Gone are the days when you had to grind your coffee beans, scoop them into a filter, add water, and make an entire pot of coffee. Nowadays, making coffee is as simple as pressing a button. The first rollout of coffee pods was back in 1990 when John Sylvan and his co-founder Peter Dragone founded Keurig Green Mountain. The pods were quite popular off the bat, although Sylvan himself, was not too fond of them, ironically enough. In 1997, Sylvan sold his share of the company for $50,000.
Since then, sales have continued to skyrocket. Millions of pods are being sold and enjoyed every year. In 2017 alone, Canadians spent $95 million dollars of coffee pods! While these have become the future of coffee, there are some downsides. John Sylvan himself expressed how he regrets making them due to the environmental ramifications they impose.
The pods don’t just do damage to the environment, but they can do so to us as well. There are some potential health risks to consuming copious amounts of coffee pods. This doesn’t mean you must discard them and never consume them again, rather, simply understand what exactly they are and what they are doing to your body! These health experts will break down the cons of coffee pods so you can have a better understanding.
‘Coffee capsules contain higher levels of furan’
Javier Santos, Department of analytical chemistry at the University of Barcelona conducted a study on the levels of furan found in pods compared to the level of furan found in espresso, filter coffee, and instant coffee. What is furan exactly? Furan is a colourless volatile organic compound used in various industries that manufacture chemical substances. The risks to humans are still unknown, but furan is classified as potentially carcinogenic to humans.
Coffee pods were shown to have more than 5x the amount of furan compared to other forms of coffee! While it is important to note this, the risks to humans are still not 100% known.
‘They contain plastics, aluminum, and more’
Katie, aka “wellness momma” broke down all the ramifications involving coffee pods. With these pods, you are getting more than just coffee. First of all, they are made of plastic which of course, is not the safest thing to ingest. Katie explains that plastic chemicals such as BPA, BPF, BPS, and Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors and may contribute to hormone imbalance, weight gain and fertility problems.
The top of these coffee pods is typically made out of aluminum which poses some pretty serious health concerns. Aluminum exposure has been linked to Alzheimers, depression, autism, and even autoimmune disease.
There are other elements within these pods that can pose potential health risks. Katie wrote out a very detailed article discussing the problems with coffee pods.
‘How clean is your machine?’
While this can go for almost every appliance, we are keeping the limelight on coffee pod machines. In an article by Natural Living Ideas, they discussed a study which concluded that over 4 million colonies of harmful bacteria and mold were found in the machines water tanks, pod department, spout, and tray in more than half the machines tests. If that doesn’t make your skin crawl, I don’t know what does!
While it may all sound terrible, there is no need to throw away your pods and never drink one again. While there are negatives ramifications not found in regular or instant coffee, some believe they aren’t all that bad. Some of the effects are still unknown and those that are known do not cause any immediate danger. Like most things, there are pros and cons. It is good to stay informed so you can make the right decision next time you grab your morning cup of Joe.