Coffee and body performance

Print this page

A range of studies have examined how coffee affects the body’s performance. The potential effects are mainly related to caffeine, one of the main constituents of coffee, rather than coffee itself. Conclusions of studies are highlighted below with more detailed information available in the Topic Overview section of the Coffee & Health website.

Coffee and Sports Performance
Effects of coffee consumption on sports performance are essentially linked to the caffeine. Caffeine has an ergogenic effect, improving capacity to do work or exercise, probably via a pathway that leads to raised adrenalin and increased blood flow to the heart and muscles.

  • EFSA has confirmed that a cause and effect relationship has been established for caffeine intake and increased endurance performance29.
  • The effects are most evident in endurance (aerobic) sports such as running, cycling or rowing, where studies have shown faster times recorded over set distances in subjects ingesting a moderate amount of caffeine before and/or during exercise30.
  • Caffeine’s effects have also been studied in high-intensity (anaerobic) exercise with varying results. There is some evidence of positive effects in selected groups, such as trained athletes taking part in power-based and team sports31, but overall the evidence is less conclusive.

For more information on Coffee and Sports Performance, click here.

Coffee and Fluid Balance
According to the latest research, drinking coffee, does not lead to dehydration. Studies of the effect of coffee, and caffeine on fluid balance have examined caffeine intake both during exercise and at rest in the general population.

  • Studies have shown that caffeine consumption up to the equivalent amount found in 5 cups of regular coffee does not cause dehydration32.
  • There may be a mild short-term diuretic effect from caffeine but this is not strong enough to outweigh the benefits of fluid intake from coffee consumption32.
  • Research suggests that moderate caffeine consumption does not alter total body water and fluid distribution33 and drinking a variety of caffeinated beverages can contribute to meeting the body’s requirement for fluids34 black coffee, for example, contains more than 95% water.
  • During exercise, moderate caffeine consumption is beneficial for endurance performance and does not contribute to dehydration35,36.
  • The body of evidence available suggests that advice to abstain from coffee drinking to maintain fluid balance is unfounded.

For more information on Coffee and Fluid Balance, click here.

This information is intended for Healthcare professional audiences.
Please consider the environment before printing.