Coffee is a staple in the lives of people around the world. Some drink it for the flavor or the benefit of caffeine, while others reach for a decaf cup of joe. But is decaf coffee a diuretic?
Decaf coffee is a good choice for those looking to avoid caffeine levels, but while your decaf cup contains trace amounts of caffeine, it isn’t a diuretic.
What Is a Diuretic and What Does It Do?
The only way to understand if decaf coffee is a diuretic is to start at the root and define what a diuretic is. A diuretic increases the amount of urine the body produces. Diuretic pills, also known as water pills, help the body eliminate excess water and salt.
Diuretics help your kidneys remove salt from the body by moving it into your urine. When the salt eliminates excess water from the blood, the fluid in your veins and arteries also decreases, and this, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
The type of diuretic used depends on the patient and their health, but there are three types: loop, thiazide, and potassium sparing. Each type affects a different part of the kidney. Blood pressure medicine is sometimes mixed with a diuretic in a single medication pill to treat high blood pressure.
Patients with high blood pressure frequently take diuretics, but they do more than treat high blood pressure. Diuretics can also treat conditions such as:
- heart failure
- liver failure
- tissue swelling (edema)
- kidney stones and other kidney disorders
- and other kidney disorders.
Diuretics are safe, but side effects are possible. Increased urination and sodium loss often are associated with diuretics. Blood potassium levels are affected by diuretics as well.
Other side effects associated with diuretics include:
- Dizzy Spells
- Muscle Cramping
- Gout and other joint disorders
How Much Caffeine Cause Diuretic Effects?
Those who regularly drink coffee notice an increase in urination afterward. Some people wonder if it is because they are drinking liquid, if it is the coffee itself, or if it is the caffeine in the coffee.
What is causing increased urination, which could cause dehydration?
Studies show that the caffeine in coffee increases urination. The electrolyte levels in your body differ when you drink a lot of caffeine, producing more urine.
The production of urine removes waste and maintains fluid levels, and caffeine disrupts this balance and leads to dehydration.
Any amount of caffeine begins a diuretic effect. The more caffeine you drink, the larger volume of urine produced, and the larger volume of urine leads to more fluid loss and dehydration. If you experience headaches, dizzy spells, irritability, and low blood pressure, you may be experiencing the symptoms of dehydration.
But fear not; you don’t need to avoid caffeine entirely. A good rule is that you should drink two cups of water for every cup of coffee. Drinking water will prevent dehydration by replacing the minerals lost due to excess urination.
What Is Decaffeinated Coffee, and How Much Caffeine Does Decaf Contain?
Decaffeinated coffee is a good option for those who love a cup of joe in the morning but avoid caffeine. Enjoying a cup of warm decaf coffee in the evenings is also delicious when you do not want to be awake all night. While some avoid caffeine for health reasons, such as pregnancy, others avoid it because of the natural caffeine in coffee beans.
Coffee beans naturally contain caffeine. Scientists have developed ways to remove the caffeine from the coffee bean before roasting, grinding, and brewing. Green coffee beans are warmed and soaked to remove the caffeine.
Removing caffeine from the coffee beans is done one of four ways. Water alone can dissolve caffeine, but other methods use either methylene chloride or ethyl acetate as a solvent to remove the caffeine faster. The fourth way to decaffeinate coffee is a supercritical carbon dioxide and water mixture.
All four methods are safe and effective. The beans are then washed, steamed, and roasted. The high temperature evaporates any liquid used to remove the caffeine.
Each of these caffeine removal processes removes up to 97% of the caffeine in the coffee beans. One cup of decaffeinated coffee has about 2 mg of caffeine in it.
Why Decaffeinated Coffee Is Not a Diuretic
Coffee itself is not a diuretic, but the caffeine in the coffee causes the diuretic effects. Caffeinated beverages like regular coffee, tea, or soda all cause diuresis. An increase in urination causes dehydration and an imbalance in minerals because of excess fluid loss.
Excess urination is positive if someone has high blood pressure, and a decrease in the fluid coursing through veins helps lower blood pressure and has a good ending.
If someone only drinks caffeine and no water, they will have too low blood pressure and lose too many minerals. You should strive to drink two cups of water for every cup of coffee; this helps balance the loss of fluid from excess urination.
