We will once and for all find the answer to the question – is decaf coffee a diuretic or not?
People have always wondered if coffee is a diuretic. The feeling of needing the loo after a coffee is very real for a lot of us.
But is decaf coffee a diuretic?
Let’s find out.
First we will explain what a diuretic is and move on to whether a decaf coffee will make you look for the nearest rest room.
A diuretic is any substance that causes an increase in the production of urine, also known as diuresis.
This can cause a loss of water and salt (sodium) from the bloodstream. Medically this can result in a lowering of the blood pressure.
For most of us – just an annoying trip to the toilet.
Decaffeinated coffee, decaf for short, is any coffee made using coffee beans or coffee grounds from beans that have gone through a decaffeination process.
Buyers can expect this to be clearly stated in the retail packaging.
Coffee enthusiasts are not keen on decaf coffee (death before decaf!). They feel and/or believe that any decaffeination process ultimately harms the flavor of the coffee.
With that said, specialty decaf coffee is growing in popularity.
The best way to decide is to just give it a try!
Essentially there is little difference, besides the lowering of the quantity of caffeine.
If premium coffee beans are used and the decaffeination process is supervised and measured with quality in mind, all is good.
It should be pointed out here that decaf coffee does not mean zero caffeine.
All decaffeinated coffee contains some quantity of caffeine, just at levels much lower than regular coffee.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that any coffee beans from which 97% of the caffeine has been removed can be labeled as decaf.
This means that if a standard cup of coffee contains approximately 160 to 240mg of caffeine, a standard cup of decaf coffee can be expected to contain approximately 3 to 6mg of caffeine.
It is almost impossible to expect that any process designed to separate one chemical substance from a large variety of other chemical substances to be 100% selective. Especially on an industrial or commercially viable level.
Tests performed in Italy show that there is a 25% decrease in the number of antioxidants between decaf and regular coffee. That being said, a 25% decrease is very small.
Chances are good that the level of antioxidant loss in specialty decaf coffee is even less.
The simple answer is that the decaffeination process will have a similar effect on the number of organic acids in coffee beans as it does on the antioxidants. However, this effect is far smaller than that of the roasting process that all coffee beans go through, whether decaf or not.
If you are thinking about the acidic taste, that has more to do with the quality of the coffee you are preparing and how fresh it is.
The German analytical chemist Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge was the first to separate the chemical substance of caffeine from coffee beans in 1820. However, he did not develop this into a commercial process.
That was left to the German merchant Ludwig Roselius. He discovered that a shipment of his coffee beans, accidentally, soaked in seawater lost much of their caffeine, but not much of its flavor.
Ludwig and his co-workers patented a decaffeination process in 1906.
Today there are three main commercially viable processes used to decaffeinate coffee beans.
Green (unroasted) coffee beans are soaked in supercritical carbon dioxide.
This is created by raising the pressure and temperature of carbon dioxide causing the caffeine to exit the beans. The supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) and beans are then separated.
The CO2 is either pumped through a filter of activated charcoal, separating the caffeine from the CO2. Or else it is pumped into an absorption chamber where the CO2 is converted back into a gas.
This leaves the caffeine as a powder on the bottom. Unfortunately, since this process is expensive, it is mostly used to decaffeinated very large batches of coffee into low-grade decaf coffee.
This method is controversial as it employs the use of one of two industrial chemicals.
Green, unroasted, coffee beans are steamed to open their pores and then mixed with one of the two above chemicals. The caffeine bonds readily with either of the two chemicals.
The beans are then steamed again to separate them from the solvent and caffeine and dried, ready for roasting.
Patented by the Swiss company Coffex, the Swiss Water Process is wholly organic and only makes use of water, typically high-quality natural spring water.
A batch of green, unroasted, coffee beans are soaked in warm, pressurized water. This causes their sugars, caffeine, oils, organic acids, etc. to migrate into the water.
The beans are separated from the now green coffee extract solution and discarded. This green coffee extract solution is then forced through a filter of activated charcoal to separate out 99.9% of the caffeine and very little else.
Another batch of green coffee beans is then soaked in this green coffee extract solution. Since the extract solution has very little caffeine in it, only the caffeine from the next batch of beans migrates out.
The 99.9% caffeine-free beans are then separated from the solution and dried ready for roasting.
The green coffee extract solution is continuously re-used with successive batches of beans until a new batch is needed.
If we’re being honest decaf coffee has a bad reputation, especially amongst regular and enthusiast coffee drinkers. But does decaf coffee deserve its bad reputation?
A large number of informal and unofficial taste tests have shown that many coffee lovers find it difficult to distinguish between regular coffee and decaf.
The only difference between decaf and regular coffee beans is the caffeine content. The flavor remains unchanged.
The fact of the matter is that the decaffeination process adds an overhead to the price of coffee.
Premium coffee is already expensive. In real-world terms, the vast majority of decaffeination is done on coffee beans of lower quality destined for lower-grade coffee brands.
At the end of the day coffee lovers most probably would not be able to tell the difference between a specialty coffee and a specialty decaf coffee in terms of flavor.
The levels of caffeine will vary depending on:
It is for this reason that no two cups of decaf coffee will have the same amount of caffeine.
A standard 237ml cup of brewed decaf coffee can be expected to contain between 2 to 6mg of caffeine.
The recommended daily limit for a healthy adult is up to 400mg of caffeine. However, some people are more sensitive to caffeine, while others have developed a tolerance towards caffeine.
In purely mathematical terms this would equate to sixty-six cups of decaf coffee a day if we assume a quantity of 6mg of caffeine per standard cup. However, caffeine has an effect on the human body over and above that feeling of energy.
