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The art of timing: Why you should eat before your coffee with Holly

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, the ritual of reaching for a cup of coffee has become almost second nature. However, have you ever stopped to consider what happens when you have that st

eaming cup on an empty stomach? In clinic, a frequent topic of conversation with my clients revolves around the significance of consuming food before indulging in that morning pick-me-up. So let's delve into the reasons behind this advice and explore the impact of having coffee on an empty stomach.

The Cortisol Connection

One of the key reasons to reconsider that pre-breakfast espresso is the effect it has on cortisol levels – our body's stress hormone. When coffee is consumed on an empty stomach, cortisol levels spike, potentially disrupting the delicate balance of hormones in our system. Increased testosterone and an imbalance in estrogen are just a couple of the consequences, along with potential effects on thyroid hormones that can lead to energy level fluctuations.

Acidity Matters

Coffee is not just a warm, comforting beverage; it's also highly acidic. Taking it on an empty stomach can send hydrochloric acid production into overdrive. While this might not seem like an issue in the short term, over time, it can lead to a decrease in stomach acid. This decrease can result in improper breakdown of food, heightened irritation to the gut lining, and an increased risk of heartburn and acid reflux.

Jitters and Bowel Woes

Ever experienced those jittery feelings or unexpected trips to the bathroom after your morning coffee? Consuming coffee without a prior meal can lead to a rapid absorption of caffeine, causing those infamous coffee jitters. Additionally, it can result in loose bowel movements, creating an uncomfortable start to your day.

The Solution: Timing and Balanced Nutrition

To mitigate these potential issues, the solution lies in the art of timing and mindful nutrition. Instead of rushing for that cup of coffee first thing in the morning, consider waiting at least 30 minutes to an hour after consuming a well-rounded meal. Opt for a combination of high-fiber foods, healthy fats, and protein to stabilize blood sugar and cortisol levels.

By incorporating this simple adjustment into your morning routine, you not only ensure a smoother coffee experience but also promote overall digestive health and hormonal balance. Your body will thank you for the thoughtful pause before plunging into the day.


While you shouldn’t skip that morning cup of coffee, the importance of timing and nutritional balance should not be overlooked. By embracing the practice of having a nourishing meal before your coffee, you can savor your favorite brew without compromising your well-being. So, the next time you reach for that coffee mug, make sure to pair it with a plate of goodness for a harmonious start to your day.

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