Does Decaf Coffee Give You Energy? Exploring the Impact of Decaffeinated Coffee on Vitality


Coffee, a beloved beverage enjoyed worldwide, has long been associated with providing a boost of energy and alertness, primarily attributed to its caffeine content. However, with the increasing popularity of decaffeinated coffee, questions arise about whether decaf can offer the same energising effects. This article delves into the effects of decaffeinated coffee consumption on energy levels, drawing insights from a systematic review and meta-analysis of data from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) examining the impact of both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee on metabolic syndrome parameters. Read the full study here

Background and Objectives

Metabolic syndrome (MeTS) presents a constellation of metabolic abnormalities, including abdominal obesity, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, and insulin resistance. Coffee, enriched with bioactive compounds like chlorogenic acid (CGA) and caffeine, has garnered attention for its potential health benefits, including mitigating the risk of metabolic disorders. While caffeinated coffee’s effects on energy levels are well-documented, the influence of decaffeinated coffee remains less explored.

Key Findings

The systematic review and meta-analysis revealed intriguing insights into the effects of decaffeinated coffee consumption on metabolic syndrome parameters. While green coffee extract (GCE) supplementation exhibited significant improvements in various MeTS outcomes, decaffeinated coffee notably reduced fasting blood glucose levels. These findings underscore the potential health benefits of decaffeinated coffee in managing metabolic health, but do they translate into enhanced energy levels?

Exploring the Energy Boost from Decaf

While the review primarily focused on metabolic parameters, it indirectly sheds light on the energising effects of decaf coffee. Previous studies have demonstrated that caffeine, the primary stimulant in coffee, is responsible for increasing energy expenditure and promoting alertness. However, despite the absence of caffeine, decaffeinated coffee has been shown to offer similar benefits in certain metabolic aspects, suggesting that other compounds in coffee may contribute to its physiological effects.

Implications and Future Directions

The findings from this review prompt further exploration into the mechanisms underlying the potential energy-boosting effects of decaffeinated coffee. Understanding how decaf influences energy levels can provide valuable insights for individuals seeking alternatives to caffeinated beverages, particularly those sensitive to caffeine or looking to limit their intake. Future research should delve deeper into the specific bioactive compounds in decaf coffee responsible for its physiological effects and elucidate their mechanisms of action.


The meta-analysis included fourteen high-quality RCTs, with observation periods ranging from 60 minutes to 24 weeks. The findings suggested that supplementation with GCE containing 180 to 376 mg of CGA effectively reduced MeTS parameters over extended periods. Similarly, decaffeinated coffee containing 510.6 mg of CGA showed promising reductions in MeTS parameters. However, the effects varied based on dosage, and further studies with well-planned designs are necessary to confirm these outcomes, accounting for dietary intake, physical activity, and other health factors.

In conclusion, while the debate over whether decaf coffee provides an energy boost may continue, its potential health benefits, particularly in managing metabolic syndrome parameters, make it a noteworthy addition to one’s daily routine. Whether for its purported physiological effects or simply for its comforting aroma and taste, decaf coffee holds promise as a beverage that not only delights the senses but also supports overall well-being.

Going Decaf and Fighting the 3pm Slump

One of the over-touted benefits of caffeine is as a pick-me-up – a stimulant that sharpens the mind and gets stuff done. While caffeine consumption revolves around these ‘accepted facts’, caffeine’s superpowers in the war on snoozing turns out to be over-played at best and completely fictitious at worst

Going decaf and fighting the 3pm slump

So, now you’ve gone decaf, how do you overcome the mid-afternoon mountain of doom that is the 3pm slump? The answer is all in the mind or, rather, the brain.

The brain is a brat. Your brain, my brain, your bosses’ brains are all self-obsessed, entitled, lazy bags of porridge comfortable with the high-life and quick fixes. You wouldn’t vote for your brain in a ballot if the only alternative was a brown paper sack of self-aware mashed potatoes. 

The brain’s biggest character defect is that it knows its own mind and is very uncomfortable changing it. All those gallons of caffeine it’s been swimming in your whole life, along with the sugar, the processed carbs and all the other quick hits, are what it’s used to. And it wants more. Your craving brain demands you run it a warm bath of cosy slop to hang around in every day. 

But you can challenge it. The brat can be changed. You already did by going decaf. A day or so of brain ache and things soon got better. Now it’s halfway through the afternoon and you’re feeling a bit limp, your brain wants you to run the bath as usual. Just once, for old time’s sake.

How to Avoid the Mid-Afternoon Slump Without Caffeine

As obstinate and lazy as a brain is, it’s also easy to out-wit. The best way out of the 3pm slump is a distraction, a change of pace, a new focus. Making your brain work in a different way means it will start making its own good time chemistry without all those artificial quick fixes. 

  • Get out of the office for a breath of fresh air, a bit of exercise. Exercise improves blood flow, helps brain chemistry and is more effective than caffeine at improving your alertness and focus.
  • Take a break. Sounds straightforward enough, but we don’t mean a sandwich at your desk, take a proper break away from your work environment, take in a view
  • Fire up your music player with high energy sounds or something you can completely shift your focus onto. We know at least one CEO who goes even further and takes his cello into his office. That’s probably not suitable for a cubicle worker but if you’re remote working, something similar might be the ticket to get away from the grind.
  • Give in. Surrendering to a crafty nap might be the best thing. We are programmed for the mid-afternoon siesta,and you will definitely feel better and the longer you sleep, the longer it will last. The so-called ‘power nap’ of 10-15 minutes can recharge you for a few hours, while getting in 90 minutes of sleep will allow your brain to experience all phases of light, REM and deep sleep. Deep sleep is where our brains consolidate memory, experience and learning. No wonder that a NASA study found a 26-minute nap improved productivity by over 30%.

Prevention is Better than the Cure

Bad sleep habits like late nights, evening snacking, and staring at screens into the evening can disrupt a night’s rest and can make us tired before we even get into work. Look after the nights and the days will look after themselves.

One last way to avoid hitting the caffeine in the afternoon is to play to your body and brain’s strengths and structure your day accordingly. We are much more mentally alert in the morning and much better at taking decisions, leaving the afternoon to practical matters and dexterity.