Here's the real reason why coffee makes you poop

By Jeff Ayers — / Coffee Talk

Why does coffee make you poop? 

Here's a scenario that is not uncommon and it might happen to you or someone you know. That first cup of delicious dark brew hits your stomach and BAM — you are running to the bathroom. But are there any scientific reasons behind coffee and when nature calls?

I was going to tell a poop joke but nevermind, it's too crappy. Here's the real reason. 

A mug full of coffee with beans spilling off the table.

The caffeine in coffee is a proven diuretic — a substance that makes the body excrete more liquid, or in short, you have to pee more. These effects though are controlled by other factors as well including your sex and activity level. Also, a new study at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. found that you can actually build up a tolerance to the diuretic effects of coffee.

Well, that takes care of number one, but what about number two?

Caffeine can, in fact, be a laxative to some people as well. The chemical affects your large intestine and causes it to contract in much the same way that it does after you eat a large meal. But this is only felt in about 30 percent of the population, so what is the real culprit here?

A woman in the bathroom sitting on top of the toilet bowl.

According to some scientists, the caffeine amount in a normal cup of coffee and the amount of caffeine that is consumed daily are factors to a person's poop schedule. A normal 12oz cup of coffee contains 100-150 milligrams of caffeine, which is higher than say a glass of Coca-Cola which tops out around 34 milligrams. (Death Wish Coffee is much higher than this — we are the world's strongest coffee after all).

The acidic nature of coffee can also lead to higher production of bile acids in the body. Also, what you add to your cup of joe might contribute to another trip to the toilet. Artificial sweeteners and dairy products both lead to gastrointestinal issues like gas and bloating. 

But again, only 3 in 10 people truly feel that coffee does make them have to poop, and these effects can actually decrease over time with habitual coffee consumption. So one more coffee won't hurt, and if you are out you can always get more of the strong stuff.

Related:  3 Weird Things People Put In Their Coffee

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