Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach: Is It Bad for You?

Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach: Is It Bad for You?


For many, coffee is a daily ritual and is often the first drink taken after waking up. However, some research suggests that drinking a cup of coffee on an empty stomach (defined as two hours before or after eating) is not a beneficial choice for the body, especially for those suffering from gastrointestinal or cardiovascular disorders.

Coffee on an empty stomach: blood sugar and gastric reflux

Drinking black coffee on an empty stomach as the first drink of the morning, according to some scientific studies, seems to be able to control blood sugar levels . The ability to regulate blood sugar levels reduces the risk of metabolic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease . When you gulp down a bite of croissant or a sip of juice , for example, a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow food or drink to flow from the esophagus into the stomach. Once it enters the belly, the valve closes again. Coffee has the ability to relax the lower esophageal sphincter. The valve may not close completely, allowing stomach acid to leak into the esophagus, a condition called acid reflux . The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn , which can also feel like a sharp pain in the chest .

Coffee also increases your risk of heartburn because it can stimulate acidity in your stomach . Although digestive enzymes and gastric juices are released no matter what you consume, food or drinks that are acidic in nature, such as coffee, can be particularly irritating to the stomach, the average pH of coffee being between 4.85 and 5 ,13 (below pH 7 no substance is considered acidic). It follows that drinking coffee without eating triggers an acidifying process . To reduce stomach acid, experts recommend eating alkaline foods (such as toast with egg or avocado, for example) together with coffee. An alternative solution to coffee could be chicory coffee or green tea , which has a pH between 7 and 10.

Additionally, acid reflux can be a reaction to the toxins or mold in the coffee, an effect that could be magnified if your stomach feels empty when you drink. Long-term, chronic acid reflux could lead to esophagitis , which is inflammation that could potentially damage the lining of the esophagus.

Did you know that caffeine…

The caffeine contained in a cup of coffee is equal to 85 mg (in a cup of tea there are 28 mg). Several studies have confirmed that caffeine, in addition to affecting the cardiovascular , endocrine and nervous systems, has a stimulating effect on the basal metabolic rate . In particular, 500 mg of caffeine (the equivalent of 5 or 6 coffees) increase the basal metabolic rate by 10-15%.

Side effects of coffee on an empty stomach

Caffeine is absorbed quickly into the body, within 45 minutes on average, and peaks in the bloodstream 15 minutes to two hours after consumption. The effects of caffeine (excitability, improvement of reflexes and ability to concentrate, analgesic action , increase in metabolism , etc.) will be felt faster on an empty stomach . It should be noted that some people metabolize more quickly, while others break down caffeine slowly, so the effects are more pronounced and long-lasting. Those who tend to have a slow digestive process , after drinking coffee on an empty stomach immediately feel the exciting boostof cafferina coffee which can also turn into nervousness and restlessness . On an empty stomach the effect tends to be amplified.

The general rule, according to experts, is to limit total caffeine intake to a maximum of 200 mg per day, or just over two cups a day of home-brewed mocha coffee.

Finally, sometimes drinking coffee on an empty stomach can lead to morning sickness or heartburn .

There are other causes of stomach pain after eating as well .

How many coffees can you drink if you have high blood pressure?

When to drink coffee

To avoid the side effects of coffee on an empty stomach, the ideal would be to consume it in the late morning , after breakfast . If you drink it before you have food in your stomach, you may experience a rise in blood sugar , heartburn and acid reflux, and nervousness. Also, cortisol levels peak around 7am, and being an energizing hormone in itself, caffeine intake can be delayed for a few hours once cortisol has started to decline.

However, experts recommend avoiding coffee after 2pm and especially in the late afternoon or evening, as it may interfere with sleep . A sleep medicine study found that consuming 400 milligrams of caffeine (about five cups) six hours before bed reduced sleep time by over an hour.

Like any other food, coffee has storage times , be careful not to exceed them.


Coffee consumption is one of the causes of dry mouth upon waking .

What to do in case of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting ( IF), in which you limit the length of time you eat food, is associated with a range of health benefits, from weight loss to lower blood pressure . Zero- calorie drinks such as black coffee are included in the diet in question even during the hours in which there is no food. In this case, drinking coffee on an empty stomach is a subjective choice based on the reactions of individuals. If you do not experience any symptoms when you drink coffee on an empty stomach , then there is nothing to worry about, if instead you experience stomach discomfort, tremors or nervousness, then it is better to prefer adecaffeinated coffee , barley or green tea.

Other stomach-related problems are spasms .



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