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Ask Tufts Experts June 2016 Issue

Q. Can you tell me if instant coffee confers the same health benefits as brewed coffee?

A. Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, senior scientist in Tufts' HNRCA Antioxidants Research Laboratory, answers: "Instant coffee, made by removing the water from liquid coffee, contains less caffeine, fewer antioxidant chlorogenic acids, and smaller amounts of N-methylpyridinium, a putative anti-cancer compound, than found in regular coffee. Instant coffee contains more acrylamide, a potentially harmful product generated when some foods are cooked at high temperatures, than regular coffee but the amounts in both beverages are very low and considered safe. While regular coffee is not a good source of magnesium or potassium, instant coffee contains even less of these minerals. Nonetheless, studies of large populations appear to suggest comparable benefits from both instant and regular coffee, e.g., in reducing the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So you can base your decision to drink instant or regular coffee based on aroma, taste, cost and/or convenience rather than the modest health benefits associated with coffee drinking."

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