Read This Before You Take Another Sip Of Decaf Coffee

Whether you just don't like the jittery feeling caffeine gives you, or want to enjoy the flavor of coffee later in the day without worrying the caffeine will keep you up at night, decaf coffee is a popular drink option for many people. Lots of folks, from pregnant women who need to cut back on caffeine to people who are just sensitive to the stimulant, prefer to reach for the decaf cup, at least some of the time. However, despite its popularity, there are a few health side effects you should take into consideration before you opt for decaf.

Decaffeinated coffee doesn't come from a separate kind of coffee bean. Rather, decaf is made by removing the caffeine from regular coffee beans. According to Eat This, Not That!, the process by which coffee beans are decaffeinated includes soaking them for some time in a concoction of chemical solvents, including methylene chloride. In fact, "Some of the solvents are the same ones used in paint thinner or nail polish remover," physician Dr. William Li told Eat This, Not That!. While they are FDA approved, these chemicals are not completely harmless. One chemical the outlet names — methylene chloride — can mess with the nervous system and other body parts, and can lead to an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer.

Regular coffee has several health benefits

What's more, decaf coffee usually contains higher levels of diptenes, which can contribute to an increase in the creation of fatty acids that boost cholesterol levels and might harm heart health. This is because, thanks to the long soaking process, the coffee beans will tend to lose a good amount of flavor. Therefore, most coffee manufacturers tend to use stronger, more flavorful Robusta beans when brewing decaf, instead of traditional Arabica beans, which contain fewer diptenes than their more robust counterparts.

On the other hand, a regular cup of joe has fewer processed chemicals, less fat, and provides many significant health benefits on its own. Healthline also reports that coffee contains antioxidants and essential nutrients like manganese, potassium, and several B vitamins. It has been shown to help protect against neurodegenerative illnesses, like Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's disease, as well as reduce the risk of developing type two diabetes. 

Additionally, caffeine has been shown to increase energy, burn fat, improve your mood, and increase your cognitive function and memory, according to Healthline. So the next time you pour yourself a hot cup of coffee, it might be a good idea to treat yourself to the full caffeine version. And if you're trying to stick to a caffeine-free lifestyle, you can never go wrong with a nice herbal tea.