Coffee: Good or Bad for the Intestines?

October 19, 2015 , ,

Myths and realities

girl-690614_1280Myth #1: Caffeine-containing drinks have a diuretic and dehydrating effect.

False. Contrary to what one might think, beverages like tea and coffee don’t have a dehydrating effect on the person who drinks them. The effect is all the less significant if you are used to drinking them.

Myth #2: It is advisable not to take coffee/caffeine if you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

False. Although caffeine-containing products need to be taken sparingly in a low *FODMAP diet, this doesn’t mean they should be totally avoided; it all depends on your personal tolerance. But beware of alternatives (tea and herbal teas) some of which have a high FODMAP content and may cause discomfort. Check out the “Alternatives to coffee” box for further details.

Trying to cut down on your coffee and caffeine consumption? Here are some tips:

  • Have a half decaf, half regular coffee.
  • Try a tea or tisane and brew for less time.
  • Choose a latte (if need be, it can be made with lactose-free milk or almond drink) instead of a black coffee.
  • Cut down on soft drinks and energy drinks.

Alternatives to coffee

Low FODMAP alternatives (preferred) High FODMAP alternatives (to be avoided)
Green tea

Black tea, lightly infused

White tea

Mint tea

Other herbal teas containing
low FODMAP ingredients

Chicory drink (grain coffee)

Oolong tea

Chai tea

Chamomile tea

Dandelion tea

Fennel tea

Source: Dietitians of Canada

*FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates that are partly responsible for causing symptoms in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). For more info, read this article.

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Jef L'Ecuyer
Member of the Quebec College of Dietitians (ODNQ) and Dietitians of Canada,Jef graduated from McGill University in December 2014. Recently graduated and passionate about culinary arts, Jef poses a simple, effective and practical look at daily meal planning. With this in mind, she works in conjunction with the mission of SOSCuisine...

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