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The Random Ingredients Found in Coffee Will Absolutely Shock You
You might think you take your coffee with just a little milk, but if it's made with packaged ground coffee instead of freshly ground coffee beans, it might contain some extra ingredients — like wheat, soybeans, brown sugar, rye, barley, corn, rice, black beans, acai seeds, cocoa seeds, triticale, and plant husks and sticks, according to a new report being presented by Brazilian researchers at the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) this week.
While the study authors say that small amounts of these ingredients are harmless for most people, you might not want to expose yourself to triggers you're allergic or sensitive to. And while more research is needed, study author Suzana Nixdorf, Ph.D., a researcher at the State University of Londrina in Brazil, says it is possible that coffee grinds could, at least in theory, contain enough of these fillers to trigger a reaction.
Also worth noting: More fillers mean less actual coffee per scoop, which translates to less caffeine (Nooooo!) and potentially, more calories in every cup, she says.
When you buy whole coffee beans, though, it's easier to detect extraneous ingredients (accidentally added in the packaging process or purposefully added to increase the product's weight) than it is when you buy coffee grounds or, worse, instant coffee. (The consistency of instant coffee makes it tough to detect extraneous ingredients, so manufacturers are more likely to get away with adding hidden fillers, at least in Brazil, Nixdorf says.) The United States tends to import raw, green coffee beans and is generally more diligent than other countries in , Nixdorf says, so rest assured that coffee sold in this country should be less contaminated than the stuff sold elsewhere.
Nixdorf's team has discovered a new test that can detect extra ingredients in coffee grinds before they end up in the market and inside your mug, but until that goes mainstream (no word yet on when that might happen), you might want to play it safe when you buy imported coffee by sticking with whole beans to grind at home or brewed coffee that's made from beans that are ground onsite. And if you're inclined to buy coffee outside the U.S., don't go for the cheapest coffee brands, which are less likely to contain 100 percent coffee, Nixdorf says.
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