Decaffeinated coffee has gone through processes to remove the caffeine; the coffee bean is left without the caffeine.
Coffee does not cause diuresis, but the caffeine in coffee causes diuresis. Without the caffeine in the coffee bean, the coffee is not a diuretic.
Decaffeinated coffee is not a diuretic because the caffeine that is a diuretic has been removed from the coffee bean. This removal allows you to drink a cup of decaffeinated coffee without worrying about losing too much fluid from your body and causing an imbalance in minerals.
If you do not want to lose fluid but want to enjoy a cup of coffee, try a cup of decaffeinated coffee! You get all of the coffee flavor and comfort without the caffeine to cause diuretic effects.
Is Regular Coffee a Diuretic?
Regular coffee does not go through the process of decaffeinating the beans. The natural caffeine remains in the coffee beans. Because caffeine is a diuretic, regular coffee acts as a diuretic and causes a loss of fluid and a decrease in blood pressure.
Caffeine is a drug. It stimulates the central nervous system and causes increased alertness. The caffeine in a cup of coffee signals the pituitary gland to inhibit the production of the ADH hormone. The ADH hormone is responsible for the kidneys absorbing water.
Since caffeine inhibits the absorption of liquid, urination excretes the excess liquid. This increase in urination causes loss of water and dehydration. It is recommended to drink two cups of water for every cup of coffee enjoyed to maintain the balance of liquid and minerals in your body.
Do not let this loss of water scare you away from coffee. Diuretics are prescribed to people with high blood pressure. The loss of fluid in their veins causes a decrease in blood pressure to a safer level. If you have been prescribed diuretics, coffee is a great natural way to decrease high blood pressure.
If you do not need to decrease blood pressure, be mindful when you drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks. Only drinking caffeinated drinks lead to dehydration, and hydration is an important part of health.
Differences Between Decaffeinated Coffee and Regular Coffee
In short, decaffeinated coffee does not contain caffeine, and regular coffee does contain caffeine. Decaffeinated coffee goes through a process to remove the caffeine to leave coffee beans that no longer contain caffeine. Regular coffee skips this process entirely and goes straight to roasting.
Caffeine is an alkaloid drug that stimulates the central nervous system. Decaffeinated coffee has up to 97% of the caffeine removed. Decaffeinated coffee does not have the same stimulating and wakening effect that regular coffee has.
Caffeine is a diuretic. Without caffeine, decaffeinated coffee does not have the diuretic effects that regular coffee has. Regular coffee drinkers will experience frequent trips to the restroom after enjoying a cup of coffee.
Coffee has 400 chemicals in addition to caffeine. The decaffeinating process does not remove all of them, leaving some unwanted effects like nervousness and heart palpitations. The decaffeinating process removes the caffeine and some other substances, which leave it with less aroma and flavor than regular coffee.
Does Decaf Coffee Act as a Laxative?
Some coffee drinkers have experienced a sudden urge to use the restroom after drinking coffee. Coffee is a laxative in 30 to 40 percent of the population, so your morning cup of coffee has immediate effects in the restroom.
According to research, this effect diminishes after some time and habitual coffee drinking. Studies also show that caffeine is not a laxative, but other substances in coffee are. This is why you do not experience the urge after drinking tea, soda, or other caffeinated drinks.
Decaffeinated coffee acts as much as a laxative as regular coffee. Because it is not the caffeine that causes laxative effects, removing the caffeine does not change the laxative effects of coffee.
If you are in the 40 percent of the population that coffee acts as a laxative, be ready to use the restroom! Coffee has a powerful laxative effect on the people it works on. Participants of a study recorded needing to use the restroom within twenty minutes of their first sip of coffee.
Coffee has many benefits that are enjoyed every day by a large portion of the population. The effects of coffee include great taste, mental focus, brain stimulation, diuresis, and as a laxative.
The decaffeination process leaves coffee beans 97% caffeine free with only trace amounts of caffeine remaining. This lack of caffeine explains why decaf coffee is not a diuretic. The caffeine in coffee (and other caffeinated beverages) causes an increase in urine production by removing water from your blood.