Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach: 8 Unexpected Side Effects


Drinking coffee on an empty stomach would be a very common situation in a morning. It jump starts your brain. Makes you feel alert.

What effect does that have on your health?

Sixty-four percent of Americans start their day with coffee.

It has several health benefits, such as:

  • cutting post-workout muscle pain
  • lowering the risk of type II diabetes.

Caffeine, which is found in coffee, is known to stimulate the brain. It is also known for its effects on thermogenesis (production of heat in humans) and lipolysis (the breakdown of fats to release fatty acids by hydrolysis).

Drinking coffee helps reduce body weight by increasing the rate of lipolysis.

Caffeine increases the rate of fat oxidation, sparing muscle glycogen. It also increases the concentration of endorphins that affects your mood and reduce the perception of pain.

There are no proven risks of frequently taking coffee, but drinking it on an empty stomach may cause the following problems…

Drinking Coffee With An Empty Stomach: Gastrointestinal issues

Drinking coffee increases the production of hydrochloric acid. At the right level, hydrochloric acid helps in food digestion.

On an empty stomach, the increased production of hydrochloric acid damages the lining of the stomach.

Damages of the stomach lining by hydrochloric acid make less inclined to produce HCL itself. The reduced production of HCL slows down the rate of digestion.

Some bacteria in the gut start eating the undigested food, after which they produce hydrogen sulfide that produces a nasty smell when passing gas.

As the acid production increase, the likelihood of developing indigestion, heartburn, irritation of the intestines, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcers increase.

Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach: Nutritional problems

Coffee increases the rate of gastric emptying. It reduces the time food stays in the stomach. The body doesn’t have enough time to absorb minerals and vitamins.

The inability to absorb nutrients properly increases the risk of nutritional deficiencies.

Caffeine speeds up the process of removing liquids from the body causing frequent trips to the bathroom (it is a diuretic). The kidneys don’t get enough time to absorb minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and zinc.

Magnesium deficiency in the body increases the risk of depression, heart disease, blood clots, high blood pressure, asthma, chronic pain, migraine, kidney disease, infertility, chronic fatigue, osteoporosis (bone loss), and tooth decay.

Coffee drinking on an empty stomach - good or bad?
Businesswoman struggling to stay awake after a number of drinks of coffee

Coffee drinking Increases anxiety and depression

Caffeine is bad news for people struggling with anxiety. It speeds up the body functions, thereby jump-starting anxiety. Drinking coffee on an empty stomach causes anxiety and depression in the following ways:

  1. Coffee reduces the level of epinephrine and cortisol. Epinephrine and cortisol are stress hormones. The body releases cortisol in the morning, the hormone you feel energized and alert.
  2. It messes with gamma-aminobutyric acid that is responsible for calming and lowering stress levels.
  3. Coffee stops the production of serotonin (the happy chemical) that contributes to calmness, wellbeing, and happiness.
  4. It increases the secretion if B vitamins. When there is too much vitamin B in the blood, the rate of absorption reduces. B vitamins plays a major role in stress management, mood regulation, and relaxation.

Drinking Coffee Hampers detoxification

Caffeine in coffee interferes with the normal detoxification process and drug metabolism in the liver.

Avoiding coffee before eating reduces anxiety.

Increases blood sugar levels

Drinking coffee in the morning before chewing decreases insulin sensitivity.

As a result, people who drink three to four cups of black coffee regularly are less likely to develop diabetes type II.

Drinking too much coffee before chewing may cause blood sugar to rise in diabetes patients.

Increases the risk of developing heart diseases

Drinking unfiltered coffee before chewing increases total cholesterol in the blood.

High cholesterol levels increase the risk of developing heart diseases.

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach may trigger a heart attack in some people.

Drinking coffee filtered coffee may help reduce its effect on cholesterol (in comparison to unfiltered coffee).

Can cause miscarriage

Drinking more than three cups of coffee before eating increases the risk of miscarriage and premature birth in some pregnant women.

Drinking coffee before having breakfast can cause sleeping problems in pregnant mothers.

Worsens the symptoms of osteoporosis

Drinking a caffeinated coffee on an empty stomach increases the amount of calcium excreted via urine.

The increased excretion of calcium weakens your bones.

Osteoporosis patients should limit their consumption of caffeinated coffee as it may worsen their conditions.

To avoid the above mentioned side effects of coffee, drink coffee after eating.

Or drink water before consuming the coffee.

Limiting your coffee consumption to three or four at a maximum might also help avoid complicated side effects of drinking coffee.