Are decaf coffee healthier than regular coffee?
We are all fond of coffee, and we are probably many who feel that the day can not begin properly until we have got the first, good coffee cup.
Coffee is invigorating and for most people is associated with cosiness and coziness. There are many good reasons to enjoy some cups of coffee, and did you know that just thinking about coffee can make you more awake?
Still, it is a common belief that we should generally limit our coffee intake somewhat, especially considering how much caffeine we get in a day, and then there may be more people turning to decaffeinated coffee. But is decaffeinated coffee really healthier than regular coffee?
– There are many health benefits associated with coffee, and there are few who disagree. Some still believe that decaffeinated coffee is the healthiest, but it actually has no proven health benefits to switch from regular coffee to decaffeinated coffee, says Bjørn Grydeland, who is responsible for press and communication in Norwegian Coffee Information – a coffee information office.
Some people respond to caffeine
However, people react differently to caffeine, and most people can consume 4-5 cups daily without experiencing any adverse side effects.
A proportion of the population is so-called hyposensitive, and can absorb large amounts of caffeine without affecting them significantly. Then we have a small part of the population that is so-called hypersensitive. For them, decaffeinated coffee can be a good alternative.
– If you suffer from poor sleep or body turmoil, you can drink decaffeinated coffee and have the same pleasure. The fact that a high intake can cause discomfort applies most of the time we drink and eat, and you do not achieve other health benefits by switching to decaffeinated coffee, he explains.
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So much caffeine is harmful
Erik Arnesen is a health adviser in the National Association for Heart and Lung Disease (LHL), and he agrees that decaffeinated coffee is not nutritionally better, but that it is a good alternative for those who like coffee and do not tolerate caffeine as well.
– There are individual differences in how much caffeine one can tolerate: between one-third and one-half of Europeans carry a genetic mutation that makes caffeine in the body less effective and thus stays in the bloodstream longer. They can have negative symptoms of only small amounts of caffeine, including faster heartbeat and higher blood pressure, which can be harmful, he explains.
20 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight is a harmful amount for most people, but in those who are sensitive to caffeine, only small doses can cause palpitations and tremors as well as sleep problems. More than 5-6 cups can cause symptoms of caffeine poisoning.
Caffeine is invigorating
– Caffeine has a clear rejuvenating effect. When it comes to positive health effects of caffeine, it is primarily related to physical activity. About. 2 cups of coffee within an hour before exercise can have a positive effect on exercise performance, says Arnesen.
It also acutely stimulates energy consumption, in addition to having a short-term pain-relieving effect.
– Now there are many large studies showing that people who regularly drink coffee have a slightly lower risk of getting cardiovascular disease, and it is also associated with lower risk of diabetes and liver disease. This applies to both those who drink regular and decaffeinated coffee, he says.
In other words, it is probably other components than caffeine that make coffee good.
Particularly vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children should be careful.
– High intake of coffee / caffeine among pregnant women is related to birth defects and failed pregnancy, therefore there are lower recommendations for pregnant women. You also have to remember that caffeine is addictive, so you can get withdrawal when you don’t get it, says Arnesen.
Furthermore, children and adolescents have a higher sensitivity to caffeine and should be cautious about e.g. energy drinks.
– We believe that 1-4 cups of filter or powder coffee may well be part of a healthy diet, and it may be decaffeinated. On the other hand, we advise against drinking coffee and high-pressure coffee because it contains fats that increase the bad LDL cholesterol, which is an important risk factor for myocardial infarction, he warns.
Equally healthy with decaffeinated coffee
The only difference between decaffeinated coffee and regular coffee is that the caffeine is removed. For example, the antioxidant content is not affected by the caffeine content.
– Most people who feel that they cannot tolerate a lot of caffeine and coffee have probably tested different caffeine-free variants. The range in Norway is not that big, but there are many caffeine-free products worldwide. The methods for removing caffeine have become much better and now no decaffeinated coffee needs to taste bad, explains Grydeland.
He believes that most people regulate coffee intake based on how much they can tolerate, just as you do with alcohol.
– Morning coffee is most important for most people. Then it often diminishes throughout the day and many end with a cup of coffee after dinner. Then there are still a few hours left for bed and the night’s sleep is saved for most people, he says.