Caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world. Coffee addicts who switch to decaf for health reasons may not be as free from caffeine's clutches as they think. A study conducted by the researchers of University of Florida put forth that decaffeinated coffee is not entirely caffeine-free. Also, it is important to understand that there are a number of significant chemical compounds present in coffee, other than caffeine, which also have strong effects on the body.
The common active constituents include chlorogenic acid, caffeol and diterpenes. Many health disorders that are aggravated by coffee are still affected by decaffeinated coffee, despite the lowered level of caffeine, due to these other phytochemicals that remain in decaf coffee even after the decaffeination process.
Health effects of decaf coffee
Decaf coffee increases acidity
Decaf coffee increases cholesterol and heart attack riskSeveral studies have shown that decaffeinated coffee raises the risk for heart attacks similar to regular coffee in spite of the lowered levels of caffeine. A U.S. National Institutes of Health study suggested that drinking decaffeinated coffee increased the risk of heart disease. This study showed that the group drinking decaffeinated coffee experienced an 18% rise in non-essential fatty acids in the blood, which can drive the production of LDL cholesterol and an 8% rise in apolipoprotein B - a protein associated with cholesterol linked to cardiovascular disease.
Levels of LDL cholesterol, a strong predictor for heart attacks, increase after coffee drinkers switch from regular coffee to decaf coffee. These finding suggests that a phytochemical present in coffee other than caffeine is responsible for the subsequent LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B activity.
The fact is that caffeinated and decaf coffees are known to be made from different beans. Decaf coffee is often made from Robusta beans, which contain a much higher content of fats called diterpenes. Diterpenes are known to stimulate fatty acid production in the body. Thus, decaf coffee has proved more harmful effects on the heart as compared to regular coffee. Coffee oils other than caffeine have also been demonstrated to elevate liver enzyme levels, further inhibiting the liver’s ability to effectively regulate serum cholesterol.
Also, chlorogenic acid is found in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. It is believed to raise plasma levels of homocysteine, which is associated with increased susceptibility of developing cardiovascular disease. Reducing intake of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee may be important in controlling plasma homocysteine levels.
Decaf coffee may lead to osteoporosisAccording to an osteoporosis expert of Creighton University in Omaha, there occurs a loss up to 5 milligrams of calcium for every six ounces of regular coffee that you drink. As little as 300 to 400 mg of caffeine a day doubles the risk of hip fracture.
Low bone density increases chances for developing osteoporosis. Metabolic acidity contributes to demineralization of the bones. The high acidity of decaf coffee increases the risk for developing osteoporosis. It alters bone cell function, increasing osteoclastic bone resorption and decreasing osteoblastic bone formation. Avoiding regular and decaf coffee and including 3-4 servings of calcium rich foods a day can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.