Should you stop drinking Instant Coffee ?
March 24, 2015 Admin 1
Instant coffee was first created by Satori Kato a Japanese chemist, working in Chicago, Illinois in the late 19th century. Owing to the convenience of an instantized form, Kato’s new coffee soon became popular worldwide. It was not until the 1980’s though, that it was thought that instant coffee consumption could pose various risks to health.
The risks stem from essentially, two fat soluble compounds known as ‘diterpenes’ , namely, cafestol and kahweol. The exact amount of these diterpenes varies on the type of bean used to make the coffee, with one of the most common beans, Arabica, containing considerable amounts of both. Other beans like Robusta have virtually no kahweol but some cafestol present.
Cafestol can be present in Arabica beans in concentrations as high at 0.65% by weight. Later studies conducted in the late 90’s suggested that regular consumption of instant (non filtered) coffee could increase serum cholesterol levels by up to 10%. Whilst kahweol also increases serum cholesterol levels, it is harder to determine how much, as unfortunately, it is more difficult to measure.
Instant coffee is produced by freeze or spray drying and processed in a way that allows it to be rehydrated in contact with boiling water. The main benefit of instant coffee is, as the name suggests is convenience, even the most efficient filter coffee setup is infinitely more time consuming that preparing instant coffee. Conversely, filter, or drip coffee’s basic method of preparation requires pouring boiling water onto ground beans held in a paper coffee filter. In some cases a metal filter can be used but they are generally far less efficient than a modern paper filter.
The method of paper filtration was invented at the beginning of the 20th century in Germany. Once the water has been poured over the coffee in the filter, it is collected in a pot or sometimes the cup itself. The good new s is, the use of the filter system results in greatly reduced components of the coffee beans such as oils, which are left in the filter (which is often disposable) ending up in the liquid coffee. Within the material collected in the filter remains the majority of the diterpenes. Although diterpenes have been shown to reduce the toxic effects of several compounds such as 7,12 dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (a potent immunosuppressor), certain aflatoxins and other carcinogens, it is their ability to increase LDL levels in an undesirable manner that favours switching to filter or drip coffee as an alternative to drinking instant.
An estimated 70% of all coffee drunk in the United States is made by the filter or drip method, but in the United Kingdom and some other European Countries, the consumption of instant coffee is more popular, mainly through convenience. If you already consume filter coffee and make time for the slightly longer preparation times then you may be glad to learn of the health benefits of consuming it as opposed to instant coffees. If you are currently drinking instant coffee and are concerned by some of the points raised in this article, then switching to filter coffee may be as simple as acquiring the correct equipment and allowing yourself a few more minutes to prepare it.
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