Should you drink coffee on an empty stomach?

09/09/2017 04:04 PM ET

Do you consume coffee first thing in the morning?

Coffee is a strong antioxidant, and has many possible health benefits that can include protecting against type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease, liver disease, liver cancer, and promoting a healthy heart.

Caffeine is well known for its stimulate effects on the brain, and also has well documented effects on thermogenesis and lipolysis. That’s why it plays a significant role in many fat loss supplements as well as in performance enhancing drugs.

Caffeine is a naturally derived stimulant that’s found in many nutritional supplements such as guarana, and of course it’s also found in coffee, teas, energy drinks, chocolate, and soft drinks. It’s shown to be an effective ergogenic aid, with apparent positive effects on endurance performance for anaerobic athletes. Consuming caffeine prior to exercise, however, may contribute to dehydration.

Caffeine has the ability to increase fat oxidation and spare the use of muscle glycogen. Additionally, it can increase the concentration of hormone like substances in the brain called β- Endorphins during exercise, which affect mood and can reduce the perception of pain. It can also delay fatigue during exercise.

Caffeine may also cause gastrointestinal discomfort by increasing the production of stomach acid (hydrochloric acid), which at the right level helps the body digest food. When you are drinking coffee on an empty stomach, this can add more acid in your body. Even decaffeinated coffee can stimulate the production of acid which, on an empty stomach, can be damaging to the lining of the stomach if consumed regularly. This can lead to indigestion throughout the day, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn and stomach ulcers.

High doses of caffeine consumption on a regular basis may also lead to poor sleep, insomnia and anxiety, resulting in a lack of energy and fatigue, as well as lower brain power. It can also interfere with calcium and iron absorption.

Coffee also stimulates the adrenal glands, which can create stress hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. This can raise heart rate and blood pressure too. Over time, your adrenal glands start to burn out which can lead to adrenal fatigue.

You may like to try natural alternatives to coffee, such as Matcha tea, Green tea, Tulsi tea (holy basil) and Nettle tea. Of course one of the best things you can do for your health is to drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning with freshly squeezed lemon juice.

I suggest if you like to drink coffee, then try at least for one week drinking it only after eating a meal. See how you feel, and if you can observe any changes on your mood, energy and hunger level?