How Changing Coffee time Changed my Food Cravings, Energy, and Digestion

Does your daily routine start with rolling out of bed and pouring yourself a big delicious cup of coffee before even considering breakfast? That is what my daily routine consisted of. Wake up, pour my coffee, say my prayer for a good morning quiet time, and sip away as I entered into my morning bible study. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it?!

It did until about an hour after I had my coffee I felt like a ‘bottomless pit’. I would eat breakfast, a snack and tap into my lunch all before 10 am. 800 calories later I was feeling bloated, tired, and overly agitated. I’d try to ‘will’ my way through the hunger pains but would lose to my angry stomach every time. 

In doing research on the digestive system I came across an article that talked about the optimal time for coffee and that coffee before breakfast could be hurting your digestion, energy and calorie intake. So, the next day, instead of having coffee with my morning quiet time I had warm water with lemon.  It was difficult for the first few mornings, I missed my coffee so much, but each day I noticed I wasn’t as ravenous for food, craved healthier foods, and stopped overeating – needless to say, I’ve been sticking to it ever since.

The Waiting Game

In the morning your cortisol levels spike to help you get up and get going. Having coffee at this time will actually backfire and hinder your bodies ability to use cortisol effectively and may hinder its production and make it more difficult to wake up in the morning – leading to a need for more coffee and the vicious cycle.  While your cortisol levels are high in the early mornings, mid-morning, your cortisol levels begin to drop, making it the optimal time for coffee. Not a breakfast person and think that just waiting till mid-morning for your java fix?! Think again! Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can lead to the following side effects:

  • Drinking coffee on an empty stomach could damage your stomach lining and cause indigestion and heartburn: coffee jumpstarts your stomach’s production of acid and if you haven’t eaten – that acid could damage the lining of your stomach and cause long term damage.
    • Your stomach could gradually stop producing hydrochloric acid on its own and as a result, will decrease digestion. If this goes on long enough it can lead to acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcers
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Coffee is a natural diuretic and can cause food to not spend as much time in our system as it needs, possibly leading to nutritional deficiencies. Struggle with anxiety? By drinking coffee on an empty stomach your anxiety will most likely increase and be more debilitating than if you start your day with water and breakfast. It can also increase withdrawal effects such as mood changes
    • Coffee increases levels of the stress hormones interrupt the production of serotonin (happiness neurotransmitter) Increases secretion of B vitamins where are extremely important for mood regulation, relaxation and stress management
  • Do you need coffee to focus in the morning? It might be just your preferred morning start. Many people end up with reverse effects of having coffee before breakfast and report a lack of focus and concentration.

Coffee has a number of health benefits: Lower Risk of type 2 Diabetes, Lower Risk of Alzheimer, lowers risk of heart disease… however, type and timing is important.

Some of you can have coffee on an empty stomach and feel fine, by all means, don’t let me stop you, but if you crash mid-morning, feel the burn of your stomach acid, need to eat constantly to offset the ‘hunger’ pains, and need more coffee all day to keep you going – maybe it’s time to consider a change in your coffee time.

God created our bodies perfectly. He created us to naturally wake up with the sunrise and to rest and sleep with the sunset.  Our internal clocks will work more effectively as we live in sync with the way He designed us. When we do things that disrupt our natural God-given rhythms we get out of step with our bodies.  (leading to health concerns, weight gain, anxiety…)

The results of eating less, feeling more energy all day long, being less foggy-minded, feeling less joint weakness, having less anxiety… All of these benefits keep me from drinking coffee until after breakfast.  Instead of coffee, drink warm water with lemon to start your day, go for a walk at first light or with the sunrise (even just for 3-5 minutes) will help you wake up naturally and give you quiet time with Yahweh to start your day off right.

Need some quick breakfast ideas to get to your coffee quicker? 😉 Check out these great ‘breakfasts on the go’ recipes:

p.s. this is referring to black or little sugar coffee, not sugary coffee drinks – those should be avoided (always)

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