Decaffeinated Coffee is Not Caffeine-Free
Caffeine is a chemical stimulant that naturally happens in beverages including coffee beans and cocoa among others. This substance, which is chemically referred to as trimethylxanthine, is not only present in beverages, but it is also found in both prescribed and non-prescribed drugs. Chemically, this substance is represented as: C8H10N4O2. Its corresponding molecular formula is as shown below:
The literature in this paper is biased towards beverage coffee and its health impacts upon consumption. The health impacts arising from the consumption of coffee continue to elicit mixed reactions among consumers. Initially, ten decades and beyond, the consumption of coffee had been tainted for it was believed to be associated with negative health impacts. As such, studies revealed that the health risks associated with its consumption include among others “severe blood sugar swings, acid imbalance, exhausted adrenaline glands, and essential mineral depletion” (Superko 599). In the year 2004/5, pundits’ findings suggested that coffee was associated to health beneficial factors. To this, their studies revealed that consumption of coffee is responsible for reducing one’s vulnerability to cancer, diabetes, gallstones, and Parkinson’s disease in men.
Coffee is consumed far and wide around the world and it has the potential of attaining addiction levels if excessively consumed. This presents a budding problem among people with hypertension. Consequently, these people are advised by the doctors to use decaffeinated coffee so as to avoid putting themselves at risk. This is the alternative used by coffee addicts who are perhaps cautious about their health. However, studies have revealed that this beverage is not 100% caffeine-free thus; the big question that lingers at the back of the people’s minds is: what is the minimum level beyond which caffeine concentration present a significant health effect? To complicate matters further, it is argued that decaffeinated coffee is associated with other health risks that include increasing the levels of fatty acids and enhancing the chances of miscarry among pregnant women. This prompts the question: what could be the risk factors that are associated decaffeinated coffee? These two questions present the skeletal through which the hypothesis of this research paper is coined from.
This paper is framed around two null hypotheses: first is, decaffeinated coffee is not caffeine-free, and second is decaffeinated coffee is associated with health risk factors.
Decaffeinated coffee is not caffeine-free
As Professor Bruce Goldbeger puts it, the normal brands that are present in the market contain some traces of caffeine. As such, he compares the quantities of caffeine present in decaffeinated coffee to those in caffeinated brands and reveals that: a cup of caffeinated coffee is equivalent to five cups of its antonym. This study was a shocker to those advised by the doctors to embrace caffeine-free diets by consuming decaffeinated coffee. This group includes those with kidney problems as well as those with anxiety disorders among others.
The Professor noted that even minute quantities have the potential of adversely affecting some sensitive individuals. This is what triggered the research fronted by the Professor to determine the degree of caffeine in decaffeinated coffee brands, in the market. Under his tutelage, University of Florida (UF) researchers performed a two-phase study on the same.
In the first phase, “10 16-ounce decaffeinated drip-brewed coffee beverages from nine national chains or local coffee houses were purchased and then tested for caffeine content” (Decaffeinated Coffee Is Not Caffeine-free, Experts Say 1). From these, the substance caffeine was separated from the samples after which it was quantified using gas chromatography. The results revealed that all the brands with an exception of one contained this substance at concentrations that ranged between 8.6 and 13.9 milligrams. On comparison with a drip-brewed coffee, this quantity accounts for 16% of an 8-ounce cup of the same.
On the second phase, samples of “Starbucks decaffeinated espresso and brewed decaffeinated coffee” (Decaffeinated Coffee Is Not Caffeine-free, Experts Say 2) were sampled from a common source. From these, caffeine concentrations were determined, and the former revealed the presence of caffeine at degrees that ranged between 3-15.8 milligrams for a 16-ounce cup. The later revealed these concentrations at a range of between 12-13.4 milligrams for the same quantity.
Even with these low concentrations, Professor Gold notes that some people are likely to develop an addiction on the same. At the backdrop of these findings, some people tend to wonder whatever quantities are present in decaf that may render one an addict. In essence, when consumed in large quantities and more frequently, this would develop to addiction hence; this ought to be contraindicated on the people that are advised to embrace caffeine-free diets.
It is worth noting that, caffeine concentrations as low as 10 milligrams present a threshold enough to cause subjective/behavioral change in sensitive individuals. For many people, concentrations of below 18 milligrams can hardly be noticed in terms of subjective or behavioral change. Nonetheless, the decaf beverages that are present in the market have caffeine concentrations above this level. With these findings, it is in the best interest of public knowledge to note that decaffeinated coffee is chemically dissimilar to caffeine-free coffee.
Decaffeinated coffee is associated with health risk factors
To many people who have nurtured a physical reliance on coffee, and are cautious about the health risks associated with caffeine, decaffeinated coffee presents an excellent source of solace. Nevertheless, few have the knowledge about the health risks associated with it. At the back of these people’s mind is the ignorance that decaffeinated coffee is caffeine-free coffee. In effect, according to a US-based research, these people present themselves to the high risks that are associated with decaffeinated coffee.
National Institute of Health, a US-based institution, revealed that consumption of decaffeinated coffee could trigger proliferation of ‘bad’ cholesterol levels in our bodies. Concomitantly, a Danish-based research team revealed that excessive consumption of the same could lead to an increase in the risk to miscarry (Xiaoping 27).
The former study was carried out on a sample size of 187 people. The research design was such that a third “of these people had to drink three to six cups of caffeinated coffee a day while a second group had to drink the same amount of decaffeinated coffee” (Superko 600). The control was a group of people who never took coffee in their diet. The findings of the study revealed that the group that had consumed decaffeinated coffee recorded an 18% increase in plasma fatty acids.
This sparked the proliferation of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, a recipe for heart diseases, diabetes notwithstanding. Also, apolipoprotein B, a protein that occurs concurrently with ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body, shot up by 8% among this group. Ideally, whatever happens is that decaffeinated coffee catalyzes the process of lipolysis, an action that disintegrates triglycerides stored as adipose layer on the body.
Consequently, this would lead to increased free fatty acids (FFA) in the blood that trigger a chain reaction leading to the production of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol ultimately. The differences in other groups were immaterial. In a nutshell, the finding of this study revealed, contrary to a public opinion, that decaffeinated coffee is the one responsible for heart diseases.
The later study, which was looking into the effect caffeine on the degree of miscarry among pregnant women, sampled a total of 88,000 women. The approach in this study was such that a questionnaire was developed with an aim of capturing women’s responses on potential risk factors believed to jeopardize their pregnancies. Moreover, the same women were asked about their coffee consumption habits. Of this group, 3,018 women were reported to be consuming over 8 cups of coffee per day. The level of infant mortality was reported among 1,102 women, with a total of 67 deaths emanating from excessive consumption of coffee.
Furthermore, the study showed that, as opposed to a public mindset, tea and cola do not expose one to the risks for miscarriage, instead; substances in coffee other than caffeine are the ones responsible for the risk factors. In a synopsis, the findings in this study reveal that one way to curtail the risk factors responsible for miscarriage is by reducing consumption of coffee (Quinlin 5).