Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach: Is it Bad for You?

Drinking black coffee on an empty stomach as the first drink in the morning, according to some scientific studies, seems to be able to control blood sugar levels. The ability to regulate blood sugar levels reduces the risk of metabolic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. When you take a bite of croissant or a sip of juice, for example, a valve called the lower esophageal sphincter opens to allow the food or drink to flow from the esophagus into the stomach. Once it enters the belly, the valve closes again. Coffee has the ability to relax the lower esophageal sphincter. The valve may not close completely, allowing stomach acid to leak into the esophagus, a condition called acid reflux. The most common symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which may also feel like a sharp pain in the chest.

Coffee also increases the risk of heartburn because it can stimulate acidity in the stomach. Although digestive enzymes and gastric juices are released regardless of what is consumed, food or drinks of an acidic nature, such as coffee, can be particularly irritating to the stomach, with the average pH of coffee being between 4.85 and 5 .13 (below pH 7 no substance is considered acidic). It follows that drinking coffee without having eaten triggers an acidifying process. To reduce stomach acid, experts recommend eat alkaline foods (like toast with eggs or avocado, for example) together with coffee. An alternative solution to coffee could be chicory coffee or green tea, which has a pH between 7 and 10.

Additionally, acid reflux may be a reaction to toxins or mold in coffee, an effect that may be amplified if your stomach is empty when you drink. Long-term chronic acid reflux could lead to esophagitis, which is inflammation that could potentially damage the lining of the esophagus.

Did you know that caffeine…

The caffeine contained in a cup of coffee is equal to 85 mg (in a cup of tea there is 28 mg). Several studies have confirmed that caffeine, in addition to influencing the cardiovascular, endocrine and nervous systems, has a stimulatory effect on basal metabolism. In particular, 500 mg of caffeine (the equivalent of 5 or 6 coffees) increases the basal metabolism by 10-15%.


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