Decaf is short for decaffeinated coffee.

It’s coffee from coffee beans that have had at least 97% of their caffeine removed. So it’s not completely caffeine free.

There are many safe ways to remove caffeine from raw coffee beans. Most of them include water, organic solvents or carbon dioxide.

This process leaves the nutritional value of decaf similar to regular coffee, apart from the caffeine content.

So there’s no issues with the caffeine removal process itself, but how does the end product compare to the health benefits of regular coffee?

Regular coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants in the Western diet, more than we get from fruits and vegetables combined. Antioxidants are molecules thought to help protect against numerous lifestyle diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.


Decaf usually contains similar amounts of antioxidants to regular coffee, although some studies have found levels can be up to 15% lower due to losses in the decaffeination process.

Despite this potential small drop in antioxidants, numerous studies have found strong associations between decaf coffee consumption and health benefits.


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%.


The effects of decaf on liver function are not as well studied as regular coffee, but one large observational study linked decaf with reduced liver enzyme levels, which suggests a protective effect.


Drinking decaf 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.


Both regular and decaf coffee also seem to have positive effects on age-related mental decline, with human cell studies showing decaf may protect neurons in the brain. This could help prevent the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Where regular coffee has the greatest edge over decaf is all the health effects associated with caffeine, obviously. Things like improved energy, mood, metabolic rate, and athletic performance.

But otherwise decaf coffee is still a great choice if you are sensitive to caffeine or have a medical condition that will benefit from a caffeine-restricted diet.

It’s perfectly safe and carries most of the same benefits as regular coffee, just without the caffeine side effects.

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