disadvantages of consuming decaffeinated (or "decaf") coffee due to its lower caffeine concentration.

What is decaffeinated (decaf) coffee?

The fundamental distinction between regular and decaf coffee is that decaf coffee is made from coffee beans that have had 97 percent of their caffeine removed.

  • Decaf coffee starts with green, unroasted beans, much like regular coffee. 
  • To dissolve and remove the caffeine from the hard beans, four different methods can be used:
    • water alone,
    • water and "supercritical carbon dioxide,"
    • a mixture of water and solvents (most frequently methylene chloride or ethyl acetate) applied either directly or indirectly.
  • All four techniques are risk-free, and when the caffeine has been eliminated (or at least 97 percent of it), the beans are cleaned, steamed, and then roasted at temperatures that cause all the liquids used in the decaffeination process to evaporate.
  • The average amount of caffeine in a cup of decaf coffee is 2 mg, as opposed to the average amount of caffeine in a cup of regular coffee, which is 95 mg.

Is decaffeinated coffee unhealthy for you?

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a strict standard to guarantee the safety of even the tiniest amount of the solvents used to decaffeinate coffee.
  • These traces are measured by the FDA in "parts per million." 
  • Coffee after decaffeination is only allowed to have 10 parts per million or one-thousandth of one percent of substances such as methylene chloride.
  • Methylene chloride, which is present in the air in concentrations as low as 200 parts per million, can temporarily slow down the central nervous system and impair a person's attention and hand-eye coordination. Mild exposure might potentially cause symptoms such as headache, coughing or wheezing, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and irritability.


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Is decaffeinated coffee healthy?

The more important question is whether decaffeinated coffee has the same health benefits as regular coffee because decaffeination is generally regarded as safe. 

  • According to a meta-analysis conducted by Harvard researchers and published in the journal Diabetes Care, people who drink six cups of sugar-less coffee a day are 33 percent less likely to develop type II diabetes than those who don't. Both decaf and normal coffee showed a lower risk.
  • Another study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2008, reported that drinking coffee generally was not linked to a high risk of dying from any cause, and those who drank decaf had a marginally lower risk of dying from any cause than those who drank regular coffee.
  • It's still unclear if coffee's numerous health benefits are caused by caffeine or one of the thousands of other biologically active substances including antioxidants (which decaf appears to also contain but at a slightly lower amount).
  • The fact that switching to decaf may be a good choice for people who experience insomnia, irritability, headaches, nausea, anxiety, jitters, migraines, and elevated blood pressure after consuming too much caffeine is rather evident.
  • After consuming decaffeinated coffee, the electrocardiogram revealed no arrhythmias or ischemia alterations, and the heart rate, blood pressure, and amount of activity were unchanged. Researchers concluded that decaffeinated coffee has no obvious, immediate, or harmful cardiovascular effects.
  • According to one study, drinking decaf coffee lowers your risk of rectal cancer.
  • Both decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee consumption has been demonstrated to protect brain neurons and may help prevent conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

Bottom line

You and your body's reaction to caffeine determine how much coffee you should drink.

  • If you don't experience any adverse effects, you may continue to drink regular coffee.
  • Do your best to keep your daily caffeine intake to 400 mg (three to four cups, depending on the strength).
  • Decaf is your best option if you want something softer in taste and sensation. 
  • Furthermore, if consuming chemicals doesn't sound all that attractive to you, seek the certified organic mark or inquire at your neighborhood coffee shop about if they carry organic beans or know how they are prepared.

The good news is that coffee still tastes divine no matter what your preferences are.


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