Is Decaf Coffee a Diuretic?

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Updated Nov 28, 2022
Amélie Bigras
Amélie Bigras
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 Is Decaf Coffee a Diuretic? Is Decaf Coffee a Diuretic?

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Decaf coffee doesn't have caffeine. Does it still work as a diuretic? Well it depends on the quality of the decaffeination process.

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What Is a Decaf Coffee?

Decaffeinated coffee is about 97% or more caffeine removed from coffee beans. Decaf coffee has about 2 mg of caffeine, compared to regular coffee's 95 mg.

There are a few different methods of decaffeination, but the most common is the Swiss water method. This method uses water and carbon dioxide or a charcoal filter to extract the caffeine from the coffee beans. The coffee beans are then dried and roasted. Here is a video on different decaffeination process.

Other methods to get rid of caffeine generally steams the coffee beans and then rinses them with a chemical solvent (ex: ethyl acetate) repeatedly. Chemical agents treat the caffeine-laden water in which the beans have soaked for hours, not the beans themselves. After removing the caffeine from the water with the solvent, the bean-flavored solution is reintroduced to the beans, allowing many of the oils and flavors to be reabsorbed. Both processes get rid of the solvents by rinsing or evaporating them out of green beans before roasting, so only the tiniest trace amounts (which are safe for consumption) are ever left.

What Does Diuretic Mean?

Diuretics help you get rid of salt (sodium) and water. You get less fluid flowing through your veins and arteries when you take sodium. Your blood would be considered ''thicker'' so diuretics are used to thin your blood and lowers blood pressure.

Symptoms that are treated or prevented with diuretics include:

  • Heart failure
  • Liver failure
  • Edema (swelling) of the tissues
  • Kidney stones and certain kidney disorders

Diuretics can also have the following side effects:

  • Feeling dizzy
  • Having headaches
  • Getting dehydrated
  • Cramping muscles
  • Disorders of the joints (gout)
  • Impotence

Caffeine is considered a mild diuretic. Dr. Rena Malik, a urologist, explains the effect of caffeine on your urinary system in this video.

Why Decaf Coffee is Linked to Diuretics?

There is a lot of debates around the fact that caffeine is a diuretic, but many studies have shown that it is in fact a mild diuretic. It means that it helps to increase the amount of urine produced. This can lead to dehydration and can make the body lose important electrolytes. Salt and water homeostasis involves different segments of the nephron (the filtration system in your kidneys), in which adenosine plays a complex role. Adenosine receptors are blocked by caffeine and it reduces the vasoconstriction of renal afferent arterioles caused by adenosine.  

Decaf coffee on the other hand is not a diuretic as shown in this study, because the caffeine should have been completely removed from the beans. Yet, some decaf coffee may still contain certain levels of caffeine.

Decaf cappucino

How to Avoid Diuretic Effects When Drinking Decaf Coffee?

The diuretic effects when drinking decaf coffee are extremely low. Simply make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day if you aren't sure of the caffeine level in your decaf cup of coffee. This will help keep your body hydrated if you are very sensitive to caffeine.

Cup of decaf cup

Frequently Asked Questions

So Decaf Coffee, Diuretic?

No, decaffeinated coffee is not a diuretic. Decaf coffee should have 97% of its caffeine content removed therefore it should not be considered a diuretic. It appears that some decaf coffee offered in coffee shops may still have some caffeine content as it was shown in this study by the University of Florida. Therefore, it may still have caffeine traces and if you are very sensitive to caffeine and you may feel some effects. It all depends on the efficiency of the decaffeination process.

 Is Decaf Coffee a Diuretic?

Amélie Bigras

Amélie has a dual Bachelor of Biological Sciences and Literature. She wrote a Master's Thesis on the importance of blending scientific knowledge with the arts to create a healthier culture. She also has a Bachelor of Education and has been teaching Biology and Language Arts since 2016. She is happily addicted to coffee and constantly learning.