Ask Dr. Nandi: Is decaf coffee harmful to health?

in our Health Alert tonight drinking coffee has been linked to numerous health benefits but what about decaffeinated coffee potent chemicals can be used to remove caffeine from coffee and this has many people wondering if it's harmful to your health our chief health editor dr. Partha nandi joining us now with this answer what about decaf doc hey Glenda there there are a few different ways to strip caffeine from coffee now unroasted coffee beans are either soaked or steamed and a mix of water and other chemicals like activated charcoal liquid carbon dioxide ethyl acetate methylene chloride are used to extract caffeine all these weird chemicals now the health concern is linked to methylene chloride this colorless liquid does not occur naturally in our environment and is used in industrial products like paints adhesives and and pesticide products and if you inhale small amounts of this methylene chloride it can affect your attention slow down your central nervous system so you might also COFF wheeze feel drowsy lightheaded and possibly develop a headache so some problems there doesn't sound good why are we allowed to use it great questions so the the Food Drug Administration does allow methylene chloride to be used but the end product must not contain more than point zero zero one percent of residual methylene chloride so a very very teeny tiny amount and a study looking at data from over 200 observational studies did not find any harmful health effects linked to decaffeinated coffee you know doc we often think of decaf as being caffeine free but that's really not the case is it Allen I think it may come as a surprise to most folks that yes decaf does contain some caffeine the amount varies by brand but you can expect anywhere between 2 and 15 milligrams per 8 ounce cup but this is still a lot lower than regular coffee which can be anywhere between eighty and a hundred milligrams of caffeine so if you're looking to eliminate caffeine directly from your diet then you should pass on the decaf and find other healthier alternatives like this amazing thing like water which I always ask my patients to drink you know my kids love it too so if you really want decaf go for the real stuff which is one sounds good dr. Nandi thank you of course if you a question or health concern for the good doctor you can email him at dr. Nandi at ask dr. Nandi calm or send it to us on Facebook or Twitter we'll get it right to him

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