Another BIG Reason to Avoid Coffee Pods

by TC Luoma

Drink This Stuff at Your Own Peril

There are several reasons to avoid single-serving coffee pods, but here's one that might finally make you reassess your habit.

Are you one of the millions of men who drink coffee made from one of those pod coffee machines? If so, do yourself a favor and follow these instructions to the letter:

  1. Dig two empty pumpkin spice pods (or whatever flavor cheers your taste buds) from the trash. Peel off the foil from the cups and wash them out.
  2. Take your shirt off in front of your bathroom mirror.
  3. Pick up one plastic coffee pod in each hand and cup them over your nipples.
  4. Now smile coquettishly in the mirror.

Did you do it? Good. Because now you have an idea of what you might look like with the small, perky breasts you might develop from drinking large amounts of coffee made from plastic coffee pods.

At least that’s what some new research from scientists at the University of Connecticut suggests.

Say What?

Earlier research (Shi, 2019) has already suggested that drinking coffee made from unfiltered coffee – of which K-Cups or K-Cup knock-offs are an example – makes people more susceptible to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, but this new study suggests that the plastic used to make coffee pods also contains significant amounts of potentially health-damaging estrogenic chemicals.

When these plastics are manufactured, monomers, polymers, and additives such as plasticizers, many of which have estrogenic activity, are polymerized to form a base resin, which is often then mixed with other resins to improve the qualities of the plastic.

Unfortunately, these estrogenic chemicals can leach from the completed pod because polymerization wasn’t complete, or because the additives weren’t completely bound to the polymer.

But forget all that manufacturing jargon and minutiae. When the U of C researchers tested six brands of capsule coffee, they found all of them to have estrogenic activity.

Granted, the potency of this estrogenic activity was six or seven orders of magnitude weaker than actual E2 (estradiol). To give you a frame of reference, a typical dosage of E2 used for purposes of hormone replacement therapy in women is 2 mg. daily, and that’s approximately 100 to 1,000 times stronger than the total estradiol content from a cup of pod coffee.

However, when compared to other estrogenic consumables like soy-based foods or bottled water, the researchers noted that the “estrogenic potential of capsule coffee was relatively high.”

And there’s something else to consider. Most people don’t have an occasional cup of pod coffee now and then. Instead, coffee consumption is habitual. It’s chronic. And many people can easily down four to six cups of this plasticized, estrogenic brew every day.

It’s not a reach to assume that long-term exposure to even minute levels of estrogenic chemicals can have physiological repercussions.

Why is Excess Estrogen Potentially a Problem for Men and Women?

Excess estrogen can cause a host of problems in men:

  • The risk of degenerative disease can skyrocket.
  • Atherosclerosis rates might go up.
  • The incidence of stroke can increase.
  • The risk of developing Type II diabetes could escalate.
  • Emotional disturbances might become more prevalent.
  • The risk of prostate cancer can increase.
  • Erectile function can suffer.
  • Waistlines could grow thicker.
  • It might become harder to put on muscle.
  • They’re associated with heart disease.
  • It could lead to gynecomastia, i.e., male boobs.

Clearly, estrogen levels play a big part in the health of your ticker, in addition to the health of a whole lot of body parts, body systems, and body functions. Women aren’t safe from exogenous estrogen, either. Excess exposure to estrogenic chemicals can lead to endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, abnormal pregnancies, and various cancers.

Neuter the Human Spirit – One Man and One Coffee Pod at a Time

Why millions of people drink pod coffee as opposed to brewed or filtered coffee in general probably isn’t much of a mystery. It’s definitely not the taste and it’s clearly not the cost (as they end up being more expensive than simple, brewed coffee), so it must be the convenience of being able to make a single cup of coffee at a time.

I get it, but you have to ask yourself, exactly how convenient is it to slowly muck up your endocrine balance and possibly give the coffee phrase, “perk yourself up,” a whole new, mammillary meaning?




  1. Junichi R. Sakaki, et al. “Estrogenic activity of capsule coffee using the VM7Luc4E2 assay,” Clinical Research in Toxicology, (2021) 210-216.
  2. L. Shi. Et al. “Plasma metabolite biomarkers of boiled and filtered coffee intake and their association with type 2 diabetes risk.” Journal of Internal Medicine, 09, December 2019.
  3. Aage Tverdal, et al. “Coffee consumption and mortality from cardiovascular diseases and total mortality: Does the brewing method matter?” European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, April 22, 2020.