DO COFFEE BEANS COUNT AS FOOD?
By Angela Garrity, Guest Blogger
Many of us roll out of bed in the morning and head straight for drinking coffee, as it is mandatory to get the day started. Nutritionist Carlyn Rosenblum, MS, RD shares her thoughts via an MSN article about why we should not be drinking coffee on an empty stomach.
“There are a few reasons why coffee isn’t great first thing in the morning, especially for women,” says Rosenblum. “First, it increases cortisol, which can negatively impact ovulation, weight, and hormonal balance.” The so-called stress hormone—which, among other things, helps regulate energy and makes you feel alert—fluctuates throughout the day, but is generally high in the morning and low in the evening. “Drinking caffeine first thing in the morning, when cortisol is high, blunts the hormone’s production and shifts the timing of the cycle,” Rosenblum explains. This can cause you to produce cortisol at times when it would normally drop (like at night). “Studies also show that consuming caffeine when cortisol is high can actually cause you to produce more cortisol,” she says. “While the reasoning behind this is not entirely understood, part of the reason could be related to coffee’s impact on certain vitamins and minerals.”
“Cortisol is necessary for our health; however, the problem is when we are constantly stressed out, our body is continuously producing cortisol,” Rosenblum explains. “This can lead to increased blood sugar, which then leads to increased insulin hormone-producing, leading to insulin resistance.” Excess cortisol can lead to effects like weight gain, sleep problems, and compromised immune response.”
“Drinking coffee first thing in the morning can also create gut health issues,” Rosenblum says. While study results are mixed on how coffee affects your gut microbiome (one recent study suggests it might actually be beneficial), it does stimulate acid production in the stomach. If you’re prone to acid reflux or other GI issues, it’s worth paying attention to your symptoms to see if coffee exacerbates them. Rosenblum recommends eating a breakfast of calcium-rich foods (like yogurt, almonds, spinach, kale, or chia seeds), which help neutralize both the acidity of the coffee and your stomach acid. She also notes that cold brew has about 70 percent less acid than hot coffee.”
“If you wake up on a relatively standard schedule, your best bet is to pour yourself a cup after breakfast, between 9:30 a.m. and noon, a window when your cortisol levels are typically low. (It’s tied to activity, so if your “day” starts significantly earlier or later than average, adjust accordingly.) At that point, coffee will actually give you a needed boost, evening out a potential energy slump.”
Sorry, to disagree with expert opinion, but we’ll drink our coffee on empty stomachs, with the first cup well before 9:30am to keep all levels running at maximum capacity. We don’t need this kind of negativity in our life when it comes to our relationship with coffee. Enjoy your decaf somewhere else, doctor.
RELATED: Unlocking the mysteries of coffee DNA