How much caffeine is in decaf coffee compared to regular coffee?
Caffeine is a naturally occurring substance in many plants like tea leaves, cacao beans, and coffee beans. It is also created artificially and added to certain foods and beverages, such as soda or energy drinks.
Caffeine can give you energy for up to six hours by both blocking a neurotransmitter that can slow nerve activity and by increasing nerve activity in general.
Decaffeinated coffee has much less caffeine than regular coffee, with about 97% of the caffeine removed. There are still about 2 milligrams of caffeine in an average cup of decaf coffee, though.
A regular, caffeinated coffee has about 96 milligrams of caffeine. An espresso with caffeine has 64 milligrams, and a packet of instant coffee usually has about 62 milligrams.
However, the exact caffeine amount in each cup of coffee may vary slightly. Factors such as the type of roast, the way it was made, or even the brewing time can make the caffeine levels in each cup of coffee slightly higher or lower. For example, Turkish coffee, which is brewed without a filter, has more caffeine than other types of coffee.
Why do people avoid caffeine?
Many people find caffeinated coffee a useful way to start their day with more energy. However, there are also people who need to avoid or reduce their caffeine intake for health reasons such as:
- High blood pressure
- Other sleep disorders
Some people just don't like the way caffeine makes them feel. It can lead to feeling jittery or anxious. Some people also get an upset stomach or uncomfortably fast heart rate from drinking caffeine.
Additionally, some people do not drink caffeine so they can avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal that can occur if caffeine consumption stops abruptly. These symptoms include:
- Flu symptoms
- Trouble concentrating
- Brain fog
- Low energy levels
All children under 12 should also avoid caffeine.
People who need to avoid caffeine often turn to decaffeinated coffee as a way to satisfy their coffee craving. However, it's important to note that there is still a small amount of caffeine in decaf coffee, so if you need to be strict about your caffeine intake, you may want to avoid decaf as well.
Is decaf coffee bad for you?
Decaf coffee is typically safe to drink. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration regulates all decaffeinated coffee products, along with most food and beverages, to ensure they are safe.
There are four ways that coffee makers can remove the caffeine from coffee beans. Each method involves heating and soaking the beans in liquid for a period of time. The beans can be soaked in:
- Water plus a solvent such as methylene chloride or ethyl acetate applied directly
- Water plus a solvent applied indirectly
- Water plus supercritical carbon dioxide, a liquid form of carbon dioxide
With direct solvent decaffeination, the beans are soaked directly in the solvent. With indirect decaffeination, the beans are first soaked in water. Then, the beans are removed, and the solvent is applied to the water with the caffeine in it to remove it. Finally, the beans are added back into the water to add some more of their flavor.
When the FDA evaluates decaf coffee for safety, they ensure that any trace elements that remain in the coffee from the decaffeination process are safe for humans to consume.
How much caffeine should you drink per day?
Many experts agree that 400 milligrams of caffeine is safe for most people. That is equal to:
- 4 cups of caffeinated coffee
- 10 cans of caffeinated soda
- 2 energy shot drinks
- 8 cups of black tea
- 13 cups of green tea
- 5 energy drinks (8 ounces each)
However, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding should only drink 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. Children between the ages of 12 and 18 should not have more than 100 milligrams of caffeine a day. Note that children who drink caffeine may have trouble sleeping properly and may be more susceptible to withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking caffeine.
Is caffeine dangerous?
If you drink too much caffeine, it can cause some harmful effects. If you have any of the following symptoms after drinking a lot of caffeine, you may be experiencing a caffeine overdose and should seek medical attention.
- Very fast heart rate
- Irregular heart rate
- Muscle twitches
- A fever
If babies accidentally eat or drink something caffeinated, symptoms may include:
If you think your baby has eaten something that contains caffeine, seek treatment right away.
It can be easy to overdose on caffeine because it is found in many substances. You may drink a cup of coffee intentionally but not realize there is also caffeine in your favorite tea or your over-the-counter stimulants. Always read the label before you drink something so you are aware of the caffeine content.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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National Coffee Association USA: "All About Decaffeinated Coffee."
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