Decaf is short for decaffeinated coffee. It is coffee from coffee beans that have had at least 97% of their caffeine removed. There are many ways to remove caffeine from coffee beans. Most of them include water, organic solvents or carbon dioxide.
Coffee beans are washed in the solvent until the caffeine has been extracted into it, then the solvent is removed.
The beans are decaffeinated before they are roasted and ground. The nutritional value of decaf coffee should be almost identical to regular coffee, apart from the caffeine content.
However, the taste and smell may become a little milder and the color may change, depending on the method used. This can make decaf coffee more pleasing to those who are sensitive to the bitter taste and smell of regular coffee.
Despite having been demonized in the past, the truth is that coffee is mostly good for you. It is linked with numerous health benefits, which are mainly attributed to its antioxidant content and other active substances.
However, the specific health effects of decaf coffee can be hard to determine. This is because most studies assess coffee intake without distinguishing between regular and decaf coffee, and some don’t even include decaf coffee.
Also, most of these studies are observational. They cannot prove that coffee caused the benefits, only that drinking coffee is associated with them.
Type 2 Diabetes, Liver Function and Premature Death
Drinking coffee, both regular and decaf, has been linked with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Each daily cup may reduce the risk up to 7%.
This suggests that elements other than caffeine may be responsible for these protective effects.
The effects of decaf coffee on liver function are not as well studied as those of regular coffee. However, one large observational study linked decaf coffee with reduced liver enzyme levels, which suggests a protective effect. Drinking decaf coffee has also been linked with a small but significant reduction in the risk of premature death, as well as death from stroke or heart disease.