Whether you’re a “cup of Joe” person who needs it stay sharp during the day or just addicted to drinking coffee every morning. However, some mornings, your eagerness to gulp this brown delight can make you neglect the fact that you need to eat a little something first.
Even when you consider all the benefits that drinking coffee brings with it, taking it on an empty stomach is never good for your health in any way. As with most other things in life, timing is crucial. It’s absolutely vital that you’re aware of when to drink coffee as having it at the wrong time can interfere with your regular metabolism and body functioning.
Problems Of Drinking Coffee On An Empty Stomach
To begin with, most health issues that are caused by drinking coffee on an empty stomach start off in your intestines and your digestive tract. But, the ill-effects of having such a habit can go far beyond your stomach. Here are some of the reasons why you should never drink coffee on an empty stomach.
1. Increases Stomach Acid Levels
Your stomach contains hydrochloric acid to help you with your digestive function. Usually, drinking coffee tends to increase the production of hydrochloric acid in your stomach. But, when you drink coffee on an empty stomach, hydrochloric acid production goes into overdrive. If you continue doing this often, your body may begin to slow down hydrochloric acid production on its own. Consequently, your digestion slows down. Coffee on an empty stomach also promotes gastro-oesophageal reflux or vomiting and nausea.1
Our gut bacteria then gorge on the undigested proteins and food, producing hydrogen sulfide. This way, you’ll end up raising a stink wherever you go! Having coffee on an empty stomach can also lead to significant changes in your bowel habits.2 If you think that’s not much of a problem, wait till you know what an increase in stomach acid levels will lead to.
2. Increases Heartburn
As your stomach acid levels increase, you become more likely to develop heartburn. Coffee’s definitely not good if you’re prone to heartburn. As it’s highly acidic, it irritates your gastrointestinal tract. If you’re thinking about switching to decaf, remember that it won’t be of much help too. In fact, research suggests that decaf increases stomach acid levels even more than caffeinated coffee. Switching over to methods of brewing or roasting isn’t a good option either. Avoiding coffee is the only solution.3
3. Leads To Acid Reflux
The other ill-effect of an increase in stomach acid levels is acid reflux. During normal circumstances, your sphincter muscle keeps stomach acid from bubbling up your esophagus. When you drink coffee on an empty stomach, the caffeine in it can relax your sphincter muscle and cause a bad case of acid reflux. However, studies show that decaf coffee has significantly less of a reflux effect. Besides acid reflux, increased stomach acid levels can lead to indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and even ulcers. 4
4. Causes Nutritional Deficiencies
Coffee has the power to get food out of your stomach more quickly than it would on its own. If food isn’t in your intestines for as long as it should be, you may not absorb important vitamins and minerals. This way, you may end up having a nutritional deficiency.
If you’re making frequent trips to the bathroom, your jolt of caffeine is to blame. Coffee also has the power to get liquids out of your body by flushing it through your kidneys. As a result, your kidneys don’t get to absorb important minerals like calcium, magnesium, and zinc. A magnesium deficiency can particularly be a cause for serious concern as it can be associated with leading to a whole host of other health issues, including asthma, heart disease, kidney disease, chronic fatigue, migraines, infertility, blood clots, and even anxiety or depression.
5. Causes Irregular Sleeping Habits
How many times have you found yourself getting a cup a coffee to stay fresh and sharp at work or even at home? If your answer is a high number, then you need to make plans to cut down on this habit as quickly as possible. Too much caffeine in a day may lead to sleep deprivation. Additionally, you’ll begin to disregard normal warning signals that your body gives you regarding fatigue and your need for rest.5
As your regular sleeping pattern gets constantly disrupted, mood depression may occur. Too much caffeine can also lead to you developing anxiety-related feelings, such as excessive nervousness, sweating, and tremors.6
6. Increases Blood Sugar Levels
Having a cup of Joe first before you’ve had anything to eat can increase your blood sugar levels. A number of studies show that if you’re a type-2 diabetic, you’ll find it very hard to manage your insulin as a result. Besides causing an increase in your blood sugar levels, consuming a lot of caffeine can also lead to a slight increase in your blood pressure levels. If you have difficulty controlling your blood pressure or diabetes, switching to decaf may help.7
|↑1||J. Boekema, M. Samsom, GP van Berge Henegouwen, AJPM Smout, P. “Coffee and gastrointestinal function: facts and fiction: a review.” Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 34, no. 230 (1999): 35-39.|
|↑2, ↑5, ↑6||Caffeine. University Health Service.|
|↑3, ↑7||Caffeine for Your Health — Too Good to Be True? AARP.|
|↑4||Caffeine for Your Health — Too Good to Be True? AARP.|