Can coffee on an empty stomach upset your stomach?

Answered by Daniel Conrad

Can on an empty stomach upset your stomach? As an experienced sommelier and brewer, I can tell you that drinking coffee without eating anything substantial for breakfast can lead to a whole host of problems. Let me explain why.

Firstly, let's talk about the extra acids present in coffee. Coffee contains various acids, such as chlorogenic acid, quinic acid, and citric acid, which give it its characteristic flavor profile. These acids can stimulate the production of stomach acid and, when consumed on an empty stomach, can cause an imbalance in your digestive system. This imbalance can lead to acid reflux, heartburn, and even stomach ulcers in some cases.

Secondly, caffeine molecules in coffee can have a stimulating effect on the digestive system. When you consume caffeine without any food to slow down its absorption, it can act as a diuretic and increase the production of stomach acid. This excess stomach acid can irritate the lining of your stomach and cause discomfort, bloating, and even nausea.

Personal experience has taught me that skipping breakfast and solely relying on coffee can lead to an upset stomach. I vividly remember a time when I had a busy morning and didn't have time to eat breakfast. I thought a cup of coffee would suffice to keep me going. However, a short while after drinking it, I started experiencing stomach discomfort and felt quite queasy. It was a clear reminder that coffee alone was not enough to sustain me and that my stomach needed something more substantial.

To further illustrate the point, let's break it down into a few key reasons why coffee on an empty stomach can upset your stomach:

1. Increased stomach acid production: Coffee stimulates the production of stomach acid, and without food to buffer its effects, it can lead to an overproduction of acid, causing irritation and discomfort.

2. Acid reflux and heartburn: The combination of caffeine and acids in coffee can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. This can result in a burning sensation, chest pain, and acid reflux.

3. Upset intestinal balance: Coffee can disrupt the balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut, leading to digestive issues like bloating, gas, and diarrhea.

4. Stomach ulcers: Prolonged consumption of coffee on an empty stomach can potentially increase the risk of developing stomach ulcers. The combination of increased stomach acid production and the erosive effects of coffee's acidic compounds can damage the stomach lining over time.

Drinking coffee without eating anything substantial for breakfast can definitely upset your stomach. The extra acids and caffeine molecules can lead to increased stomach acid production, acid reflux, upset intestinal balance, and even stomach ulcers. It's always best to pair your coffee with a balanced meal or at least a snack to minimize the potential negative effects on your digestive system.