Instant Coffee: Is It Good or Bad For You?
The instant coffee industry is a $100 billion business, and it’s growing.
In fact, the global market for instant coffee products has grown by more than 20 percent in just five years.
But what does that mean to you as an individual consumer? Are these products good for human health?
Or are coffee supplier another way of making money off our bodies?
Let’s take a look at some facts about this popular beverage.
Coffee Facts & Myths
Myth 1: Instant coffee preparations tastes better than brewed coffee.
Fact: The taste of both types of coffee can be very similar.
But, there are many factors involved with brewing that affect how well-tasting the final product will be.
Some people prefer their ground speciality coffee strong; others like theirs weak.
And then there are those who want something between.
So if you’re looking for a specific flavor profile when drinking your morning cup of ground coffee, try experimenting with different brew method until you find one that suits your palate best.
Myth 2: If I drink too much caffeine, my heart rate goes up.
Fact: Caffeine affects everyone differently.
While most adults don’t have any problems consuming moderate amounts, children and pregnant women should limit themselves to no more than 100 mg daily.
This amount may cause mild symptoms such as increased energy levels, headaches, nervousness, irritability, insomnia, stomach upset, and diarrhea.
Excessive consumption could lead to anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, tremors, irregular heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, muscle twitching, confusion, seizures, hallucinations, convulsions, coma, and death.
Myth 3: Drinking amazing coffee makes me alert.
Fact: Although caffeinated beverages do contain stimulants, they also contain other substances that help keep us awake.
These include taurine, L-theanine and B vitamins.
All three work together to increase wakefulness without causing jitters or stimulating adrenaline production.
Myth 4: Coffee causes cancer.
Fact: There isn’t enough evidence to support claims that coffee increases true risk of developing certain risk of cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, “There is not sufficient scientific information available on whether coffee intake reduces the risk of getting lung cancer.”
Myth 5: Kinds of coffee contain antioxidants.
Fact: Antioxidant properties aren’t found naturally in coffee beans but rather result from processing techniques used during roasting.
Many studies show that antioxidant activity decreases after roasting.
Also, because aspect of coffee beans are ground into powder before being added to drinks, only small portions of the bean actually make contact with coffee liquid.
As a result, it takes longer for the body to absorb them. In addition, since coffee is often consumed along with food, its absorption is further reduced.
Coffee’s health positive effects vary depending on how you prepare it and how much you consume.
Caffeine-related Health Effects
The effects of caffeine depend on how much people consume and when they drink it.
Consuming large amounts at once can cause headaches, nervousness, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, tremors, palpitations, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, increased urination, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, loss of appetite, sweating, hyperactivity, and seizures.
In addition, some studies suggest that regular consumption of caffeine increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease later in life.
It appears that this effect occurs only among those who already suffer from certain human health conditions.
People who regularly consume moderate levels of caffeine do not appear to face higher risks than others.
Although there isn’t enough evidence yet to prove whether caffeine causes cancer, several animal studies indicate that it does increase tumor growth rates.
Other research suggests that long term exposure to low doses of caffeine could lead to liver damage.
Accordingly, pregnant women should avoid using caffeine products altogether.
Children under 12 years old shouldn’t consume more than 25mg of caffeine daily.
Adults over 65 should limit their intake to 150mg per day.
If you’re concerned about your caffeine intake, try cutting back gradually by drinking less each week until you reach your desired level.
You may find that switching to decaf helps reduce cravings as well.
The Origins of Instant Coffee
Instant coffee was invented by an Italian chemist named Pellegrino Turinetti around 1884.
He discovered that adding acidified water to roasted coffee grounds produced a clear solution that would stay stable at room temperature indefinitely.
This instant coffee processing became known as decoction.
Turinetti patented his invention under the name “Turbina” which he registered in France and Italy.
The patent expired in 1899, however, so many companies began producing their own versions of instant coffee using this method.
Turinetti sold his company to Nestlé in 1902.
By then, several competitors had already begun selling similar products.
These included American inventor James Folger who created Kona Coffee Company in 1906;
Swiss entrepreneur Emil Breitenbach who founded Eka Chemie AG in 1907; and German businessman Hermann Schultze who started making Nescafé in 1908.
In 1909, Nestle introduced Nespresso coffee machines that allowed consumers to brew single servings of espresso directly in cups.
