Drinking coffee on an Empty Stomach: Good or Bad?

Drinking coffee on an Empty Stomach: Good or Bad?

Jun 16, 2024Meagan Mason

If coffee is the thing in the morning you think about first then this article is for you. Drinking a cup of coffee the moment you wake up is essentially the fuel for many people worldwide, and probably why the coffee industry is the second largest commodity globally.

But, we also need to keep in mind health problems and how different peoples body responds to consuming coffee, and even more so on an empty stomach. All this we will delve deeper into in this blog, and discover is drinking coffee on an empty stomach bad.


Should You Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach?

As coffee roaster finding facts and up to date information is a must to answering questions of conversation and in this case the symptoms (if any) on your stomach if you grab your morning cup of black coffee without having eaten any food.

So, is drinking coffee on an empty stomach asking for health problems?

Should we be concerned about digestive issues, irritable bowel syndrome, or worse, heart disease? Well, it depends on how sensitive you are to certain ingredients.

Certainly, if you start to see negative side effects or symptoms creep in within a few hours then perhaps coffee consumption without food may not be for you, for others it is perfectly fine. The last thing you need to be enduring are painful periods just to get a morning coffee when rather you should have ate breakfast at home.

If, however, you enjoy drinking coffee but are not particularly a morning breakfast kind of person, just keep an eye on how your body reacts to the caffeine and if you experience any heartburn or chronic acid reflux. When at all in doubt take a moment to consult with your local registered dietitian and keep an eye on your blood pressure.


Try A Coffee Alternative to Reduce the effect of Acid Reflux

Chronic acid reflux can occur when your stomach is introduced to a large amount of acidity, such as the caffeine in coffee, and while you may have been trying a lower dose of caffeine coffee such as decaf (believe it or not but decaf coffee is NOT completely caffeine free), perhaps a coffee alternative might be more forgiving on the body.

What is acid reflux?

This happens when acid is flowing continuously into the esophagus - the tube connecting your mouth and stomach.

Rather than coffee why not try green tea, it helps with gut disorders and digestion and is a great coffee alternative aiding in mental health benefits.


Raises Stress Hormone and Blood Sugar Levels

When it comes to stress the first thing we need to look at is the adrenal glands and the hormone they produce, cortisol. Ideally, you want your cortisol levels to be low, this stress hormone fluctuates throughout the day, but with increased cortisol production it could lead to health issues such as diabetes. However, with this being said there is no concrete or significant scientific evidence that drinking coffee for long periods causes cortisol levels to rise.

Then we need to consider blood sugar levels and keep them optimal. The body's ability to regulate blood sugar is done through the blood glucose in the body. If you drink coffee on an empty stomach in the morning it could impair your glucose tolerance and thus impact metabolic conditions increasing the risk of heart conditions.

If coffee on an empty stomach is the choice over eating what some people believe to be the most important meal of the day, breakfast, let's try to consume it in moderation.


How to Know you Have had Too Much coffee or One Too Many?

Drinking that extra cup of coffee in the late afternoon hoping for a final boost to make it to the end of the day may well just be to your disadvantage, and often causes what is known as 'the jitters.'

The onset of jitters is because we have exceeded our caffeine fix limit and so much worse if you have been drinking coffee on an empty stomach. The caffeine is rapidly absorbed by the body and dissolves into the bloodstream within 15 minutes.

If you skipped breakfast and haven't eaten any food before having that extra cup of coffee you will feel the effects of the caffeine significantly quicker. While many people drink one more cup hoping it will keep them going when fatigue steps in, coffee will also increase the production of stomach acid and many people complain of heartburn.

Take note

If you are showing any signs of these you had best get something greasy and delicious into your stomach to soak up those acids and bring your digestive tract back in balance.

Tips for Caffeine-Sensitive Individuals

If you are prone to caffeine sensitivity these helpful tips could help you avoid unwanted side effects or offer guidance on how best to consume coffee, let's dive right in.

  • The number one cause for reaching for your morning cup is lack of sleep. Poor sleep can be draining and many people firmly believe if they want to wake up they need to get coffee in them they will be ok, but try not to drink it on an empty stomach.

  • Exercise, try to walk at least 30 minutes per day where possible. It could mean heading to the cafeteria at the office for your lunch meal by using the stairs rather than the elevator, you get your step count in and prevent heartburn, win-win.

  • Avoid medication if you can, specific meds don't necessarily agree with caffeine and more so having a coffee on an empty stomach.

  • Understand that there are risks of consuming your morning cuppa without eating first could negatively impact your gut and lead to conditions such as thyroid problems, anxiety, and even hair loss.


At the end of the day we are well aware that coffee is not going anywhere anytime soon and is certainly unlikely to be cut out of our morning routines anytime soon, but, many symptoms are easily avoidable simply by grabbing a bite to eat.

No one is saying we need to cut out coffee or caffeine completely from our lives but more so to be more aware of the effects when we go over our limits. Knowing the tell-tale signs will help you be more vigilant on what to look for throughout the day, and to recognize the indicators that you are potentially reaching your coffee and caffeine limitations.

Try a low acid coffee and a croissant rather than bring your internal systems back into sync, and besides, who doesn't love a croissant stuffed with ham and cheese right?

More articles