You might think drinking coffee first thing in the morning is a good idea. You might even think it’s a great way to get yourself going.

But you might be surprised to learn that drinking coffee first thing in the morning — particularly on an empty stomach — is a terrible idea.

Why? Let’s take a look at a few reasons.

1. Stomach Acid

Stomach drinking coffee

Your stomach contains hydrochloric acid, which, at the right level, helps your body digest food efficiently.

When your stomach is empty, this acid doesn’t really have much to work with, so it can slosh around and cause abdominal distress.

Downing a cup of coffee on that empty stomach adds to the problem by placing even more acid in your body.

Consistently having too much stomach acid will cause damage to your stomach and digestive tract, leading to conditions like heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome and stomach ulcers.

Fair Trade coffees grown in rich soil and on shady plantations tend to have lower acidity. This will reduce the amount of acid your morning brew places in your stomach. That still doesn’t mean you should drink it on an empty stomach, though! There are plenty of non-acid-related health effects coffee has on your body.

2. Anxiety

giphy (31)

When you go through your morning on an empty stomach, you decrease your brain’s ability to properly process serotonin. Serotonin is the “happy, calm hormone.”

When your brain is unable to process this hormone properly, it causes anxiety and depression.

Throwing a cup of coffee on top of that empty stomach causes even more anxiety by boosting your body’s cortisol and adrenaline levels.

That will leave you feeling jittery, nervous and weak.

3. Dehydration

Don't let this be you.

Don’t let this be you.

According to Dr. Adam Simon of, drinking coffee on an empty stomach increases the amount of fluid your body passes and can result in dehydration.

Mayo Clinic physician Donald Hensrud, MD, disagrees – to a certain extent. If you’re like many Americans in the morning, you’ll likely respond to that dehydration by reaching for yet another cup of coffee. Do that too much, and you’ll likely run into problems with dehydration.

4. Loss of Appetite

giphy (33) drinking coffee

When I used to drink coffee first thing in the morning, I remember telling myself that I would eat a solid meal after I got some work done. That would never happen. I just wouldn’t have the appetite.

Coffee has that effect on the body – it’s one of the reasons why coffee is so effective at helping you lose weight.

But while coffee can be a great way to suppress your appetite at certain points in the day, the morning should not be one of those points. You need breakfast. In the long run, if you skip it, you’ll actually gain more weight than coffee could ever help you shrug off.

So should you be drinking coffee at all?

Yes! Actually, researchers have pinpointed the ideal times, and it turns out that if you eat a good, healthy breakfast you can enjoy your coffee completely guilt-free between 10 a.m. and noon!

Need an energy boost before then? Check out this video from David for an awesome caffeine-less recipe!


Time Magazine
NCBI – PubMed
Mayo Clinic
The Healthy Home Economist
NCBI – PubMed
How To Treat Heartburn