Diet & Nutrition

Decaf Coffee - good or bad?

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Question

Is decaf coffee any better for you than regular coffee even with the removal of caffeine?

Companies spend billions of pounds advertising decaffeinated coffee and we spend billions of pounds buying it. Not only does coffee taste great but it gives us a much welcomed boost.

The whole purpose of drinking decaf is that it doesn't contain caffeine which, as well as being terribly addictive, over-stimulates and dehydrates the body. One or two small cups of coffee a day shouldn't pose too much of a problem. But if you're drinking several cups a day, your caffeine intake can problematic.

However, what the adverts don't tell you is that although decaf doesn't contain caffeine, it still contains several of regular coffee's other unhealthy ingredients. For example, your cup of decaf still contains theobromine, which is almost as addictive as caffeine. And it also contains chlorogenic acid, which has been liked to an increased risk of heart attacks.

So to say decaf coffee is better for you than ordinary coffee is a bit like saying a Marlboro Light is better for you than an ordinary Marlboro cigarette. Technically it is, but in terms of the potential damage you could be doing to your body, there isn't a huge difference.

Of course, coffee is in no way as bad for you as cigarettes of excess alcohol. And nobody is saying that you shouldn't drink coffee at all. But it's important to be aware of what you are drinking. If you're a very heavy coffee drinker, you're unlikely to be doing your body any favours, whether it's decaf coffee of not.

Although there is no evidence to suggest that drinking coffee does any long term harm to the body, there are links between coffee and high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and other forms of coronary heart disease. As with most things in life, moderation is the key. Drink sensibly and you'll be fine. Abuse a substance, even one as commonplace as coffee, and you could be asking for trouble.

Top tip - a cup of instant coffee contains 65mg of caffeine but brewed coffee (as typically found in coffee shops) contains 115mg of caffeine. Too many trips to Starbucks, therefore, may not be such a good idea.



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