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3 Dark Roast Coffee Health Benefits: Based on Science

dark roast coffee on a cup

Regardless of the roast, coffee counts as an invigorating health drink that stimulates the body into a wakeful, productive state. This popular beverage lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and contains antioxidants due to its acidic nature. All coffee roasts have particular strengths and weaknesses, but studies have shown that dark roast takes the cake when it comes to digestion and weight loss.

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Top 3 Health Benefits of Dark Roast Coffee:

1. Dark Roast Coffee May Help You Lose Weight

Coffee has more N-methylpyridinium ions, but is lower in chlorogenic acids than light roast coffee—and the inverse is also true. These ions stimulate glucose uptake, which may help you lose weight as well as weigh into the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Of course, since light roast coffee contains higher amounts of chlorogenic acid, which reduces glucose levels, both coffee roasts help prevent type 2 diabetes. Dark roast just might give you an added bonus if you’re also looking to lose weight.

Steaming traditional oriental Chinese kopitiam style dark coffee
Image Credit: szefei, Shutterstock

2. Dark Roast is Better for your Stomach

Coffee is also known to stimulate your digestive system. While this can be a good thing (especially if you’re constipated), coffee may have some unfriendly effects on a sensitive GI tract. Dark roast coffee is a better choice for individuals with chronically upset stomachs because it doesn’t stimulate the gastric acids in your stomach as much as lighter roasts.


3. Lower Risk of Cancer

While it may be a fact universally acknowledged that coffee contains cancer-fighting properties, did you know dark roast may contain less of a natural carcinogen compared to lighter roasts? Acrylamide is an acid that’s naturally present when coffee (or any starchy food) has been roasted at a high temperature, but it’s been linked to cancer.

The amount depends on the temperature, the beans, and how long they’re roasted, but dark coffee contains less than its lighter counterparts. This may seem counterintuitive since dark roast is subjected to a higher cooking temperature for longer. However, research suggests that acrylamide might “cook off” after a time. When the beans are first exposed to the high temperatures, the acrylamide levels peak, and then gradually decline.

dark roasted coffee beans
Image Credit: NickyPe, Pixabay

Downsides to Dark Roast

You may lose more weight, have a happier digestive system, and reduce your intake of carcinogenic acrylamide if you drink dark roast, but you also aren’t taking in as many antioxidants as you would with a lighter roast. The lower amount of chlorogenic acid is responsible for this change. However, the greater reduction of acrylamide outweighs the trivial loss of chlorogenic acid.

How Much Is Too Much?

The FDA recommends that the average adult limits their caffeine intake to 400 mg per day or less. This is about 4-6 cups of coffee brewed at home, but it really depends on the beans you use. You might be pleased to note dark roast coffee usually contains slightly less caffeine than a lighter cup. One study found 60 mg in a sample of light roast, but only 51 mg for dark. However, the exact amount depends on the beans in question.

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Conclusion

While any cup may do on a Monday morning—or every morning if you’re an avid coffee drinker like us—dark roast will be especially helpful to you if you’re trying to lose weight or if your gut needs a break from excessive stomach acid. Unfortunately, dark roast coffee doesn’t contain as much chlorogenic acid, a compound that’s responsible for the antioxidants. However, this loss is worth it because dark roast also has a reduced amount of acrylamide, a cancer-causing agent that’s more concentrated in light roast brews.


Featured Image Credit: Ceyda Çiftci, Unsplash

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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