Do you start your mornings with coffee? While it has many health benefits, some research suggests that drinking a cup of java on an empty stomach isn’t the best idea.
In today’s video, we look at three potential side effects when you drink coffee on an empty stomach.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
Did you know that your morning cup of Joe can affect your blood sugar levels?
A 2020 study found that consuming strong black coffee on an empty stomach, after a night of poor sleep, could significantly impair people’s blood sugar control.
Since it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels within a healthy range to reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, you may want to drink your morning coffee after eating first.
Another side effect you may experience from consuming coffee on an empty stomach is acid reflux.
When you take a bite of bagel or a sip of water, a valve at the top of your stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow the food or drink to enter your stomach. Once inside, the valve closes again.
But according to the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, coffee relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter.
As a result, the valve may not shut completely.
This allows stomach acid to slip back into your esophagus, which causes a condition called acid reflux.
And the most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which can feel like a burning sensation in your chest.
In addition, coffee also increases the risk of heartburn because it can stimulate acidity in the stomach.
In a 2020 study published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, participants who replaced two servings of coffee a day with two servings of water had a reduced risk of acid reflux.
Occasional acid reflux isn’t usually associated with long-term or serious complications.
However, when acid reflux occurs frequently and is left untreated, it can lead to conditions such as esophagitis, ulcers, inflammation, and cancer.
If coffee gives you acid reflux, consider switching to green tea.
The next side effect that you may experience from drinking coffee on an empty stomach is feeling jittery or anxious.
That’s because caffeine is absorbed into the body rapidly.
It can take anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours after consumption. And the effects are quicker if you don’t eat prior to drinking coffee.
Whether you feel anxious and jumpy or pleasantly alert after drinking a cup of coffee depends largely on your genes, but eating patterns also play a role.
A 2018 report found that genetic variations determine how your body metabolizes caffeine.
If you’re a fast-metabolizer, drinking one cup of coffee is unlikely to make you edgy, even if it’s on an empty stomach.
But it’s a different story for those who digest caffeine slowly, which can make the effects of caffeine more pronounced and long-lasting.
If you’re a slow-metabolizer, try to drink your coffee over the course of a full hour in order to micro-dose the amount of caffeine you are getting.
Even better would be to have your coffee after eating a fiber-rich meal, which can further slow down the absorption rate of the caffeine.
Next, When Is the Best Time to Drink Coffee?
The best time to drink coffee is shortly after eating breakfast.
If you drink it before you have food in your stomach, you’re at risk for all the symptoms mentioned in this video, blood sugar spike, acid reflux, and jitteriness.
What’s more, your cortisol levels peak around seven in the morning.
Cortisol is a hormone that gives you an energy boost, so unless you’re not getting enough sleep, you should already be feeling energetic early in the morning.
Wait until your cortisol levels start to wane to drink that coffee. Holding off on caffeine for a few hours after you wake up will give you the most bang for your buck.
Also, you may want to avoid coffee in the afternoon after around 2 p.m.
Having it this late in the afternoon or evening could interfere with sleep.
A 2013 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that consuming 400 mg of caffeine or about four cups of home brew, six hours before bed reduced sleep time by more than an hour.
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And now, over to you: Do you drink coffee before or after eating breakfast? What’s your go-to drink in the morning?
Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
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