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Coffee…Friend or Foe?

It is no secret that most of America runs on its daily cup of joe. Coffee is so integrated into our morning routines, that it is often the first thing that enters our bodies every morning. Most people do not think much of it as it is so habitual, but consuming it so often and on an empty stomach does more damage than people realize. I am not here to tell you to cut out caffeine cold turkey. I know how many, myself included, enjoy the taste and benefits of a cup of coffee. However, knowing when and how much to consume is key. Caffeine, after all, is a drug that many abuse heavily and without knowing. So, do not make the same mistakes! You can keep your daily cup, but do your best to keep it at that. Your digestive system will thank you! 


For many of us, caffeine seems to speed up our digestion and oftentimes it can be hard to have a bowel movement until having your daily fix. Regardless of how it may seem, this is not the desired effect you want. According to the National Library of Medicine, the constant consumption of coffee causes issues within the gastrointestinal tract leading to possible dyspepsia in which diet plays an important role. This is the first part of the digestive system that comes into contact with what we consume, so coffee’s acidic nature begins to take toll over time. 


However, that is not the only issue that arises. It can also affect your blood sugar levels. Especially for those who have type 2 diabetes or experience insulin resistance (pre-diabetic). There is a lot of misinformation surrounding coffee and its effects on the human body. Those who consume black coffee on an empty stomach are most likely following a faux health trend that convinces those who are looking to lose weight that black coffee is the answer to a fast metabolism. This is a false narrative, especially when it contributes to blood sugar imbalance. The inability to regulate blood sugar can lead to an abundance of serious health concerns such as heart disease and diabetes. Thus, making it more difficult to lose weight as an imbalance often leads to sweet cravings.  That said, eat breakfast first! Get something in your system before coffee enters the picture. 


If coffee is something you enjoy, you are NOT alone! There is no need to completely disrupt that part of your morning ritual, but you can alter it a bit to make it less taxing on your system. Try to consume your morning coffee within an hour or two of eating breakfast, no sooner. Additionally, you should steer clear of coffee after 2 pm or so as it can disrupt your sleep schedule and leave you craving the energy you should naturally have upon waking. 


It is the general recommendation to keep your intake at a cup a day and if you can follow that rule, it is highly encouraged. If you find you are drinking multiple cups a day, try to cut down a bit at a time. Find healthy alternatives like herbal tea or even swap a cup of regular for decaf from time to time. I do not want to spend this time convincing you that coffee is the devil, but like anything, consuming it in moderation is key. 



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, July 28). 10 surprising things that can spike your blood sugar. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/library/spotlights/blood-sugar.html

Leaf Group. (n.d.). How bad is it really to drink coffee on an empty stomach? | livestrong. LIVESTRONG.COM. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/13764701-coffee-on-empty-stomach/

Nehlig, A. (2022, January 17). Effects of coffee on the gastro-intestinal tract: A narrative review and literature update. Nutrients. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8778943/

Reis, C. E. G., Dórea, J. G., & da Costa, T. H. M. (2018, May 3). Effects of coffee consumption on glucose metabolism: A systematic review of Clinical Trials. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6544578/