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Is Right For You? Learn the Decaffeinated Coffee Side Effects

Decaffeinated coffee may seem like a simple solution when trying to reduce one's caffeine intake, but it is important to be aware of decaffeinated coffee side effects. While there are many known health disorders that have been directly linked to regular caffeine consumption, decaffeinated coffee can also cause some minor health risks and have an adverse effect on the human body. Is decaffeinated coffee really a good replacement for caffeinated coffee? Before you can make the decision for yourself, you will need to know the decaffeinated coffee side effects.

Decaf vs. Regular Coffee

While decaf is coffee which has undergone decaffeination, a process which removes most of the caffeine from coffee beans, decaf coffee still contains approximately 2 to 5 milligrams of caffeine in each cup. This is much less than the amount of caffeine present in caffeinated coffee, which contains 60 to 150 milligrams of caffeine per cup; however, it does not eliminate caffeine intake completely. It also does not entirely eliminate the dangers of drinking caffeinated coffee while adding decaffeinated coffee side effects.

  • Both decaf and regular coffee increase the release of the hormone that stimulates the release of stomach acid, called gastrin.

  • Both cause essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc to be lost during the release of urine.

  • Both contain chlorogenic acid, which can hamper the absorption of iron.

  • Both increase the risk of glaucoma by increasing pressure in the eye.

  • Both increase homocysteine, which is linked to a higher risk of heart disease.


One of the main reasons coffee gets a bad rap is due to its highly acidic nature, stimulating unnecessarily high levels of secretion of gastric acids. Many decaffeinated coffee side effects stem from the use of Robusta beans rather than Arabica beans. Jerry Baldwin writes in The Atlantic that Arabica is a much higher quality coffee than Robusta, stating that Robusta cannot produce a “flavor comparable to good Arabica.”

Why, then, is Robusta used for decaffeinated coffee? it is used because of its higher acidity levels, ensuring that some of the coffee flavor remains after the coffee beans have undergone the decaffeination process.

Robusta’s high levels of acidity may add more flavor to decaffeinated coffee, but it also leads to decaffeinated coffee side effects like higher levels of acidity than caffeinated coffee. High levels of acidity can lead to:

  • Ulcers

  • Acid reflux

  • Heartburn

  • Inflammatory bowel conditions

  • Urinary tract inflammation

  • Osteoporosis

Chemical Solvents

One of the main decaffeinated coffee side effects arises from the  decaffeination process, which generally involves the utilization of chemical solvents.

  • Methylene chloride is used as a base paint for strippers, while ethyl acetate is used in glues and nail polish removers. Studies on ethyl acetate have shown that "Breathing in very high concentrations of ethyl acetate vapors may cause weakness, drowsiness, and unconsciousness . In animals, feeding very high doses of ethyl acetate resulted in depressed body and organ weights and depressed food consumption."

  • Even though there are coffee brands which claim to use a completely natural water process, their coffee still might have been soaked in the chemical solvents listed above, contributing to decaffeinated coffee side effects.

  • The decaffeination process involves soaking the beans in chemical solvents for 10 hours after being steamed for 30 minutes. After soaking, the beans are steamed once again to remove the chemical solvents.

  • The steaming process does not remove 100% of the chemical solvents and, in fact, studies have shown that decaffeinated coffee side effects include a higher rate of rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Cases of rheumatoid arthritis has been associated with chemical residue left over from the decaffeination process.

Cardiovascular Risk

  • Drinking multiple cups a day can greatly increase decaffeinated coffee side effects.

  • Decaffeinated coffee side effects include raising apolipoprotein B (ApoB) by about 8% and nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) levels by 18%, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases.

  • Studies have shown that decaffeinated coffee side effects include raising LDL cholesterol by significant levels, also increasing the possibility of heart attack and  cardiovascular arrest.


Overall, because decaffeinated coffee still contains trace amounts of caffeine while also adding decaffeinated coffee side effects such as high levels of acidity and cardiovascular risk, decaffeinated coffee may not be the most safe solution to reducing your caffeine intake. Juices, herbal teas or your own self-made decaffeinated, low-acid coffee would be much safer, healthier choices free from decaffeinated coffee side effects.

If you still feel the need to enjoy a cup or two of coffee a day, keep in mind that moderation is key. Remember that additives like white sugar can easily add up to unhealthy amounts.

One of the most important aspects of overall health is to keep yourself apprised of current information, as scientific research is constantly bringing new information to light. Don't be caught unaware about your health. Take a health assessment today.


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