Q I’ve heard that decaf coffee is no better than regular. What’s your view?
A I’m not a great fan of decaf coffee. While there’s no doubt about the harmful and energy-depleting effects of regular caffeine use, decaf still contains two of the three stimulants in regular coffee theobromine and theophyiline (Theobromine is the addictive stuff in chocolate). Both regular and decaf coffee also contain chlorogenic acid, which raises both cholesterol and homocysteine, both of which are associated with an increased risk of heart attack.
A recent trial tested whether decaffeinated coffee would stimulate the nervous system the way regular coffee does, thereby raising blood pressure and heart attack risk. It was found that even without the caffeine, a triple decal espresso still managed to trigger this undesirable effect. However, my real concern with decaf coffee is that, if you are trying to cut back on caffeine, drinking decal does little to stop your behavioral craving for the stuff. I’d suggest drinking something else entirely. Rooibosch tea is a great alternative,  as are the many delicious herbal teas on offer these days. For more coffee substitutes, read: Coffee Substitutes
For more information on herbal teas, read: Herbal Tea – Benefits and Risks
References  Steffen M, Kuhle C, Hensrud D, Erwin PJ, Murad MH. The effect of coffee consumption on blood pressure and the development of hypertension: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Hypertens. 2012 Dec;30(12):2245-54. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e3283588d73. Review. PubMed PMID: 23032138.  McCusker RR, Fuehrlein B, Goldberger BA, Gold MS, Cone EJ. Caffeine content of decaffeinated coffee. J Anal Toxicol. 2006 Oct;30(8):611-3. PubMed PMID: 17132260.  Persson IA, Persson K, Hägg S, Andersson RG. Effects of green tea, black tea and Rooibos tea on angiotensin-converting enzyme and nitric oxide in healthy volunteers. Public Health Nutr. 2010 May;13(5):730-7. doi: 10.1017/S1368980010000170. Epub 2010 Feb 10. PubMed PMID: 20144258.