Decaffeinated coffee is an excellent alternative to regular coffee when you want the antioxidant benefits of coffee without the caffeine load. One of the concerns about coffee (regular and decaf) is whether it will make you pee more frequently than normal and dehydrate you.
So, is decaffeinated coffee a diuretic?
No, decaffeinated coffee is not a diuretic. Studies show that only caffeine levels above 500 mg per day can cause significant diuretic effects. Since an 8 oz cup of decaf has at most 7mg of caffeine, you would have to consume over 70 cups of decaffeinated coffee in one day to suffer diuresis.
What is a Diuretic and What Does it Do?
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, diuretics are substances that induce your kidneys to shed excess salts and water. When you take a diuretic, your kidneys produce more urine. Consequently, you pee more often to remove the excess water and salts from your body.
Diuretics include medicinal drugs as well as natural diuretics such as caffeine, hibiscus, ginger, and Nigella Sativa.
How Much Caffeine Would Cause Diuretic Effects?
Generally, it is difficult to tell exactly how much caffeine will cause diuretic effects. Healthline claims that you are likely to suffer serious diuretic effects if you consume over 500mg of caffeine in a day.
This amount of caffeine can be from consuming one or a combination of caffeinated substances such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and soft drinks within a day.
What is Decaffeinated Coffee and How Much Caffeine Does Decaf Contain?
Decaf coffee is coffee in which almost all of its original caffeine content has been extracted. A cup of decaf coffee has at least 97% less caffeine than a similar cup of regular coffee. Healthline states that an 8oz (240ml) mug of decaffeinated coffee has at most 7mg of caffeine against the 70-140mg of caffeine in an 8oz mug of regular coffee.
A shot of decaf espresso has between 3 to 16mg of caffeine as compared to about 65mg in a regular espresso shot.
Decaffeination occurs before the coffee beans are roasted. Green coffee beans go through a process that uses solvents to dissolve and extract caffeine. The decaffeinated green coffee beans are then dried to their original moisture content.
A good decaffeination method should retain nearly all of the original aromas, flavors, and oils of the coffee beans. For example, the Swiss water decaffeination process retains nearly all the aromas and flavors.
The process should also yield decaf coffee that has zero or very minimal residual flavors from the decaffeination process.
You may want to read our article about the level of caffeine in a tablespoon of coffee.
Why Decaffeinated Coffee is not a Diuretic
Given the small amounts of caffeine in decaf coffee and the amount of caffeine (over 500mg per day) that is required to cause major diuretic effects, there is no way that decaffeinated coffee will cause diuretic problems to you.
You would have to drink over 70 cups (571 ounces or 137 liters) of decaffeinated coffee in a day for you to experience any significant diuretic effects.
Is Regular Coffee a Diuretic?
Drinking regular coffee in moderation is unlikely to cause significant diuretic issues. However, drinking more than 4 cups (29oz or 7 liters) of regular coffee at once can lead to minor diuretic issues.
The FDA advises that a maximum of 400mg of caffeine per day for healthy adults is safe and unlikely to cause negative or dangerous effects. Therefore, drinking 2-4 cups of regular coffee in a day will not result in major diuretic problems.
The consumption of other caffeinated substances such as tea or soft and energy drinks adds to the caffeine from drinking coffee. Therefore, although drinking regular coffee in moderation will not cause diuretic problems, over-consumption of other caffeinated drinks can shoot your total caffeine level over the 400mg mark.
Does Decaf Coffee Make You Pee?
Yes, decaf coffee makes you pee but it does not make you lose more fluids than the amount that you drink. Decaf coffee makes you pee at a similar rate to when you drink water or non-caffeinated drinks.
Studies have shown that both regular coffee in moderation and decaffeinated coffee provide hydration benefits akin to those of water.
Differences Between Decaffeinated Coffee and Regular Coffee
The differences between decaf and regular coffee include
- Bean color. Unroasted decaf coffee beans range from light brown to greenish-brown in color, unlike the greyish-green or green color of unroasted regular coffee beans.
