Coffee & Health
GI function

Latest research shows coffee consumption is not linked to digestive complaints

May 29, 2015

The Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee explores the research surrounding coffee consumption and digestive health

To mark World Digestive Health Day, the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee has produced a new infographic exploring the common misconceptions surrounding coffee consumption and digestive health. The mythbuster highlights that there is no evidence to suggest that coffee consumption is associated with a range of digestive health issues, such as acid reflux, dyspepsia, IBS or constipation.

Key research highlights include:

  • There is no evidence to suggest that coffee consumption causes acid reflux. In fact, it is suggested that common causes of acid reflux are the consumption of spicy or fatty food and overeating.1,2,3,4
  • One study found that 38% of people thought coffee was a cause of dyspepsia5, however no association between drinking coffee and this condition have been found.6,7,8,9
  • Recent research suggests coffee does not lead to dehydration and contributes to daily fluid intake.10
  • Coffee can be enjoyed by those who suffer from disorders such as IBS, gastritis, Crohn’s Disease, colitis and ulcers, as there is no indication that it influences these disorders.

Dr. Patricia MacNair, Trust Practitioner, Care of the Elderly at The Royal Surrey County Hospital , UK, commented on the overview: “Approximately 1 in 3 adults in the European Union (more than 150 million) are affected by digestive health problems such as dyspepsia, IBS or constipation. Many of my patients with digestive health complaints ask me if their coffee consumption is the issue and if they should cut coffee out of their diet.”  She continued:  “It is true that some individuals who suffer GI problems may choose to avoid certain foods or drinks to manage their symptoms, and this may include coffee. However, the research available shows that there is no evidence to suggest a link between coffee consumption and digestive health problems.”

Further information about coffee and digestive health can be found here.


  1. Bolin T.D. et al. (2000) Esophagogastroduodenal Diseases and Pathophysiology, Heartburn: Community perceptions. J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 15:35-39.
  2. Kaltenbach T. et al. (2006) Review: sparse evidence supports lifestyle modifications for reducing symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Arch Intern Med, 166:965-971.
  3. Kim J. et al. (2013) Association between coffee intake and gastroesophageal reflux disease: a meta-analysis, Diseases of the Esophagus, 27(4):311-317.
  4. Boekema P.J. et al. (1999b) Effect of coffee on gastroesophageal reflux in patients with reflux disease and healthy controls. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol, 11: 1271-1276.
  5. Boekema P.J. et al. (2001) Functional bowel symptoms in a general Dutch population and associations with common stimulants. Neth J Med, 59(1): 23-30.
  6. Boekema P.J. et al. (1999a) Chapter 4: Prevalence of functional bowel symptoms in a general Dutch population and associations with use of alcohol, coffee and smoking. Coffee and upper gastrointestinal motor and sensory functions, Zeist (the Netherlands).
  7. Haug T.T. et al. (1995) What Are the Real Problems for Patients with Functional Dyspepsia? Scan J Gastroenterol, 30(2):97-100.
  8. Nandurkar S. et al. (1998) Dyspepsia in the community is linked to smoking and aspirin use but not to Helicobacter pylori infection. Arch Intern Med, 158(13):1427-1433.
  9. Moayyedi P. et al. (2000) The Proportion of Upper Gastrointestinal Symptoms in the community Associated With Helicobacter pylori, Lifestyle Factors, and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs. Am J Gastroenterol, 95(6):1448-1455.
  10. Killer S. C. et al. (2014) No Evidence of Dehydration with Moderate Daily Coffee Intake: A Counterbalanced Cross-Over Study in a Free-Living Population. PLoS ONE, 9(1): e84154.    

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