It wasn’t until 1914 when the first commercial coffees package of powdered coffee appeared on store shelves.
That product came from Kraft Foods Inc., which acquired the rights to sell Nespresso instant coffee brand coffees in Europe.
Kraft continued to expand its line of coffee sachets throughout the 20th century.
Today, more than half of all Americans drink some forms of coffee every day.
But most people still prefer drinking freshly made coffee over canned or bottled varieties.
How does instant coffee work?
When we think about brewing methods on coffee, we usually imagine pouring hot water through freshly ground coffee beans.
However, there are other ways to produce quality coffee beverages without grinding up whole quantities of coffee beans.
One such technique involve:
- Mixing dry ingredients together and heating them in order to create a thick paste called a slurry.
- Then, cold water is slowly poured onto the mixture while stirring continuously. This produces a smooth beverage that can be served immediately.
- Use pre-mixed powders instead of grinded beans. For example, one popular drinks type of instant coffee granules contains both caffeine and tannins extracted from green tea leaves.
Both these compounds help prevent stomach upset caused by consuming too much caffeine.
Other types contain antioxidants like vitamin C and beta carotene.
These substances protect against cancer and heart disease.
Some instant coffee brands also include sugar, milk solids, and flavorings.
All of these components come together during manufacturing to create a powdery substance that dissolves easily into boiling water.
Once dissolved, it creates a rich tasting cup of coffee with no need for any additional preparation time.
Types of Instant Coffee
Most brands of instant coffee come in two forms: soluble and non-soluble.
- Soluble coffee has been processed to dissolve quickly in hot liquids such as milk or boiling water.
- Non-soluble coffee remains intact even if boiled. It dissolves slowly in cold beverages like tea or ice cream.
Both types can be flavored with natural extracts or artificial flavors.
There are other kinds of instant coffee available including French press, pour overs, and drip brewers.
However, these methods require special equipment and take time to produce quality results.
They’re not suitable for busy households where convenience matters.
How Much Caffeine Content Of Coffee Is There?
A typical cups of coffee contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine.
This amount varies widely between different brands.
For example, one popular brand of instant coffee with water may contain 200 mg per serving while another might have just 30 mg.
Some manufacturers add sugar or sweeteners to boost flavor.
These ingredients also contribute calories and carbohydrates.
Instant coffee is generally considered safe for occasional use by healthy drink adults.
However, it’s important to read labels carefully before consuming any caffeinated beverage.
If you experience any symptoms after taking an excessive dose of caffeine, stop drinking immediately and contact your doctor.
What more do we not know about the instant coffee we consume?
We don’t yet fully understand how this product affects our bodies.
It seems likely that majority of people will react differently than others when they drink it.
In addition, many factors influence what happens inside us once we swallow something.
The way food moves down our digestive tract, whether we chew thoroughly enough, and how long we hold each bite all affect absorption rates.
Even the temperature at which we prepare foods can alter their chemical composition.
So there’s still plenty left to learn about the effects of instant coffee habit on human health.
But based on current research, it appears that most people who regularly consume this product won’t suffer negative consequences.
That said, it’s always best to check with your physician first before adding anything new to your diet.
How much instant coffee is safe?
Based on currently available evidence, experts recommend limiting daily consumption to less than 400mg of caffeine.
Consuming too much caffeine can cause headaches, nervousness, insomnia, irritability, tremors, palpitations, anxiety, and rapid heartbeat.
Instant coffee drinker should avoid large doses over short periods of time.
Long term exposure to high levels of caffeine could lead to heart disease, diabetes, liver damage, kidney failure, and birth defects.
Is ground coffee better than instant?
Ground coffee has a higher concentration of antioxidants compared to instant coffee.
Antioxidants help protect against free radicals, molecules that can harm cells and DNA.
Free radical activity increases as we age.
This process accelerates aging and contributes to chronic diseases such as risk of cancer and cardiovascular problems.
Studies show that antioxidant-rich foods reduce oxidative stress and slow cellular aging.
One study found that older women who consumed three cups of green tea every day had lower blood pressure and improved insulin sensitivity.
Conclusion: Coffee contains several compounds that are beneficial to humans.
They include chlorogenic acid, trigonelline, quinic acids, catechins, and other polyphenols.
All these substances work together in different ways to improve overall well being.