There are some mornings when it feels like you can’t quite function. You sleep through your alarm, forget your morning shower, dress in a hurry to get to work, and completely forget to eat breakfast.
The morning rush has happened to us all, when just starting your day can be tiring. You get to work, and the only thing you can muster is drinking that morning cup of coffee on an empty stomach.
That sweet cup of hot (or cold!) brew gives you the right amount of caffeine to kickstart your day, even if you skip breakfast that morning.
But what does this coffee do to your body when you haven’t eaten? Does it have a negative effect or no effect whatsoever?
There is no blanket statement for everyone since everyone’s body reacts differently to certain foods. However, research has discovered some positive and negative side effects of drinking coffee on an empty stomach.
Can Cause Digestive Issues
If you’ve had coffee on an empty stomach, you may have felt the eventual heartburn and gastric acid build-up that follows.
This is especially prevalent in people who experience gut disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or those who have sensitivities to coffee.
Chances are, if you experience heartburn or indigestion regularly, it will be more severe if you drink coffee on an empty stomach.
If you have issues like acid reflux, especially in the morning, try alternatives to coffee. Green tea is less acidic than coffee and can be less irritating to the stomach.
Try A Coffee Alternative to Lessen Acid Reflux
Drinking a full cup of coffee without food is a hefty dose of acidity to your stomach, which can cause acid reflux throughout the rest of the day.
Chronic acid reflux can lead to other adverse health problems, so it’s best not to ignore it and try an alternative to coffee if you need that caffeine hit.
This is not the case for everyone, though. There isn’t much research that links digestive troubles with coffee for anyone who doesn’t have a previous health condition.
So, if you’re drinking coffee on an empty stomach, chances are you won’t develop any digestive troubles during the rest of your day.
Raises Stress Hormone Levels
A common opinion of drinking coffee on an empty stomach is that it can negatively affect your hormone levels, specifically your cortisol levels. But this isn’t as negative as it leads you to believe.
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by your adrenal glands, which regulates your metabolism, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. It rises and falls throughout your day, even while you’re sleeping.
If your cortisol level is chronically high over long periods, it can create health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, but drinking coffee regularly has not been proven to increase cortisol production chronically.
If you drink coffee on an empty stomach, your cortisol levels can increase and, depending on your individual hormone levels, it could cause unnecessary stress in your morning. However, generally, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Your Blood Sugar Could Spike
A British Journal of Nutrition study from June 2020 found that your morning cup of coffee impairs your blood sugar levels. In contrast, people who ate breakfast did not experience significant changes in their blood sugar levels.
While coffee is generally a remedy to help us wake up, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can impair glucose tolerance, which is your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.
If coffee is the first thing you drink in the morning, it can skew your glucose tolerance, affecting your metabolism. A poor metabolic condition can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, most commonly.
You Can Get the Jitters
Drinking too much coffee or drinking coffee without food can cause you to get caffeine jitters. Most of us may have experienced this after having that extra cup of coffee we shouldn’t have or skipping breakfast and going straight to the extra large cup of coffee.
The jitters come from our body’s quick absorption of caffeine, which enters your bloodstream as soon as 15 minutes after consumption. If you haven’t eaten anything before having that dose of caffeine, you’ll feel the effects of caffeine much more quickly.
This could be great if you need a hit of caffeine to jump-start your day, but it could give you feelings of body anxiety, making you very jittery and jumpy for a few hours after consumption. This, of course, depends on your metabolism.
Those with fast metabolisms won’t feel the effects of drinking coffee on an empty stomach, while those with slower metabolisms will feel the jitters. If this is the case, pair your coffee with a breakfast rich in fibre, or drink a lower dose of caffeine.
Generally, a fully balanced breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Coffee is delicious but, for some, is best enjoyed with a plate of food, not as a meal itself.
For the most part, depending on your health condition, drinking coffee on an empty stomach doesn’t have significant health effects.
Drinking coffee daily without breakfast has adverse health effects because skipping a morning meal can affect your body’s metabolism.
So, it’s a good idea to pair coffee with your favourite healthy breakfast to get your day started right. We have plenty of amazing coffee choices on our website and offer a subscription service too, so you’ll never forget this essential breakfast beverage again.