Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, with millions of people enjoying it every day. But is it bad to drink coffee on an empty stomach? Some people claim that it can cause digestive issues, increase stress hormone levels, or even damage your stomach lining. But are these claims true, or are they just myths? In this article, we will explore the effects of drinking coffee on an empty stomach, and whether you should avoid it or not.
Does It Cause Digestive Issues?
One of the main arguments against drinking coffee on an empty stomach is that it can irritate your stomach and worsen symptoms of gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, or ulcers. This is because coffee contains compounds that stimulate the production of stomach acid, which can cause heartburn, nausea, or indigestion¹.
However, research does not support a strong link between coffee and digestive troubles, regardless of whether you drink it on an empty stomach or with food². While some people may be more sensitive to coffee and experience discomfort after drinking it, this is not the case for most people. In fact, coffee may have some benefits for your digestive system, such as promoting regular bowel movements, preventing constipation, and reducing the risk of colon cancer³.
Therefore, drinking coffee on an empty stomach is unlikely to cause any harm to your digestive system, unless you have a pre-existing condition that makes you more susceptible to acid reflux or ulcers. If you do experience any symptoms, you can try to reduce them by adding some milk, cream, or non-dairy alternatives to your coffee, or by drinking a lighter roast, which has less acidity than a darker roast⁴.
Does It Increase Stress Hormone Levels?
Another common concern about drinking coffee on an empty stomach is that it can raise your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol is produced by your adrenal glands and helps regulate your metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. However, too much cortisol can have negative effects on your health, such as bone loss, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease⁵.
Cortisol levels naturally peak in the morning, when you wake up, and decline throughout the day. Coffee can also stimulate cortisol production, which may add to the stress response of your body. Some people argue that drinking coffee on an empty stomach, when cortisol levels are already high, can be harmful and cause anxiety, insomnia, or mood swings.
However, this is not necessarily true for everyone. The effect of coffee on cortisol levels depends on several factors, such as your caffeine tolerance, your genetic makeup, and your overall stress level. For regular coffee drinkers, the cortisol response to coffee may be lower or even nonexistent, as they develop a tolerance to caffeine over time. For occasional coffee drinkers, the cortisol response may be higher, but it may also be beneficial, as it can enhance alertness, memory, and performance.
Therefore, drinking coffee on an empty stomach may or may not affect your cortisol levels, depending on your individual characteristics and circumstances. If you feel jittery, nervous, or restless after drinking coffee, you may want to limit your intake, or avoid drinking it on an empty stomach. If you feel fine, or even better, after drinking coffee, you can enjoy it without worrying about your cortisol levels.
Drinking coffee on an empty stomach is not bad for most people, as long as they do not have any underlying medical conditions that make them more sensitive to coffee or caffeine. Coffee can have many benefits for your health and well-being, such as improving your mood, brain function, and energy levels. However, coffee can also have some drawbacks, such as causing digestive discomfort, increasing stress hormone levels, or interfering with your sleep quality. Therefore, you should pay attention to how your body reacts to coffee, and adjust your intake accordingly. You can also try some tips to reduce the potential negative effects of coffee, such as adding some milk, drinking a lighter roast, or having it with some food. Ultimately, the best way to drink coffee is the way that works for you.
(1) Should You Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach? – Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coffee-on-empty-stomach
(2) Should I Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach? – Cleveland Clinic Health …. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/coffee-on-empty-stomach
(3) Is It Bad to Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach? – Health. https://www.health.com/drink-coffee-empty-stomach-8423692
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