Patients’ perception on the impact of coffee consumption in inflammatory bowel disease: friend or foe? – a patient survey

C Barthel et al, 2015
Nutrition Journal, published online ahead of print
August 20, 2015



Environmental factors are an integral component in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There is an increasing interest in nutritive components. While the potential disease-modifying role of coffee has been intensively investigated in a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, the data on the potential impact on IBD is very limited. We aimed to determine the patients’ perspective on coffee consumption in IBD.


We conducted a questionnaire among IBD patients in Switzerland, assessing key questions regarding coffee consumption. Descriptive statistics including chi square testing were used for analysis of questionnaire data.


Among a total of 442 patients 73 % regularly consume coffee. 96 % of patients attributing a positive and 91 % of patients attributing no impact of coffee intake on IBD regularly drink coffee and surprisingly even 49 % of those patients that assign a negative impact on disease symptoms. Among those patients refraining from regular coffee intake 62 % are convinced that coffee adversely influences intestinal symptoms, significantly more in Crohn’s disease (CD) than in ulcerative colitis (UC) (76 % vs. 44 %, p = 0.002). In total, 38 % of all study subjects suppose that coffee has an effect on their symptoms of disease, significantly more in CD (54 %) compared to UC patients (22 %, p < 0.001). Moreover, while 45 % of CD patients feel that coffee has a detrimental influence, only 20 % of UC patients share this impression (p < 0.001).


Two thirds of IBD patients regularly consume coffee. More than twice as many CD compared to UC patients attribute a symptom-modifying effect of coffee consumption, the majority a detrimental one. However, this negative perception does not result in abstinence from coffee consumption.


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