Many Americans start their day with a cup of steaming coffee as they enjoy the jolt of caffeine to get them going in the morning. Some, however, prefer to nix the caffeine and opt for decaf instead. If you have recently switched to decaf coffee to reduce your caffeine intake, you may wonder if decaf coffee is a diuretic too.
Although coffee is a diuretic, it isn’t the coffee beans working their magic that is in play. It is the caffeine in coffee that accounts for its diuretic effects.
Decaf coffee is not a diuretic.
Find out more about how caffeine and diuretic effects of coffee may affect you, whether you are drinking regular or decaf.
In This Article
Is Decaf Coffee a Diuretic?
Caffeine works as a mild diuretic, but that isn’t a concern if you are drinking decaf. Decaf coffee does not contain caffeine, the ingredient in regular coffee that gives it its diuretic effects. Decaf coffee is not a diuretic because the caffeine has been removed from the coffee beans.
Decaf coffee is actually an excellent choice for staying hydrated and can be consumed without concerns about dehydration due to the diuretic effects.
What Does Diuretic Mean?
Diuretics are substances that cause your body to flush out excess water. They prevent water retention and can be used medically to treat edema, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions.
Caffeine is a natural diuretic found in regular coffee. Although it is a mild diuretic, it does stimulate the kidneys to remove water from your body and make you visit the bathroom more frequently.
Because decaf coffee contains little or no caffeine, depending on the manufacturer of the beans, it does not have the same diuretic effect that coffee does.
However, drinking large amounts of decaf coffee will still increase urination, just like drinking water does.
Why Does Coffee Make You Pee More?
Coffee makes you pee more for two reasons. The most obvious reason is that the more fluids you drink, the more urine your body will produce. Increased fluids activate the kidneys and make you pee more frequently.
The second reason coffee makes you pee more is that coffee contains caffeine, and caffeine is a mild diuretic. This means the caffeine in your coffee stimulates your kidneys and makes you pee more shortly after drinking the coffee.
Contrary to popular opinion, the diuretic effects of regular coffee do not cause you to excrete more water than you consume with the coffee. It does not lead to dehydration, and coffee consumption can be counted as part of your daily water intake, explains Mayo Clinic.
Is Decaf Coffee OK for an Overactive Bladder?
If you have an overactive bladder, you may be concerned about the diuretic effects of regular coffee. The good news is that you don’t need to give up coffee. Decaf coffee does not contain caffeine and is not a diuretic.
Drinking decaf coffee in the morning is a good choice for those with an overactive bladder as its effects aren’t any greater than drinking water or other caffeine-free beverage, like milk or juice.
You may, however, need to monitor how much you are drinking, especially if your doctor has instructed you to limit the consumption of fluids.
Does Decaffeinated Coffee Dehydrate You?
Decaffeinated coffee does not contain caffeine and is not a diuretic. It does not force your body to flush out excess water like regular coffee.
Decaffeinated coffee does not cause dehydration and can be counted as part of your daily water intake.
What are the Side Effects of Decaf Coffee?
It is easy to assume that you can drink unlimited amounts of decaf coffee because it contains little to no caffeine, but this isn’t the case. You still need to be aware of the side effects of the coffee beans or the decaffeination process.
- Increased LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
- Increased blood fats that may contribute to metabolic syndrome
- Increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis. The exact mechanism responsible for this increased risk is unknown, but decaf coffee’s process and preparation are suspected, as regular coffee does not produce the same results.
- May trigger gastric reflux. Although the effects are less in decaf coffee, decaf does cause an increase in the hormone gastrin, which in turn stimulates the release of stomach acids.
- May decrease iron absorption due to the presence of chlorogenic acid found in both regular and decaf coffee.
What are the Best Decaf Coffee Brands?
- Kicking Horse Dark Decaf – This decaf coffee is processed via the Swiss water process that removes caffeine from the beans without stripping the coffee of its natural oils and flavors. Customers report a rich aroma with a smooth, nutty flavor.
