Written by Isabella Boston
Instant coffee is a beloved drink enjoyed in many parts of the world and accounts for approximately 25% of all retail brewed coffee around -the -globe.
Some people prefer instant coffee because it is cheaper, faster, and more convenient than regular coffee. However, regular coffee is linked to many health benefits[i], but what about instant coffee?
In this post, I will discuss the benefits and the potential dangers of drinking instant coffee.
What is instant coffee?
Instant coffee is a beverage derived from dried coffee extract. Much like regular coffee, the extract is produced by brewing ground coffee beans, but it is more concentrated.
After brewing the coffee, the water is removed from the extract to make a dry powder or granules that can be dissolved once mixed with water.
Steps for making instant coffee
1. Coffee beans are roasted.
2. Roasted beans are grounded.
3. Ground roasted beans are then mixed with water, much like a French Press.
4. Water is removed and what is left is coffee extract.
5. Extract must be spray-dried or freeze-dried to create instant coffee.
Spray-drying method: Coffee extract is sprayed into hot air creating a fine powder ready for mixing in water.
Freeze-drying method: Coffee extract is frozen and cut into small pieces. The pieces are then dried at a low temperature under a vacuum.
Both spray-drying and freeze-drying methods preserve the aroma, quality, and flavor of the coffee.
Health benefits of instant coffee
Like regular coffee, instant coffee has many health benefits. It also has the same shelf life and retains the same antioxidants[ii] as regular coffee. One study concluded instant coffee may contain even higher amounts of antioxidants than other brews due to its method of processing.
In addition, a standard cup of instant coffee has only seven calories and small amounts of magnesium, potassium, and niacin (vitamin B3).
Additional health benefits of instant coffee
· Enhanced brain function[iii] ~ Due to its caffeine content, instant coffee can improve brain function.
· Reduced risk of disease[iv] ~ Coffee has been linked to a reduced risk of neurodegenerative diseases , such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
· Increased metabolism[v] ~ The caffeine in coffee may increase your metabolism and help you to burn more fat.
· Decreased risk of diabetes[vi] ~ Coffee may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
· Improved liver function ~ Coffee and caffeine may prevent the risk of liver diseases, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.
· Improves longevity[ix] ~ Consuming coffee may help you to live longer.
As you can see, instant coffee has many health benefits. But is it bad for you?
Potential risks of instant coffee
Even though instant coffee has many health benefits, some coffee lovers still have concerns about potential dangers of some brews:
· Harmful chemicals ~ Instant coffee has higher amounts of a harmful chemical called acrylamide,[x] a known carcinogen that forms during the roasting process. Please keep in mind that all coffee contains this chemical. It’s just higher in instant coffee.
· Has lower caffeine content than regular coffee ~ Because instant coffee has lower amounts of caffeine[xi], only 30 - 90 mg per serving vs 70 – 140 per serving with regular coffee, you lose some of the positive health benefits.
· Harmful plastics[xii] ~ The coffee pods used with coffee machines have been lined to BPA exposure, a chemical used to make certain plastics and that line certain food containers to improve shelf life. (A way to limit your exposure is to simply boil water on stove instead of using coffee pods and your coffee maker.)
It’s important to note that the same amount of acrylamide contained in instant coffee is also found in other foods exposed to high heat, such as potato chips, fried foods, breakfast cereals, and even overcooked foods known as the Maillard reaction[xiii]. Studies have also concluded that humans are more likely to be exposed to higher amounts of acrylamide in the everyday workplace than from the levels found in instant coffee.
Summary and take-away
Instant coffee is fast, easy, and convenient. It has a long shelf life and costs less than regular coffee. Instant coffee has less caffeine and more acrylamide than regular coffee but contains most of the same nutrients and antioxidants.
Overall, instant coffee is a healthy beverage with the same health benefits as other types of coffee.
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Isabella Boston is a multi-talented writer and the Founder of Bella’s Attic Studio. She has several years of experience in content writing, copywriting, and social media strategies. She is the author of the romantic and rare memoir, Passion of Flames. Isabella is currently working to spread awareness on the dangers and inhumanity of human sex trafficking. She has special interests in fashion and beauty, health and wellness, and natural healing as it pertains the body, mind and soul. When Isabella is not writing, she enjoys playing the violin, learning new languages (currently Italian), and reading books of substance.
[i] Poole, R., Kennedy, O. J., Roderick, P., Fallowfield, J. A., Hayes, P. C., & Parkes, J. (2017, November 22). Coffee Consumption and Health: Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. BMJ (Clinical research ed.). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5696634/ [ii] Yashin, A., Yashin, Y., Wang, J. Y., & Nemzer, B. (2013, October 15). Antioxidant and antiradical activity of coffee. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland). Retrieved November 29, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665516/ [iii] The impact of caffeine on mood, cognitive ... - wiley online library. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1467-3010.2007.00665.x [iv] Bracco D;Ferrarra JM;Arnaud MJ;Jéquier E;Schutz Y; (n.d.). Effects of caffeine on energy metabolism, heart rate, and methylxanthine metabolism in lean and obese women. The American journal of physiology. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7485480/ [v] Bracco D;Ferrarra JM;Arnaud MJ;Jéquier E;Schutz Y; (n.d.). Effects of caffeine on energy metabolism, heart rate, and methylxanthine metabolism in lean and obese women. The American journal of physiology. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7485480/ [vi] Huxley R;Lee CM;Barzi F;Timmermeister L;Czernichow S;Perkovic V;Grobbee DE;Batty D;Woodward M; (n.d.). Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Archives of internal medicine. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20008687/ [vii] Huxley R;Lee CM;Barzi F;Timmermeister L;Czernichow S;Perkovic V;Grobbee DE;Batty D;Woodward M; (n.d.). Coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and tea consumption in relation to incident type 2 diabetes mellitus: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Archives of internal medicine. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20008687/ [viii] Kawachi I;Willett WC;Colditz GA;Stampfer MJ;Speizer FE; (n.d.). A prospective study of coffee drinking and suicide in women. Archives of internal medicine. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8604958/ [ix] Crippa A;Discacciati A;Larsson SC;Wolk A;Orsini N; (n.d.). Coffee consumption and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: A dose-response meta-analysis. American journal of epidemiology. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25156996/ [x] I; M. H. G. (n.d.). Studies of acrylamide level in coffee and coffee substitutes: Influence of raw material and manufacturing conditions. Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24325083/ [xi] Ludwig IA;Mena P;Calani L;Cid C;Del Rio D;Lean ME;Crozier A; (n.d.). Variations in caffeine and chlorogenic acid contents of coffees: What are we drinking? Food & function. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25014672/ [xii] Hananeh WM;Al Rukibat R;Jaradat S;Borhan Al-Zghoul M; (n.d.). Exposure assessment of bisphenol A by drinking coffee from Plastic Cups. Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33882786/ [xiii] AT; M. D. S. W. B. L. D. (n.d.). Acrylamide is formed in the Maillard reaction. Nature. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12368844/ [xiv] Golden Ratio Coffee. (n.d.). Is instant coffee bad for you? benefits + potential dangers. Golden Ratio Coffee. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://drinkgoldenratio.com/a/blog/instant-coffee-bad-for-you [xv] Bjarnadottir, A. (2019, October 8). Instant coffee: Good or bad? Healthline. Retrieved November 30, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/instant-coffee-good-or-bad