Decaf Coffee: Benefits, Side Effects, Risks, And More

Are you the type to feel extra nervous, have palpitations, and experience sleeplessness when you drink coffee with the slightest caffeine intake? Did you take in too much caffeine and regret getting that Venti cup? Allow us to introduce you to decaf coffee.

In this guide, we’ll talk about its benefits, side effects, risks, and more!

What Is Decaf Coffee?
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What Is Decaf Coffee?

In the coffee industry, it’s known that decaffeinated coffee is derived from coffee plants of the genera coffea, just like regular coffee.

However, the coffee beans in decaf coffee have 97% of their caffeine removed as it undergoes a decaffeination process.

This process occurs before the use of any single-dose grinders or coffee machines. You can expect around 3% or 3 mg of caffeine for every 5 oz of coffee.

With the difference in caffeine, drinking decaf coffee can be beneficial for health reasons, especially for individuals with:

  • High blood pressure
  • Sensitivity to caffeine
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Pregnant women

Moreover, aside from caffeine, decaf still has other ingredients which can give benefits like:

  • Reducing fat deposits in the liver
  • Decrease mortality risks of colorectal cancer
  • Prevents age-related disorders

How Is Decaf Coffee Made?

Decaf coffee is generally made by extracting the caffeine from the coffee beans before putting them through a coffee maker.

It’s usually served in coffee shops, but you can still enjoy it at home. Nevertheless, the caffeine extraction process happens in 3 distinct ways:

1.) Swiss Water Process

This method, designed in the 1970s, uses filtration to make a caffeine-free extract.

First, the coffee beans are soaked in hot water to pull out caffeine, chlorogenic acid, amino acids, and sucrose.

Next, the green coffee extract is filtered in carbon to remove caffeine molecules. Then, the green coffee extract is used to rinse other caffeine-rich beans.

2.) Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Method

This process of decaffeinating soaks the coffee beans and then transfers it to be transparently bared in carbon dioxide as the caffeine dissolves.

3.) Coffee Beans-Steaming & Chemical Solvent-Rinsing

In this method, beans are steamed and rinsed with solvents like ethyl acetate and methylene chloride. Before roasting the beans, the traces of solvents are washed off.

FAST FACT: Before switching to organic solvents, other chemicals such as Benzene were used to decaffeinate.

How Much Caffeine Is in Decaf Coffee?

Contrary to popular belief, an average cup of 5 oz decaf coffee contains 3 mg of caffeine.

The amount of caffeine left on every cup of decaf coffee is found to be around 0.3-2 mg.

Decaf Coffee vs. Regular Coffee: What's the Difference?

Decaf Coffee vs. Regular Coffee: What’s the Difference?

In 2020, research in Italy stated the differences between decaf from regular coffee; here are some of the findings:

  • Decaf coffee caused an increase in insulin sensitivity higher than regular ones
  • A 30% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in decaf coffee drinkers who consume 3-4 cups a day

Moreover, decaf differs from regular coffee because of these:

  • Safer for the respiratory & central nervous system
  • Caffeine sensitivity symptoms (e.g., loss of sleep, increased heart rate) are controlled

Nevertheless, decaf and regular coffee still have similar effects on consumers regardless of caffeine content

Both can give favorable glucose tolerance outcomes and reduce fatty acids.

How Many Cups of Decaf Coffee Is Equal to One Cup of Regular Coffee?

Bruce Goldberger, PhD., affirmed that consuming 5-10 cups of decaf matches the caffeine level of 1-2 cups of caffeinated coffee.

Is Decaf Coffee Better Than Regular Coffee?

It depends. If you’re someone with high blood pressure, caffeine sensitivity, pre-existing conditions with prescription medications, and are pregnant, decaf is the better option.

Yet, if you’re none of those mentioned, it can still give similar health benefits to a regular cup of coffee as both have the same nutritional value.

The Health Benefits of Decaf Coffee

Researchers suggest that decaf coffee has the same health benefits as regular ones. However, here’s what decaf coffee has to offer with its own list of health benefits:

  • Reduced fat deposits & lipid digestions in individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Reduced sensitivity to caffeine (trouble sleeping & anxiety)
  • 30% reduced risks of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Protection from free radicals because of antioxidants

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The Side Effects of Drinking Decaf Coffee

To balance things out, remember these when you’re into drinking coffee, especially decaffeinated ones:

  • Decaf coffee may possess an increased risk of developing renal cell carcinoma
  • Some are decaffeinated using solvents (methylene chloride, ethyl acetate) that linger into beans after prolonged exposure, or if not appropriately roasted, which rarely causes health conditions & temporarily slow down the central nervous system
  • Risks of higher cholesterol levels due to fat-rich beans

Frequently Asked Questions

Have some more questions in mind before you start to drink decaf coffee? You might find some answers here:

What Is the Point of a Decaf Coffee?

It’s an excellent alternative to regular coffee for people who have:

  • Certain medications
  • Stomach ulcers & acid reflux
  • Dislike the bitter taste of typical coffee

Does Decaf Raise Blood Pressure?

No, replacing regular with decaf coffee can slightly decrease blood pressure.

Further research depicts that blood pressure for individuals before and after taking regular and decaf coffee has no significant difference.

Does Decaf Make You Sleepy?

No, the small amount of caffeine may not affect your sleeping pattern. However, it still depends on coffee intake and caffeine tolerance.

Is Decaf Coffee Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, it has low calories. However, adding a lot of sugar and other ingredients would be a different story.

Does Decaf Dehydrate You?

No, because it’s decaffeinated. However, studies show that caffeinated drinks cause diuretic actions, which make you feel dehydrated.

Verdict: Is Decaffeinated Coffee Good for You?

If you have existing conditions that hinder you to enjoy coffee with all its caffeinated glory, you can replace regular coffee by drinking decaf coffee.

Decaf coffee provides a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, sensitivity to caffeinated drinks, and fat deposits compared to when you drink regular coffee.

Yet, solvents, such as methylene chloride that help the decaffeination process, are present. However, it washes off with proper rinsing.

Nevertheless, we say decaf is a good alternative for those not looking to get a boost from caffeine!

Decaf Coffee: Benefits, Side Effects, Risks, And More

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