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Decaf Coffee: Good or Bad?

I start my day with a cup or two of coffee, and I am far from the only person that does so. There are so many different styles of coffee that complement different aspects of the spectrum. A Latte is tastier than a Cappuccino, coffee black is bitter but packs a punch, the list goes on and on. And then there is regular or decaf--caffeinated or decaffeinated. These aren’t styles of coffee, but the association of caffeine levels of a coffee. If not requested, a regular cup of coffee is decaf. So, what is decaf coffee?

Decaf Coffee

What is Decaf Coffee?

Decaf coffee is very similar to regular coffee. They both have the same antioxidants that have anti-inflammatories, helping combat multiple diseases. They are known as polyphenols, and can also improve gut health. Polyphenols are also in tea, fruits, and vegetables. Regular coffee is basically the exact same as decaf, it just has more caffeine. The common myth among many people is that caffeine in decaf coffee is eradicated. That is never the case.

A proportionally large amount of caffeine is removed during the process of making decaf coffee, but some still remain. Decaf coffee typically ranges from the first and tenth percentile in caffeine content. If you are to buy decaf from a chain retailer, it will most likely be between 1-5 mg of caffeine instead of 15ish mg in regular coffee. This doesn’t necessarily affect the taste of decaf coffee when compared to regular and is basically identical.

The same goes for the process of making decaf coffee. It has the same core process except for a bit more work. The UNROASTED coffee beans are altered by soaking or steaming them using water or various other chemicals. Studies have shown that this can also be done with roasted beans, but unroasted are more popular. There are two main ways to do so:

● The caffeine can be removed from coffee beans by using activated charcoal or a charcoal filter.

● To dissolve the caffeine by either adding and then removing:

Liquid carbon dioxide

Methyl chloride

Ethyl acetate

These chemical names do raise the eyebrows of quite a few people, but the Food and Drug Administration has deemed them as safe practices. One reason why these different types of chemicals are used by brands is that it helps speed up the process of decaffeination. The other reason is that compounds in coffee beans (proteins, sugar) can be lost if only water is used. These chemicals allow for decaf coffee to have the same taste as regular coffee and keep compound levels to a minimum loss.

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Decaf vs. Caf

Aside from the obvious change in caffeine levels, what are the other differences between decaf and regular coffee? Are there things to consider when deciding which one you are in the mood for?

It is important to know what caffeinated coffee can do to one who consumes it late in the afternoon. A cup will keep one steadily awake until a likely crash late at night. That is why most people drink coffee in the morning in the avoidance of staying up late. If a boost is needed and coffee is being carved, I recommend decaf. It will get the gears going that is needed but at a fraction of the intake from normal coffee.

The antioxidants from polyphenols are not removed during the process of creating decaf coffee beans. So even if you order a cup of decaf, you are still getting the same health benefits as a regular cup of joe. These health benefits are key in combating different diseases and many forms of cancer. Such are:

Liver Disease

Parkinson's Disease

Type Two Diabetes

Liver Cancer

Prostate Cancer

Skin Cancer

Leukemia 


This doesn't dismay the concerns though that people have during the decaffeinating process of coffee beans. There are chemicals used to extract the caffeine, and it may make someone stray from trying decaf. Health officials have conducted studies that support the claim that decaf coffee doesn't have harmful effects on the human body. Even with this information, people can still be concerned. Luckily, there are organic decaffeinated coffee beans available for purchase. They forgo these foreign chemicals and pesticides, ensuring that everything is all-natural.

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There are some days when I consume a lot of coffee. Sometimes upwards of four cups. And I usually get a little bit shaky and anxious, especially not being able to sit still. I’ve realized in these moments that I should stop consuming a certain amount of coffee, or switch to decaf. Too much coffee can lead to high caffeine levels and have negative side effects. Such as:

Sleeping problems

Anxiety

High Heart Rate

Headache

Nausea

One implication that is important for women is when they are pregnant or post-pregnancy (breastfeeding). If a large amount of caffeine is consumed, the baby may be affected in a random way--which is why the female should consume decaf as opposed to regular.

Decaf and regular coffee can both result in an upset stomach. However, caffeinated coffee has a higher chance of doing so. Mostly do the digestive system and acid reflux.

So…

Is decaf coffee good or bad? This answer is different for every person. However, most people (and health officials) can agree that decaffeinated coffee is safe to consume. The only decision that should be made when deciding one or the other, is how much caffeine is wanted? And if you decide it's decaffeinated, make sure you find the best decaf coffee.


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