(WXYZ) — Drinking coffee has been linked to numerous health benefits but what about decaffeinated coffee? Potent chemicals can be used to remove caffeine from coffee – and this has many people wondering if it’s harmful to your health.
There are a few different ways to strip caffeine from coffee. Unroasted coffee beans are either soaked or steamed. And a mix of water and other chemicals like activated charcoal, liquid carbon dioxide, ethyl acetate and methylene chloride are used to extract the caffeine.
Now the health concern is linked to methylene chloride.
Methylene chloride is a colorless liquid that does not occur naturally in our environment and is used in industrial products like paints, adhesives and pesticide products
And if you inhale small amounts of methylene chloride, it can affect your attention and slow down your central nervous system. And you might also cough, wheeze, feel drowsy, lightheaded and possible develop a headache.
The Food and Drug Administration does allow methylene chloride to be used, but, the end product must not contain more than 0.001% of residual methylene chloride. So a very very tiny amount.
A study looking at data from over 200 observational studies did not find any harmful health effects linked to decaffeinated coffee
In fact, a review of 21 studies published earlier this year found that drinking 3 cups of coffee per day, either decaffeinated or not, could reduce death from any cause by up to 13 percent. Learn more on how coffee can help with longevity here.
Now I think it may come as a surprise to some folks that decaf does contain some caffeine. The amount varies by brand but you can expect anywhere between 2 and 15 milligrams per 8 oz cup.
But this is still a lot lower than regular coffee which can be anywhere between 80 to 100 milligrams of caffeine. So if you’re looking to eliminate caffeine entirely from your diet, then you should pass on the decaf and find other healthier alternatives.
Is your brand of coffee causing cancer? Learn more here.
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Data pulled from WXYZ