How to prevent calcium loss when drinking a lot of coffee? has shown up and while its certainly coffee related I am unsure if A) any and all health related queries would really be on topic and B) if we as a community could truly be said to possess enough expertise on biochemistry and health practices to adequately answer said questions even if the first condition is true.

6 Answers 6


Coffee is not simply a food, but a beverage with phisiological and neurological effects, that are the main reason many (most?) people drink it.

So it's quite natural that the way the coffee works on human body should be on topic there. At least in my opinion.

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    This. You're not giving medical advice because (1) you're not a doctor and (2) they have not retained you as a physician. You're sharing experience as someone that drinks coffee. If they don't feel well, they should consult a physician, and it's up to them to know that.
    – user101
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 5:57
  • For what it's worth, while these questions can certainly work, it might be good to think about how to handle them a bit more than just "yes they're okay" - perhaps a higher standard for answers and discussion than on other questions? Even with the "we're not doctors" bit, these questions can be pretty prone to inciting debate and unsupported claims, especially when medicine hasn't really figured out the answer yet. (On Cooking, these questions have always been off topic and we've still seen some crazy stuff just in the comments.)
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 14, 2015 at 18:33

I think personal health advice should be off-topic, but requests for references to research on the physiology and genetics of caffeine response should be on-topic. See for example this "twin" study on caffeine intolerance and genetics.

That raises the question of how "good" (authoritative) sources should be. I doubt there is a bright line test that can be applied, as for example the question yesterday about safety of drinking Kopi Luwak coffee. It can be, as far as I'm concerned, left to the voting up/down of Answers to police the use of reliable sources.


Health advice should be left to a doctor. We can never know enough about a person to answer such a question on calcium deficiency.

On the other hand something like, which coffee will hurt my stomach less? May fall into our field. The line is blurred right now, and I can tell you the first question should not be answered by us, but this second one could be.


I would vote no. But to be fair I assume there's doctors out there who drink coffee that may actually know about this. That and there must be scientific articles somewhere.

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    Do sources like this Coffee helps fight against alzheimer suffice or should only be articles from journals accepted? Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 1:13
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    WebMD could be ok. The point being if answers are provided they should give sources as well. I do agree that people drink it for physiological effects but that doesn't mean it's very easy to find good, reliable scientific sources on these qualities. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 16:10
  • Yes, could be. Could be. Smells like reasonable doubt. It's like the IGN of gaming. So, you know, I don't really trust it.
    – qedk
    Commented Feb 4, 2015 at 14:52

That's a good question. I, as a user of this site, would be interested in health questions but you made a good point - is the community able to appropriately answer the question?

Good answers will have to link to their sources.

I would vote that we should allow such questions but the community will have to be vigilant regarding duplicate questions.


An excellent question; I don't see any reason to make health related questions off-topic, but I do suggest we make it clear that people should stick to actual verifiable research (lest we become bombarded with questions about ridiculous psudo-scientific claims).

I'm having a hard time describing the sort of thing I mean without potentially insulting someone, but you probably know the type and can imagine why that would possibly be bad for the sites image.

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