I have a friend whose morning ritual includes drinking coffee immediately he wakes up from sleep. Guess what? He is not alone, millions of other people all over the world also drink coffee before eating any other food. In the recent years, the topic “whether it is good or bad to drink coffee on empty stomach” has been hotly debated.
Coffee is a great antioxidant and it comes with so many other health benefits. Drinking coffee can help protect you against liver cancer, liver disease, Parkinson’s disease, Type-2 diabetes, and promote a healthy heart. Coffee can also help you deal with anxiety. It is well known that coffee has a stimulating effect on the brain. Everyone wants the “jolt” of caffeine. Hence, the reason why so many people choose to take it first in the morning before starting their day.
However, as with most things in life, timing is very important. It turns out that morning is actually one of the worst times of the day to drink coffee. According to this YouTube science channel ASAP Science – “the high levels of cortisol in our bodies early in the morning make drinking coffee before eating any other food a bad idea“.
Why You Should Avoid Coffee Before Eating Food In the Morning?
There are tons of reasons why drinking coffee before eating any other food may not be the right move. For starters, coffee can take a serious toll on your digestive system.
- The Acid Factor
Coffee can stimulate the production of acid in your stomach. This simply means it will add more than the required acid in your body. For people who have a sensitive digestive system, this process can damage the stomach lining and worsen the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. If you are currently suffering from digestive issues, heartburn, stomach ulcers, or you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it is highly recommended you stay away from drinking coffee before you eat.
The production of extra acid in the stomach is not the only problem, drinking coffee in the morning before you eat on a regular basis can lead to poor sleep, insomnia, and anxiety. These problems usually lead to fatigue and lack of energy. When this happens, you will have a lower brain power and your productivity will be heavily affected. It could also interfere with the absorption of calcium and iron.
According to Dr. Adam Simon, the chief medical officer at PushDoctor.co.uk, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can give you shakes, jitters, and other withdrawal effects such as mood changes. He also added that it could increase symptoms of anxiety, irritability and make you unable to focus.
- Disruption of Your Internal Clock
This is another reason why you should avoid drinking coffee first thing in the morning. We have an internal clock known as the “circadian rhythm” which is responsible for releasing a hormone known as “cortisol”. Ideally, this hormone is released when you are under stress.
In a normal situation, the cortisol levels on your body peak between 8 and 9 am and helps your body to wake up naturally. Most people assume that drinking coffee very early makes sense as it would be the perfect companion to cortisol. However, new research has shown that this assumption is greatly flawed. It works in the opposite direction. Drinking coffee before your cortisol level naturally reaches its peak can decrease cortisol levels and greatly diminish the caffeine’s buzzy effect. In order to achieve this jolt effect, most people will drink more and more cups of coffee until their body becomes dependent on morning coffee.
Another research recommends that the best time to drink coffee is between 10 am and 12 noon.
The Bottom Line
Drinking coffee on empty stomach is not a good idea. If you have been doing it for years without any problem, you are fine, you can continue with what you are doing. The best way is to drink coffee with your breakfast and not before it. However, if you don’t have breakfast yet, you might consider drinking a huge glass of water beforehand. If you have a history of stomach problems but need something to get you going first thing in the morning, you should consider something else other than coffee.