I don’t drink decaf coffee, because, quite frankly, I like the jolt of caffeine.
And I love the smell and full bodied taste of real coffee.
But I realize a lot of people do like decaffeinated coffee, for various reasons.
It may be that caffeine makes you jittery. Or you may want to enjoy a strong cup of black coffee, in the evening hours.
(Consuming caffeine later in the day may trigger insomnia, especially for people who already have a hard time sleeping.)
But I’ve heard rumblings that decaffeinated coffee is bad for you. That it might even be toxic.
So I decided to investigate these rumors, to see what I could find.
Unfortunately, there’s not much information on decaffeinated coffee. Or whether there are any potential health risks in drinking it.
I was only able to find limited research on any potential risk of decaffeinated coffee. (I’ll explain these findings a little later in the post.)
I did find articles written by online health experts. One believes that it all lies in the processing method.
In other words, decaffeinated coffee in and of itself is probably not bad. Unless the method of extracting the caffeine leaves residual toxins.
Is Decaffeinated Coffee Bad for You?
(This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything, I receive a referral fee, at no extra cost to you.)
Please understand that I’m not a doctor and I can’t give medical advice. So never neglect getting proper care, and working closely with your medical team.
However, I can pass along information. Here’s what I’m finding out about decaf coffee.
There are several ways of separating caffeine from coffee beans. One of them involves using chemical solvents.
Two of the chemicals typically used to do this are methylene chloride and ethyl acetate. (Years ago, highly toxic compounds such as benzene were used instead.)
Other methods of obtain decaffeinated coffee include something called Swiss Water Method and CO2 extraction.
Neither involve chemicals. But online health expert Dr. Josh Axe, DC, wrote a post in which he explained that CO2 extraction is probably the best option. It is done without chemicals. But it preserves more of the natural coffee flavor and aroma.
Is Decaffeinated Coffee Good for You?
Processed without chemicals, decaffeinated coffee appears to be safe. Dr. Axe even listed some of the benefits of drinking decaf, such as:
- Lower Incidence of Diabetes. This is true for both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, according to Dr. Axe.
- Coffee Protects the Liver. This flies in the face of advice to avoid coffee at all costs.
- Coffee May Protect the Heart. But caffeinated coffee appears more beneficial, according to Dr. Axe.
- Animal studies show that coffee helps brain function in animals.
However, Dr. Axe also noted that coffee can increase the incidence of hip fractures. There’s also a direct correlation between hip fractures and amount of coffee consumed.
Coffee can also reduce iron absorption if drank too close to a meal, he noted.
Also, Dr. Axe pointed out that even decaf contains a small amount of caffeine. This may be something to note if you’re highly sensitive to this stimulant.
Does Decaffeinated Coffee Cause Cancer?
Research is scarce on decaffeinated coffee. But I was able to find one small study, published in the Cancer Research journal.
The authors found that one to two cups of decaffeinated coffee a day was associated with an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer in women, but not in men.
Even the authors didn’t seem to know what to make of these results though. Because drinking three or more cups of decaf didn’t seem to increase the risk of this deadly cancer.
The authors also noted that this finding was of “borderline significance.”
Is Decaf Coffee Toxic?
It appears that modern decaffeinated coffee is not toxic. Or even bad for you. It might even be good for you, as coffee itself appears to have a number of health benefits.
However, if I find new information that this is not correct I will update this article to reflect that.
Still, if I were buying it, I would buy a brand that’s not processed with chemical solvents.
Many brands advertise that they’re either processed with a Swiss water system or with CO2. Either method means no chemicals were used.
So it looks like decaffeinated coffee is one less thing to worry about.
More problematic for me is the coffee pot.
I’ve searched high and low for a totally non-toxic coffee brewing machine and gave up.
All of them contained either aluminum parts that came into contact with the coffee. (Aluminum is a toxic heavy metal you don’t want in your system.)
Or they contained plastic, which also came into contact with either coffee or hot water.
But I did find two ways to make a totally non toxic cup of coffee. You can read about them here.
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