- Seattle’s Best Decaf Portside Blend Medium Roast – This medium roast decaf is made from Arabica beans from Latin America. Customers describe the flavor as fresh, bold, and full-flavored. If you are looking for a medium roast def coffee, give Seattle’s Best a try.
- Donut Shop Decaf K Cups – If you are looking for quality decaf coffee in a K cup, Donut Shop Decaf is a good choice. This decaf coffee is extra bold due to the addition of extra Arabica beans to the blend. Many claim the Donut Shop Decaf K cups match the full-bodied flavor of regular coffee.
- Mount Hagen Decaf Instant Coffee – Mount Hagen Decaf Instant Coffee is an excellent choice if you are looking for the convenience of an instant decaf coffee. It is a balanced medium roast that is strong without being too acidic.
Frequently Asked Questions
Diuretics are used medically to treat medical conditions like high blood pressure, edema, kidney disorder, liver failure, and heart failure.
They work by stimulating the kidneys to release sodium into your urine, says Mayo Clinic. The sodium, in turn, removes water from your blood, decreasing the blood volume in your bloodstream.
In effect, diuretics remove excess water from your body and are often effective in treating swollen ankles or legs; however, the use of diuretics should be monitored by a doctor as overuse can lead to other health issues and cause significant side effects.
It should be noted here, that although regular coffee is a mild diuretic, it does not cause your body to void more water than is in the cup of coffee. Drinking coffee will not help with swollen feet or ankles or any medical condition that may warrant a diuretic.
Decaffeinated coffee provides many of the same health benefits as regular coffee, explains GoodRx. Although the amount of caffeine in regular coffee doesn’t pose a risk to healthy adults, if you are sensitive to caffeine, decaf may be a healthier choice for you.
However, be aware that the decaffeinating process often adds chemicals, such as methylene chloride, to decaf coffee. While the FDA has approved its use for decaffeinating coffee, the use of methylene chloride is a concern for some coffee drinkers.
Decaf coffee processed via the Swiss water method is chemical free as the caffeine is extracted with water and has no added chemicals. This method removes 99.9 percent of the caffeine in coffee while retaining antioxidants, natural oils, and flavor-producing compounds.
If you are concerned about possible health risks due to the decaffeination process, seek coffee that has been decaffeinated via the Swiss water method.
Both regular and decaf coffee can have a laxative effect on some people. Naturally occurring compounds found in coffee stimulate gastrin secretion. Gastrin, in turn, stimulates the release of stomach acids and stimulates the muscles in your colon.
You may need to poop within 2 to 3 minutes of drinking coffee, whether you drink regular or decaf coffee.
According to a study conducted by Human Gastrointestinal Physiology and Nutrition, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield, 29 percent of people experience the need to go to the bathroom after drinking coffee. Interestingly, 63 percent of those are female.
Decaf coffee has about 2 mg of caffeine, while a cup of regular coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine.
Decaffeination generally removes 97 percent of the caffeine in coffee. The Swiss water process reports removing 99.9 percent of the caffeine from coffee. Either way, a cup of decaf coffee has minimal amounts of caffeine.
As a point of reference, the Harvard School of Public Health reports that it is safe to consume 400mg of caffeine a day as part of a healthy diet. While you could drink four 8-ounce cups of regular coffee, you could theoretically drink 200 cups of decaf coffee to obtain the same amount of caffeine.
Final Thoughts on Decaffeinated Coffee as a Diuretic
Drinking decaf coffee is an excellent alternative if you are sensitive to caffeine or your doctor has told you to avoid it. It provides many of the same health benefits as regular coffee without worries about problems from caffeine.
Many coffee drinkers choose to drink regular coffee in the morning and decaf in the afternoon or evening to eliminate sleep problems sometimes associated with caffeine. Whether you drink regular coffee in the morning and decaf when you don’t want the effects of caffeine or you choose to switch to decaf fulltime is up to you.