Are Coffee Pods Healthy?

In this article, we explore are coffee pods healthy?

Are coffee pods healthy. A glass of coffee and a coffee pod beside it. Coffee beans in a sack are scattered on the table.
Coffee pods are famous for their convenient use

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, and coffee pods are extremely popular because of their convenience and novelty. However, there are still some questions on whether it is good or bad for one's health.  

Coffee pods have similar health benefits to brewed coffee. But there are a few potential health concerns with these pods that are not present with other coffees. Compared to espresso or instant coffee, coffee pods contain five times the amount of toxic chemicals that consuming copious amounts will harm the human body. 

Although it poses some health risks, it doesn't mean that you must discard them but rather understand what they can do to your body. 

What Is Inside The Coffee Pods?

A few brands use instant coffee as an ingredient in their pods since this will result in bad-tasting coffee. So, most of these coffee pods contain ground coffee because of its efficiency in producing the best possible tasting cup of joe. 

Nespresso, for example, sources the highest-quality beans and ensuring that they are pulped, fermented, washed, and dried before blending, roasting, and grinding these premium coffees directly into capsules ready for brewing. 

Coffee pods also contain a toxic chemical called Furan, which is harmful to the liver. Furan is an aroma that materializes during roasting at high temperatures and is a possible carcinogen. 

Coffee pods contain much more Furan compared to coffee powder from traditional coffeemakers. According to Javier Santos, Department of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Barcelona, the levels of Furan are different from preparing a coffee in a traditional drip coffee maker. The higher level of Furan is because these capsules are hermetically sealed, preventing this chemical from being released. 

Researchers say that the amount of Furan in each coffee pod falls within the safety net of people's health, and the potential health risk only happens if consumed excessively. 

What Are The Coffee Pods Made Of?

Four white coffee pods with the contents of one pod exposed.
Soft copy pods are used to make drip coffee

Coffee pods come in two types: soft and hard. Soft styles are used to make drip coffee with a non-pressurized machine, excluding the Keurigs. The hard kinds are used to make espresso in pump machines. 

Coffee pods are made from a combination of plastics and aluminum, which takes 150 to 500 years to break down in landfills and causes environmental harm. Aside from that, the type of plastic these coffee pods are made of may contain potentially harmful chemicals that can trickle to your beverage that you're going to ingest. 

Plastics are impossible to avoid, and there is research on various health concerns regarding plastic and heat. Plastic chemicals such as BPA, BPF, and BPS have known disruptors of the endocrine, contributing to hormonal imbalance, fertility, and weight gain. So imagine the number of chemicals that can transmit when using coffee pods. 

Aside from plastics, aluminum has health concerns of its own. Exposure to aluminum is harmful to the brain and can cause depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease, or Alzheimer's disease. 

Yes, coffee pods are convenient and still safe, but shortcuts always come with shortcomings, so it's advisable to opt for pods made out of compostable materials or paper. 

How Many Calories Are In Coffee Pods?

Nespresso is one of the most popular coffee pods and has become a household name. This brand's pods are a choice for most for convenience and availability. So, it's good to know exactly how many calories coffee drinkers are getting with each cup of Nespresso. 

For every Nespresso espresso shot, you'll get 0.6 kcal and 1kcal for every Nespresso lungo pour. But adding milk to your coffee will increase the total amount of calories you'll get, as 100ml of whole fat milk is equivalent to 65kcal or 37kcal for skimmed milk. Throwing in sugar to your coffee will add a few more calories bumping it up to over a hundred. 

However, the Dolce Gusto brand contains higher calories since most of their pods contain multiple ingredients to create different kinds of coffee. Their americano pod includes two calories, but their cappuccino has 80. 

The number of calories varies considerably based on how you take your coffee – Café Au Lait, Cappuccino, or White Coffee. Nespresso itself is healthy as it contains almost zero calories, but additives can lead to more calories and a very unhealthy drink. 

Alternative To Coffee Pods 

A mug of cold brewed coffee with a spoon beside it. Both are placed on a wooden table with coffee beans scattered.
Brewed coffee as a healthier alternative

If you're not thinking of convenience, the healthier alternative is brewed coffee. However, brewed coffee requires time, effort, and patience for waiting on your pot to brew. Plus, most people don't have enough time in their day as it is. 

Coffee pods are an innovative and easy-to-use alternative to brewed coffee. But coffee enthusiasts who are also concerned about the environment often have to make a tough decision when it's time for their morning cup of joe. If you still want to stick to your coffee machines, there are eco-friendly alternatives to these pods.

Reusable Pods

Stainless steel or BPA-free plastic coffee pods are a great way to go green because they reduce the amount of waste in landfills. With reusable pods, you can spend less money and be environmentally friendly. With eco-friendly machines available as well, there's no excuse not to drink your favorite flavor without harming the environment too much. 

Compostable Pods

Compostable pods such as those made from paper, compostable inks, and other biodegradable materials are an excellent option for coffee enthusiasts who want to reduce their environmental impact. Paper is not only easier on the environment, but it also eliminates guilt because you can toss them right into your compost bin or pile them when they're done with no clean-up required. 

Recyclable Pods

Reusing and composting coffee pods is the greenest choice but recycling them is still better than tossing the pod into a landfill. Although some reusable cups can't be recycled due to how they're made, these types of plastic are more environmentally friendly because it's 100% recyclable for centuries without ever running out or causing any kind of pollution.

The Downside Of Coffee Pods

A cup of hot coffee placed on a  glass saucer.
Coffee pods taste different from a traditionally brewed coffee

Coffee pods are a convenient way to make your coffee. However, the convenience of pre-ground beans has disadvantages compared to when you were grinding them yourself on the spot.

Pods are more convenient but lack the same flavor and authenticity as a hand-crafted espresso. Since these coffee pods have a longer shelf life, there are a number of ways this could affect the taste.

Although many people think that coffee pods can replicate the flavor of a traditionally brewed coffee, some, especially coffee connoisseurs, believed that no coffee pod could beat the real thing. 

Another disadvantage is most coffee machines for single-serve pod systems are specially designed to work with a specific kind and brand of coffee. This is challenging on two fronts; first, it forces the owners to buy only from one company. Second, if they want another type or flavor of coffee, then they will have no choice but to make that purchase. 

The Final Word On Are Coffee Pods Healthy

Coffee pods may be the best choice for those who enjoy coffee but do not have time to brew a pot or make an espresso. They are also perfect for on-the-go office workers and travelers, as well as anyone who is looking to simplify their morning routine. 

But the effects it has on people can be plain to see for those who are willing to take a look. The question then becomes: if there are adverse side effects to drinking coffee in pods, is it worth taking just one sip?

The health benefits of coffee pods are more than the adverse effects. There is not one single food product that doesn't have any chemical compounds within it, so you should moderate your consumption of all products, including these capsules.

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