A study performed in Australia on a group of 347 077 people, tested the link between coffee consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease. They found that consuming 6 or more cups of coffee a day increased the risk of one developing cardiovascular disease.
So drinking more than 6 cups of coffee a day, whether regular or decaf, is most probably not in your best interest.
Pregnant women; women trying to become pregnant; and women who are nursing should limit themselves to no more than 200mg of caffeine per day. This equates to about 4 cups of regular coffee.
In the case of decaf coffee, it is probably best to limit yourselves to no more than 6 cups per day.
4 health facts about decaf coffee you will find interesting.
The cumulative data from 18 studies involving a total of 457922 people indicates that there may be a 7% reduced risk of developing Type-2 Diabetes for every cup of coffee consumed per day.
However, the data does NOT point to a definitive link, suggesting that further studies need to be conducted. According to “webmd.com”, people suffering from Diabetes should consume caffeine with caution.
Studies point to the fact that something in coffee helps to inhibit or slow down the development of liver cirrhosis. Especially alcoholic induced liver cirrhosis.
Dementia is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Studies point to the fact that caffeine provides a protective function towards the development of such diseases. However, no definitive link has been established.
Liver cancer ranks as the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Colorectal cancer ranks fourth according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.
Studies have indicated, but not definitively established, that caffeine may help reduce the development of both these forms of cancer. Calls for more in-depth studies have been made.
Caffeine intolerance and caffeine allergy are two very different things. A caffeine allergy can be more serious.
If a doctor has confirmed an allergy towards caffeine all caffeine-containing foods and drinks should be avoided as per your doctor’s advice.
However, caffeine allergy is a rare condition that is triggered in the same way as other food allergies. The body mistakes caffeine for an invader and develops an autoimmune response.
Caffeine intolerance is when your body can only metabolize caffeine slowly. For this reason, the effects of caffeine will last longer.
People who are caffeine intolerant should consume coffee and other products containing caffeine with caution.
It is true that drinking products containing caffeine can elevate the need to urinate. The pure fact is that you are ingesting fluid that will eventually need to be eliminated.
However, drinking these products does not cause the body to lose more liquid than that which was ingested.
Plain water will always be the better choice. However, products such as coffee and tea actually contribute to your body’s daily water requirements.
Caffeine is a mild diuretic. No one will argue with that.
Decaf coffee has had a large portion of its caffeine removed and for most people, it takes upwards of 360mg of caffeine before it acts as a diuretic. That is an awful lot of decaf coffee to drink!
So is decaf a diuretic?
The answer is – no.
Does decaf coffee make you pee?
No – decaff will not make you urinate more.
Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms – caffeine is a psychoactive substance and a stimulant. If you have been a heavy coffee drinker and suddenly switch to decaf coffee, chances are good you will suffer from some or all of the following withdrawal symptoms:
May Cause Acid Reflux Or Heartburn
Some people complain that drinking coffee exacerbates their problems with heartburn or acid reflux. Both regular and decaf coffees contain organic acids.
These will add to the gastric acids during digestion. These may become problematic to people who are already susceptible to acid reflux or suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).
Additionally, caffeine does relax the lower oesophageal muscles.
May Slow Iron Absorption
Coffee has been found to slow the body’s absorption of iron. This is not an issue for the majority of healthy adults who get enough iron from their diets.
Actually, caffeine may be less guilty here than the polyphenols found in coffee. Polyphenols, also found in tea, have a bigger inhibitory effect than caffeine.
For groups at risk such as women of:
it may be advisable to drink your coffee an hour before or an hour after having your main meals.
May Aggravate Rheumatoid Arthritis
A study conducted in Finland has pointed to the fact that 4 or more cups of coffee a day may promote the development of Rheumatoid Arthritis. However, the study was not able to make a definitive link.
Also, the study did not make a distinction between regular and decaf coffee.
Switching to decaf coffee should help to promote better sleep since caffeine is a known stimulant. However, one should not discount other factors in their life that may be interfering with healthy sleep.
Helps Maintain Healthy Memory
This has more to do with the vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols found in both regular and decaf coffee than anything else.
Helps Burn Calories
One of the compounds found in coffee is resveratrol. Some studies have shown that it can aid in weight loss for people who are obese.
More research is needed, but resveratrol appears to have a link with fat metabolism.
Helps Reduce Inflammatory Arthritis
Coffee contains the powerful antioxidant phenol chlorogenic acid. This has been linked to the reduction in the risk of developing gout or inflammatory arthritis.
Gout can be the result of elevated levels of uric acid in the blood. Pheno chlorogenic acid seems to aid the body in excreting uric acid.
A joint US/Canada study indicated that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of gout in men aged 40 years and older. It is not known whether the same is true for women.
The answer is NO.
A cup of decaffeinated coffee will not promote the need to urinate any more than a glass of water willI
Decaf coffee is not 100% caffeine-free. The decaffeination process removes up to 97% of the caffeine content. Most decaf coffees only contain approximately 7 mg per 8-ounce cup. This is a very small amount.
Decaf coffee does not cause dehydration. Water should be your main source of hydration but decaf still plays a part in your daily liquid intake as does tea and soft drinks.
Decaf coffee has far less caffeine than normal coffee. It is a good choice for people who do not like the bitter taste of real coffee. Additionally, people who have a sensitivity to real coffee and suffer ill effects from caffeine can still enjoy the taste of coffee with decaf, minus the caffeine side effects.
As decaf coffee has had almost all the caffeine content stripped out - decaf is far better for you if do suffer from anxiety and other issues like restlessness, sleep issues, and bad digestion that is triggered by caffeine.
Decaffeinated coffee reaches its peak level in your body within 30 to 60 minutes. The half-life in your system is approximately 4 hours. This means that in that time your body has eliminated half of your decaf intake.