Dark Roast Doesn’t Have More Caffeine Than Light Roast, and 5 Other Coffee Myths Debunked

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Next to water and soft drinks, coffee is the third-most-popular beverage in the world. It’s got loads of health benefits—from giving your brain an energy boost to being packed with antioxidants. "Believe it or not, in a typical Western diet, most people are getting more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined," Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, MS, RD, previously told Well+Good.

Yet, there are some common myths about coffee that could stand to be debunked. And no, we’re not talking about whether or not it goes bad (it sure does) or if sipping on a cup of joe that’s been sitting out for a few hours will make you sick. (FYI, it depends on how you drink it.) Below, Niket Sonpal, MD, FACP, DABIM, a gastroenterologist based in New York City, clears up some misconceptions about coffee that may surprise you. They did us!

Experts In This Article

6 coffee myths to stop believing

Myth 1: Light roast has less caffeine than dark roast

“Most studies say the caffeine is about the same, as long as coffee is measured out by weight rather than the volume,” Dr. Sonpal says. This is important because lighter roast coffee beans tend to be smaller, so it takes more of them to make the same volume of coffee as a dark roast and, therefore the same volume of light roast would have more caffeine than dark—even if the beans themselves do not.

Myth 2: Coffee-flavored foods don’t affect you like coffee does

“If it is just a coffee flavoring, then there is no caffeine, but if it's real coffee, then it can pack a punch, and those late night desserts can keep you awake,” says Dr. Sonpal. So, double check the ingredient list of whatever you’re eating to determine if it contains actual coffee or just the taste of it.

Myth 3: Espresso is much stronger than drip coffee

“One shot of espresso has 63 mg of caffeine, and by contrast, regular coffee has 12 to 16 mg of caffeine in every ounce, on average, so that means that ounce for ounce, espresso has more caffeine,” says Dr. Sonpal.

In general though, a cup of brewed coffee contains more caffeine since a single shot of espresso is only an ounce, and a cup of joe is typically somewhere between 6–16 oz.

Myth 4: Coffee makes you dehydrated

“This is definitely a myth, as coffee has a mild diuretic effect, but it’s negligible and offset by the volume of water in the coffee,” says Dr. Sonpal. Clinical trials conducted on habitual coffee drinkers support this, too, having found that even when they increased their coffee consumption, subjects saw no significant change to hydration levels.

Myth 5: Coffee in the evening will keep you awake at night

To be fair, this isn’t really a myth, since it depends on the individual, but it’s definitely not a universal truth, either. “It depends on a person's tolerance to caffeine,” says Dr. Sonpal. So, figure out a time frame that’s suitable for you, instead of listening to generic advice.

Myth 6: Green coffee beans don’t have caffeine

Unroasted (aka green) coffee beans contain approximately the same amount of caffeine as their roasted counterparts—12 to 16 mg per ounce. But its taste is much milder (more like tea really) since the roasting process is what gives black coffee beans their rich and bold flavors.

Find out even more about coffee’s biggest benefits—straight from a dietitian—by watching the video below:

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