is coffee a food

is coffee a food

Is Coffee a Food?

When most people think of food, they think of things like sandwiches, apples, and tacos. But coffee is something that people consume pretty regularly that isn’t thought of as a food. So, is coffee a food?

What Is a Food?

First, let’s look at a definition for food. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines food as “any substance, usually composed primarily of carbohydrates, fats, water, and/or proteins, that can be eaten to nourish the body.”

Does Coffee Qualify as Food?

Based on this definition, coffee does qualify as food. Coffee is composed of water, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and can be consumed to nourish the body. Most people don’t consider it a ‘real’ food because it is usually consumed as part of a drink or beverage.

Coffee: A Nutrient-Rich Drink

Coffee, like other beverages and foods, can provide different nutrients and has certain benefits to the body. Coffee is rich in certain B vitamins, vitamin E, minerals such as magnesium and potassium, and antioxidants.

Ways to Add Nutritional Value to Coffee

Although coffee is a food, it is mostly water and does not provide much in the way of calories and other micronutrients. To make coffee a more nutritionally complete food, here are some suggestions:

  • Milk or Cream: Adding milk or cream to coffee helps to add creaminess and also provides calcium, vitamin A, some protein, and fat.
  • Syrups: Adding a small amount of syrup to coffee can help add flavor and sweetness, but can also add some vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, and fiber.
  • Caffeine Additives: Adding caffeine to coffee can help provide a boost in energy and alertness, but should be done in moderation.


So is coffee a food? Yes, it can be considered as a food according to the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics definition. Coffee does have some nutritional value and can be enhanced with the addition of various ingredients. But, overall, coffee should not be considered a nutritionally complete food.





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