Coffee is widely known for magically increasing focus and energy, but that’s not the case for all. Here are 7 types of people who do not drink coffee.
Coffee is a popular drink made from the roasted beans of Coffea fruits (Coffea arabica, Coffea canephora). It contains caffeine and chlorogenic acid.
The caffeine in coffee works by stimulating the central nervous system (CNS), heart, and muscles. Chlorogenic acid might affect blood vessels and how the body handles blood sugar and metabolism.
People most commonly drink coffee to increase mental alertness. Coffee is also used for diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, dementia, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
Don’t confuse coffee with other caffeine sources, such as green coffee, black tea, and green tea. These are not the same.
How does it work?
Likely Effective for
Mental alertness. Drinking caffeinated coffee throughout the day seems to increase alertness and thinking skills. Caffeine can also improve alertness after sleep deprivation. Even one cup of caffeinated coffee can reduce fatigue and increase alertness.
Possibly Effective for
Diabetes. People who drink more coffee seem to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The risk lowers more with each cup that’s consumed. People with type 2 diabetes who drink more coffee might also have a slightly lower risk of dying.
Heart failure. Drinking caffeinated coffee seems to reduce the long-term risk of heart failure in people who do not have heart disease.
Death from any cause. Drinking coffee every day is linked to a slightly lower risk of dying from any cause or from heart disease. It’s unclear if drinking coffee is linked with a lower risk of death from cancer.
Parkinson disease. Drinking caffeinated coffee seems to reduce the risk of developing Parkinson disease. The risk lowers more with each cup that’s consumed in males, but not in females. Coffee doesn’t seem to help prevent Parkinson disease in people who smoke cigarettes.
Impaired movement of food through the intestines after surgery. Drinking coffee might speed up the first stool and a person’s ability to eat solid food after certain gut surgeries.
But for certain people, coffee may actually have more negative side effects than positive ones. We asked nutritionists about the people that should skip drinking coffee for better health, and here’s what they said.
1. People with IBS
“Caffeine can increase bowel regularity, including increasing the chances of diarrhea (a major symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS),” says Angel Planells, MS, RDN, Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist, and former president of the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Greater Seattle Dietetic Association. “So if you have IBS, it is encouraged to limit/avoid caffeinated beverages.”
2. People with glaucoma
“Intraocular pressure increased for those with glaucoma when consuming coffee [according to a recent study], so it’s encouraged to limit/avoid intake, but more research is warranted,” says Planells.
3. People with heart conditions, like arrhythmias
“As the caffeine from coffee can cause temporary increases in blood pressure and heart rate, it’s important for anyone with pre-existing heart conditions to talk with their healthcare provider about if/how much coffee is safe to consume,” says Kelli McGrane MS, RD, registered dietitian and Lose It! nutrition consultant.
4. People who are pregnant
“The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends pregnant women limit caffeine to 200 milligrams (about what is found in two cups of coffee) daily in order to minimize the risk of miscarriage, premature labor, and low birth weight,” says Sue Heikkinen, MS, RD, registered dietitian for MyNetDiary. “However, a 2020 review published in the British Journal of Medicine concluded there is no safe level of caffeine intake during pregnancy. Pregnant women should discuss their caffeine intake with their doctor.”
5. People who are breastfeeding
“As caffeine is a stimulant and diuretic, the concern is that a breastfeeding mother may be at risk for dehydration,” says Planells. “The American Pregnancy Association suggests avoiding caffeine as much as possible during pregnancy and breastfeeding.”
6. People with sleep disorders
“It is understandable to reach for a cup of coffee (or more) after a poor night’s sleep, yet your coffee habit may perpetuate a cycle of poor sleep and fatigue,” says Heikkinen. “Even if you don’t think your afternoon coffee affects your sleep, it could indeed affect sleep quality. Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bedtime, as recommended by the Sleep Foundation.
7. People with diarrhea
“Some people swear by their morning cup of coffee to ‘get their bowels moving,’ but this effect is not desirable if you are struggling with diarrhea,” says Heikkinen. “Decaf coffee may be less problematic, although hot liquids, in general, tend to stimulate the bowels.”