Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can actually be bad for you

Studies show that coffee can actually trigger or even worsen gastrointestinal conditions when consumed on an empty stomach.

If you're anything like us, then you know how ritualistic it can be to have a fresh cup of coffee first thing in the morning before heading to work. But new studies show that having coffee on an empty stomach can be very bad for your health.

Registered dietitian and author of Unapologetic Eating, Alissa Rumsey, explains that:

While coffee intake and the body’s response varies from person to person, some people may be especially sensitive to caffeine, perhaps more so on an empty stomach.

What kind of negative effects can coffee have?

The reason coffee can be bad for some people is that it can stimulate the production of acid in the stomach. For some, this can be very irritating and even more so if you already suffer regularly from heartburn and reflux.

Coffee also increases contractions of the muscles in your colon which is why it is often considered to be a sort of natural laxative. And although some might see this as a benefit, others with preexisting gastrointestinal conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome or proneness to diarrhea, might notice that their symptoms actually worsen over time.

Interestingly, caffeine isn't the only compound that plays a laxative role in coffee. Decaffeinated varieties have also been found to stimulate bowel movements. What's more, adding milk or cream to your coffee could upset your stomach even more if you also suffer from a dairy intolerance.

Finally, caffeine's stimulant effects have also been linked to increasing common anxiety symptoms like nervousness, restlessness, trouble sleeping and palpitations especially when consumed in larger volumes.

Any possible solutions for those who experience discomfort?

Registered dietitian Maya Feller suggests to accompany your morning brew with foods that typically calm stomach acidity:

These include ripe bananas, oatmeal, eggs, non-citrus fruits, and whole-grain toast

But if your discomforts still persist then perhaps you should simply consider cutting back on caffeine and find different ways of getting the boost of energy you need. Often, fitting in a quick workout is all you need to get your heart rate going and your state of mind alert to get you through the rest of the day.

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