Caffeinated Decaf Coffee

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Home => Product Alerts => Are You Really Getting Caffeine-Free Decaf Coffee?

Are You Really Getting Caffeine-Free Decaf Coffee?

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Coffee
Decaffeinated Burger King Coffee, Dunkin' Donuts Coffee, McDonald's Coffee, Seattle's Best Coffee, 7-Eleven Coffee, and Starbucks Coffee, all tested positive for caffeine.

Most people drink decaffeinated coffee so it doesn't make them jittery or keep them awake at night.

However, there are people with certain medical conditions, including high blood pressure and heart arrhythmia, or certain psychiatric patients because of pharmacokinetic interactions between caffeine and certain anti-anxiety drugs, or people taking certain prescription medications who are advised to limit caffeine or avoid it all together.

Even though caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world with coffee representing a major source of intake, in an effort to refrain from caffeine, many people turn to decaffeinated coffee. But, are they really getting caffeine-free coffee when buying that decaf?

There are very few guidelines about how much caffeine is too much, and even low doses may adversely affect some people.

Coffee Two separate studies have been done independently from each other on decaf coffees, and both studies have found that decaf coffee isn't completely caffeine free.

In one study, published in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology, researchers tested popular decaffeinated coffees to find out how much caffeine is likely to be found in each of them.

They first went around coffee shops and restaurants and purchased 10 16-ounce decaffeinated cups of coffee. Those 16-ounce cups were analyzed for caffeine content.

The researchers found that all but one contained caffeine. The 10 decaffeinated coffee samples contained caffeine in the range of 8.6 milligrams to 13.9 milligrams. The only one decaf coffe that didn't have caffeine was the decaffeinated Folgers Instant, purchased at a Krystal fast-food restaurant.

After this was done, they tested several samples of Starbucks® espresso decaf and Starbucks brewed decaf coffee, which samples were collected from the same location to determine if the caffeine content varied.

The results showed that the caffeine content of the decaffeinated Starbucks espresso varied from 3 milligrams to 15.8 milligrams. And the caffeine content of the Starbucks decaf brewed coffee ranged from 12 milligrams to 13.4 milligrams per 16-ounce serving.

In another study, Consumer Reports had secret shoppers buy a total of 36 cups of decaffeinated coffee from six locations of Burger King, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Seattle's Best Coffee, 7-Eleven, and Starbucks near their headquarters in Yonkers, N.Y. All cups were the chains' small size, holding 10 or 12 ounces.

They tested those coffees and the findings were very interesting. The Consumer Reports reported in the November issue of its magazine that more than half of the decaffeinated coffees had less than 5 milligrams of caffeine. But, some had quite a lot.

For a comparison, a regular caffeinated coffee has around 100 milligrams of caffeine. But, one of the six cups of decaffeinated coffee from Dunkin' Donuts had 32 milligrams; one from Seattle's Best had 29 mg; and one from Starbucks had 21 mg. So much for decaf.

The results varied at each chain, but they mentioned in the magazine that McDonald's decaf consistently had less than 5 milligrams.

To make it even more interesting, Consumer Reports had their secret shoppers buy caffeinated coffee at the same chains. And they found a surprise there too. The caffeine content ranged from 58 milligrams to whopping 281 milligrams of caffeine.

The New York Times in response to these studies reported: "The findings are important for people with certain health issues. Caffeine can increase heart rate, interfere with sleep, cause heartburn and increase anxiety, and heavy consumption isn't advised for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and for those who take certain medications."

"If someone drinks five to 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee, the dose of caffeine could easily reach the level present in a cup or two of caffeinated coffee," says researcher Bruce A. Goldberger, PhD, of the University of Florida, in a news release.

"The important point is that decaffeinated is not the same as caffeine-free," says Roland Griffiths, PhD, a professor of behavioral biology and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in a news release. "People who are trying to eliminate caffeine from their diet should be aware that popular espresso drinks such as lattes (which contain two shots of espresso) can deliver as much caffeine as a can of Coca-Cola -- about 31 milligrams."

The findings of the studies show that people who drink several cups of decaf coffee a day may be getting far more caffeine than they bargained for.

The Journal of Analytical Toxicology has warned that: "Patients vulnerable to caffeine effects should be advised that caffeine may be present in coffees purported to be decaffeinated."

If your concern is the amount of caffeine that you might be consuming, here's a website that provides an enormous list of drinks and their coffeine content: http://www.energyfiend.com/huge-caffeine-database/


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