You Really Should Not Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach

Coffee is a wonderful, beloved, near-holy, miracle liquid that fuels all of our hopes and dreams. Just make sure you get a snack before your first cup. We're (definitely) not telling you to give up coffee in any way, but we do want to make sure you don't go overboard with the caffeine on an empty stomach.

Chew Before You Brew

"Wake up and smell the coffee" is a bit misleading. Sure, you can take a whiff of the fresh brew as you roll out of bed, but you should nibble on a bagel before getting too close to the coffee cup. Coffee takes quite the toll on your digestive system. Because coffee ramps up your production of stomach acid, having food in your tum will prevent the extra acid from eating at your insides. If you drink coffee on an empty stomach too often, the hydrochloric acid your body produces will damage your stomach lining. That goes for decaffeinated coffee too.

In addition to the stomach lining damage, drinking coffee on an empty stomach can give you some other unpleasant side effects. It "can give you jitters, shakes, and other withdrawal effects, including mood changes," Dr. Adam Simon, the chief medical officer at, told Express. It might also increase symptoms of anxiety, boost your heart rate, make you irritable, and make it harder to focus.

The Waiting Game

A first-thing cup of coffee isn't even the best plan for waking you up properly in the morning. Every morning, your body gets a jolt of cortisol (a hormone that makes you alert) just by waking up. Drinking coffee to get things going in the morning when your cortisol levels are already at a high point can actually backfire. Go for a cup of coffee in the mid-morning or afternoon when your cortisol levels begin to dip. It'll be much more effective!

Although science doesn't support drinking coffee first thing in the morning, find comfort in the fact that science does give the thumbs up to pairing the beverage with a donut.

The Science of Coffee

Written by Joanie Faletto December 19, 2017

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