- Oily. Decaf coffee beans can start to sweat some oils during roasting before even reaching the second crack roast level. They also become oily a few days after roasting because the oils are able to penetrate through the fragile bean structure much faster than in regular coffee beans. Decaf coffee beans get oily even when they are not dark roasts.
- Roast temperature. Decaf coffee beans tend to have a lower roast temperature: they roast faster and are more fragile than regular beans because the bean structure is altered during the decaffeination
- Shelflife. Decaf coffee beans have a lower shelf life than regular beans due to the altered cell structure
- Caffeine content. Decaf coffee has less than 3% of the caffeine content in regular coffee hence decaf is unlikely to affect your sleep
- Off-flavors. Decaf coffee can have some off-flavors from the decaffeination process
- Antioxidants. Decaf coffee can have up to 15% fewer antioxidants than regular coffee
- Acidity. Decaf has a slightly lower acidity although the difference is insignificant
Here is our article that discusses the caffeine in cold brew coffee.
Is Decaf Coffee a Laxative
Decaf coffee can make you poop more. Although decaf contains very little caffeine, it contains other compounds such as chlorogenic acids that promote the production of stomach acids.
These stomach acids contribute to the churning and faster movement of food through the stomach. Consequently, decaffeinated coffee can make you poop more or much faster than normal.
In addition, the act of drinking decaf coffee or any drink in the morning when your bowels are more active than when you are asleep can stimulate colon activity and cause you to poop.
You may want to read why coffee gives you diarrhea.
Why Do People Drink Decaf Coffee?
Decaffeinated coffee has several advantages over regular coffee
- Decaf coffee is less likely to cause acid reflux. Although there is no telling the exact components in coffee (other than caffeine and acidity) that cause acid reflux, a study on the effects of decaf coffee on GERD reflux found that these components are removed during the decaffeination process. See the best decaf reduced-acid instant coffee for GERD problems.
- Decaf does not interfere with sleep
- Decaf is associated with a lower risk of premature mortality as well as death from heart conditions and stroke
- Decaf provides the health benefits of regular coffee such as the reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and lower risk of cancer but without the negative effects of regular coffee such as anxiety, sweating, coffee jitters, and caffeine withdrawal symptoms
- Near-zero-caffeine decaf coffee is a great alternative for people with caffeine intolerance
- Decaf coffee is an excellent choice for pregnant women and adolescents
Decaffeinated coffee is not a diuretic. Decaf coffee makes you pee the same way water does and like water, decaf coffee is an excellent choice to hydrate.
Drinking regular coffee in moderation is also an effective way to hydrate. Drinking larger amounts of regular coffee within a short time can cause minor diuretic effects.
Always aim to drink regular coffee in moderation. Keeping your daily total caffeine intake within the FDA recommended limit of below 400mg is an excellent way to avoid major diuretic problems.
Decaf provides most of the antioxidants and health benefits associated with regular coffee without the undesirable caffeine effects of regular coffee.
FAQs as to Whether Decaffeinated Coffee is a Diuretic
Does Decaf Coffee Have Caffeine?
Yes, decaf coffee contains up to three percent of its original caffeine content. A regular (8oz) cup of decaf black coffee has a maximum of 7mg of caffeine. A shot of decaf espresso has about 3-16mg of caffeine.
Does Decaf Coffee Make You Sweat?
For a healthy adult, decaf coffee is unlikely to make you sweat more than normal sweating. Whereas large intakes of caffeine are known to cause sweating, decaf contains very little caffeine hence it’s unlikely to cause excess sweating.
Decaf coffee is not completely caffeine-free. Caffeine intolerant persons can experience sweating depending on the severity of their intolerance and the amount of caffeine in decaf.
Some types of decaf coffee such as Swiss Water decaf that is certified as 99.9% caffeine-free are an excellent choice for caffeine intolerant persons. Consult your physician in the case of abnormal sweating when you take decaf.