12 People Who Should Never Drink Coffee, Dieticians Say

Coffee is a delicious way to get an energy boost in the morning or to beat an afternoon slump, but coffee can also be called a health elixir. It has been found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer, reduce the risk of heart failure, and even reduce the risk of hearing loss. And drinking a dark roast can even help you lose weight.

But for some people, coffee can actually have more negative side effects than positive. For example, you might notice that coffee makes you anxious or nervous at times, or maybe you find yourself running to the bathroom after every cup you drink. Coffee may even affect your health in ways that are completely unknown to you.

To better understand whether or not coffee is a good choice, we asked nutritionists which people should avoid drinking coffee for better health. Read on to hear what they had to say, and for more on healthy eating, don’t miss What Coffee Does for Your Brain and 5 Drinks People Living Longer Enjoy Every Day.

1

People with IBS

IBS extension

IBS extension

“Caffeine may increase bowel regularity, including increasing the chances of diarrhea, a major symptom of irritable bowel syndrome (or IBS),” she says. Angelo Planells, MS, RDN, a Seattle-based registered dietitian nutritionist and past president of the Washington State Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Greater Seattle Dietetic Association. “So if you have IBS, it’s encouraged to limit/avoid caffeinated beverages.”

2

People with glaucoma

mocha coffee

mocha coffee

“Intraocular pressure is increased for glaucoma sufferers while drinking coffee, so they are encouraged to limit [or] avoid intake, but more research is needed,” says Planells.

According to research from Mount Sinai, drinking higher amounts of caffeine increased the risk of glaucoma in those who already had a predisposition to raised eye pressure.

3

People with overactive bladder

woman writing disposable next to disposable cup of coffee

woman writing disposable next to disposable cup of coffee

“We all know it’s best to avoid a large cup of coffee before a long trip, especially if bathroom breaks are limited. Caffeine intake can increase both urinary frequency and urgency,” she says. Sue Heikkinen, MS, RD, registered dietitian for MyNetDiary. “If you don’t drink coffee regularly, you may be even more sensitive to this effect.” If you’re planning a long road trip, check out The Best&Worst Car Snacks for Your Next Roadtrip.

4

People with heart problems, such as arrhythmias

senior man suffering from chest pain, heart attack

senior man suffering from chest pain, heart attack

“Because the caffeine in coffee can cause temporary increases in blood pressure and heart rate, it’s important for anyone with pre-existing heart problems to talk to their doctor about whether/how much coffee is safe to consume,” she says. Kelli McGrane MS, RD, registered dietitian and Lose It! nutritional consultant.

Research published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that yes, there is a potential for short-term spikes in blood pressure levels when drinking caffeine. However, there isn’t enough conclusive evidence about any long-term effects on blood pressure or heart health.

5

People who are pregnant.

pregnant woman coffee

pregnant woman coffee

“The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends pregnant women limit caffeine to 200 milligrams (about what’s found in two cups of coffee) per day to minimize the risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, and low birth weight. birth,” says Heikkinen. However, a 2020 review published in British Journal of Medicine concluded that there is no safe level of caffeine intake during pregnancy. Pregnant women should discuss caffeine intake with their physician.”

6

Breastfeeding people

Woman with red nails Drinking coffee

Woman with red nails Drinking coffee

“Because caffeine is a stimulant and diuretic, the concern is that a nursing mother may be at risk for dehydration,” says Planells. “The American Pregnancy Association suggests avoiding caffeine as much as possible while pregnant and breastfeeding.”

7

People with sleep disorders

woman holding coffee pot and cup

woman holding coffee pot and cup

“It’s understandable to have a cup of coffee (or more) after a night of poor sleep, but your coffee habit can perpetuate a poor sleep cycle and fatigue,” says Heikkinen. “Even if you don’t think your afternoon coffee is affecting your sleep, it really could be affecting the quality of your sleep. Avoid caffeine at least six hours before bed, as recommended by the Sleep Foundation.”

A study of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that caffeine consumed even six hours before bedtime had the potential to disrupt sleep. These results are based on a level of 400 milligrams of caffeine, which is equivalent to about four cups of coffee, and while you probably won’t drink that much caffeine in the afternoon, it’s important to note that caffeine clearly has the power to affect your sleep.

RELATED: 6 Best Teas to Slow Aging

8

People with high levels of anxiety or prone to panic attacks

“Caffeine is a stimulant, which can make anxiety worse in some individuals,” says McGrane. “If you have regular anxiety or panic attacks, you may want to consider avoiding or reducing your intake of caffeinated coffee.”

Search from General Hospital Psychiatry found that higher levels of caffeine (about 5 cups of coffee per day) could potentially trigger panic attacks in those with existing anxiety. Even if you’re not consuming 5 cups, you can still monitor your intake to make sure you’re not making any existing anxiety worse in your daily life.

9

People with diarrhea

Milk with coffee

Milk with coffee

“Some people swear by their morning cup of coffee to ‘get their bowels moving,’ but this effect isn’t desirable if you’re struggling with diarrhea,” says Heikkinen. “Decaffeinated coffee may be less of a problem, although hot liquids, in general, tend to stimulate the gut.”

RELATED: 14 side effects of drinking coffee every day, according to dietitians

10

People with epilepsy

coffee

coffee

“While a limited study, [recent findings showed that] heavy coffee consumption was associated with higher seizure frequency. But more studies are needed,” says Planells. Consider talking to your neurologist about caffeine intake if you have epilepsy.

11

Children under 12 years old

child drinking from cup

child drinking from cup

“While caffeine can make any of us a little jittery, it can have more noticeable and even serious side effects at smaller doses in children,” says McGrane. “For example, too much caffeine in children can lead to an increased heart rate, increased feelings of anxiety, difficulty concentrating and stomach pain. Another aspect to consider, especially in young children, is that coffee can mask the signals starvation, so children may not get the nutrition they need for growth and development.Finally, keep in mind that coffee itself is quite acidic, and as a result, can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay “.

RELATED: What happens to your body when you stop drinking coffee

12

People with gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

coffee cups

coffee cups

“Caffeine can loosen the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the valve between the esophagus and the stomach. This could cause acidic stomach contents to enter the esophagus, resulting in bothersome GERD symptoms,” says Heikkinen. “If you have GERD, see if switching to decaf helps.”

An original version of this article was published on August 5, 2022. It has been updated to include additional copy and proofreading reviews, corrections to any irrelevant or broken links and current research, as well as associated supporting citations.

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