Many people believe they cannot start the day without drinking a cup of coffee as soon as they wake up. There are plenty of funny memes and quotes about not being able to function until you’ve had that first cup.
There are certainly benefits to drinking coffee. It is known to ease muscle pain, promote regular bowel function, improve memory and protect the body against diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s.
But before you reach for that first shot of java tomorrow morning, take heed of the following disadvantages of drinking coffee on an empty stomach.
Drinking coffee on an empty stomach has a negative effect on your digestive system
When you drink coffee on an empty stomach, you are sending your digestive system a message to start producing acids. The stomach produces these acids to break down food that enters it after you eat. Now, if there is no food in your stomach and you don’t intend to put some in it anytime soon, the acid released in the stomach has nothing to break down. Therefore, it starts to eat away at the lining of the stomach. This causes indigestion and heartburn.
Don’t try to convince yourself that decaffeinated coffee is better on an empty stomach because it has the exact same effect on the digestive system as caffeinated coffee.
Coffee isn’t the best way to jumpstart your day
Let’s take a careful look at the main ingredient in coffee: caffeine. It is a naturally occurring stimulant that is used in a great many products aside from coffee. Examples include energy drinks, soft drinks, and chocolate. Its stimulatory properties also make it a key ingredient in many weight loss supplements. Caffeine stimulates the brain’s functioning as well.
Sounds great, right? But overstimulation of the brain actually decreases its output capacity. So, hitting it with a shot of caffeine first thing in the morning may make you feel ready to get up and go, but your brain’s output will decrease as the morning progresses.
Coffee stimulates the adrenal glands
The adrenal glands are located above the kidneys. They release hormones into the body and control the fight-or-flight hormones that help us to react in an emergency. These hormones are called cortisol and adrenaline.
When you drink a cup of coffee on an empty stomach, these hormones are released into your system, which can result in feelings of restlessness and anxiety. The hormones also cause a rising heart rate and increased blood pressure. Once the effect of the caffeine wears off, you may be left feeling fatigued. Over time, with the adrenal glands being stimulated constantly, they can develop adrenal fatigue and no longer function properly.