Coffee: is “decaf” bad for your health?

Coffee: is “decaf” bad for your health?

Are you addicted to “decaf”? Although it is a good alternative to reduce your caffeine consumption, this drink is not harmless. Explanations.

Touted for several years for its benefits, “decaf” appears to be the best healthy alternative to coffee. Indeed, it represents an excellent source of antioxidants… without the stimulating effects of caffeine. But is it safe? No, according to health experts.

Decaffeination, a chemical process

The decaffeination process involves the use of chemicals. “The majority of decaffeinated coffees are produced using solvent-based methods, as this is the cheapest process“, indicates the Dauphiné Liberé, which carried out an investigation on the subject.

However, some of the chemical solvents used in the decaffeination process, such as methylene chloride (used in strippers, removers and degreasers) or ethyl acetate (an organic liquid, with a characteristic fruity odor) can leave small residues in the coffee beans.

Methylene chloride is debated because it is considered carcinogenic in high doses. It is therefore essential to clean the grains well once processing is finished. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only tolerates 0.001% residual methylene chloride (in the finished product). However, as with any substance, zero risk does not exist.

Another worrying point: according to the latest survey by 60 Million consumers, released in January 2023, roasting can form “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)“, part of which is… also carcinogenic.

Information confirmed by our dietician-nutritionist, Alexandra Murcier:

Some of these solvents are classified on the list of potentially carcinogenic products. It is therefore better to choose decaffeinated products that display the words “solvent-free”. Another point, decaffeinated drinks are as aggressive on the stomach lining as classic coffee, so if you suffer from an ulcer or gastritis, you should reduce your consumption, and not consume them on an empty stomach..

NO to diets, YES to WW!

Decaffeinated coffee… is not 100% decaffeinated!

During the “decaffeination” process, the caffeine concentration becomes very low. But it does not completely disappear! The caffeine content is around 0.1 g per 100 g of product.

The problem ? Some brands do not meet these standards.

Concerning decaffeinated coffees, four brands analyzed exceed half of the authorized threshold (500 mg/kg of roasted coffee). But nothing alarming, since this corresponds to 2 to 5 mg of caffeine, when we find 75 to 100 mg in a normal coffee“, warn experts of 60 million consumers.

For Alexandra Murcier, decaf still remains an interesting alternative.”when you decide to reduce your caffeine consumption“.

But coffee – in moderate doses – does not have to be banned.

Consuming caffeine in moderation is still beneficial for your health. New studies highlight the benefits of caffeine in reducing cardiovascular risk and on the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease”, concludes the expert.

The 10 benefits of coffee

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