Is Instant Coffee Bad For You?
When brewing a cup of joe isn’t a possibility, instant coffee’s your next best option. Unfortunately, there have been rumors that instant java is bad for your health. Therefore, consumers believe they’re trading in good health for convenient and easy preparation.
Is this true? Keep reading to learn the answer to the question, “Is instant coffee bad for you?”.
What is Instant Coffee?
Instant coffee is a very concentrated version of regular brewed coffee made by brewing regular grounds. Once the brewing is done, the water is removed, leaving behind a dry powder. This is the same powder you stir into your mug of hot water. And, voila! You have some immediate java.
How Is It Made?
There are two main ways manufacturers make instant java:
- Spray Drying is a process in which coffee extract is sprayed into hot air. The droplets are quickly dried into a fine powder.
- Freeze Drying is a process that involves freezing the coffee concentrate and then cutting it into small fragments that are dried at a low temperature.
You’ll find instant java sold as granules – think Folgers Instant Coffee. Some are also marketed as coffee sticks like Nestle 3-in-1. And then, some are packaged for single servings and may contain added additives like sugar or palm oil.
Is Instant Java Bad For You?
There is a chemical known as acrylamide that forms when coffee beans are roasted. This compound is also found in smoke, personal care items, household products, among other foods. Acrylamide has potentially harmful effects when consumed in large quantities. And instant coffee could contain twice as much acrylamide as fresh-roasted brews.
A 2013 study showed higher levels of acrylamide in instant java when compared to roasted coffee. Roasted java actually had half as much acrylamide as instant. Too much of this chemical can accumulate in your body and lead to nerve damage or dysfunction.
Moreover, the American Cancer Society shares that overexposure to this chemical is linked to an increased risk of cancer. You’re probably thinking instant java’s super unhealthy for you with this information in mind (not the case at all!).
The amount of acrylamide that people get from the foods they consume is not enough to pose serious health effects. In fact, fried potato products have a high source of acrylamide. Potato products are consumed on a regular basis, just like coffee.
The fact of the matter is people aren’t eating enough for it to become a concern. So, if you think drinking instant coffee is negatively impacting your health, you can have peace of mind it’s not.
Instant java offers a fast and easy way to enjoy good java. It also has a long shelf life making it great for traveling, camping, or those who are always on the go. While we prefer the taste of java made with freshly ground coffee, instant coffee does come in handy in a pinch.
When it comes to your health, the benefits are also plenty. Just like regular brewed coffee, instant contains antioxidants. You also receive less caffeine from drinking it than you would from drinking regular brewed coffee. An average cup has 60-85 mg of caffeine, while brewed coffee offers 75-165 mg.
Instant java is great for individuals who don’t enjoy the side effects of too much caffeine, like anxiety or feeling jitters. Now, if caffeine doesn’t affect you at all, it could be due to a few things like a high tolerance or a medical condition.
What may be a pro for some is a con for others. For instance, instant coffee has less caffeine than regular brews. Less caffeine is better for your health; however, some people end up drinking more cups which leads to more caffeine in the end. Also, some coffee drinkers enjoy java because of the perks – something regular brewed coffee offers more of.
And of course, another disadvantage of instant java is the chemical composition. Acrylamide can be harmful when consumed in large quantities, and this chemical is released when coffee beans are roasted. This means your cup of joe will automatically have some traces of acrylamide (but not enough to impact your health in a negative way).
Should You Drink Instant Coffee?
If you are a huge fan of instant, you don’t need to give it up because it’s harming your health. You don’t get enough acrylamide from instant java to make it unhealthy for your body (sigh of relief). Many foods contain this harmful chemical, but you’d have to consume an enormous amount for it to pose serious health concerns.
With this information in mind, you can enjoy a hot cup of instantly brewed joe anytime of the day!