A cup of coffee in the morning is a fantastic way to start your day. Surely that delicious cup of joe isn’t behind the bloat you’ve been experiencing every morning, right? I mean, does coffee cause bloating?
Unfortunately, it very well may.
Coffee does cause bloating. It’s temporary and doesn’t happen to everyone, but for some, that belly bloat results from coffee, and more specifically, caffeine. When you consume caffeine, it may stimulate your gut and lead to spasms that cause bloating.
How long does coffee bloat last? There’s no exact figure, but coffee-related bloating most often lasts for a few hours.
Looking for a healthy, low-acid coffee that’s easy on your tummy? Try Golden Ratio’s original gold coffee for a unique coffee experience.
Why does coffee cause bloating?
Bloating in the body can be caused by several factors, from indigestion from the last thing you ate, water retention, and how you respond to stress.
It’s also common to experience bloating when you change your diet, like if you recently started taking probiotics.
Some people also just deal with more gas in the belly than others. That means they need to watch what they’re consuming more closely than others, too.
While a little bit of stress isn’t bad for you, too much stress can increase your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, leave you with an upset stomach, and increase belly bloat.
Coffee also gets things moving in the gut (improving your “gut motility”). That can be a good thing if you’re suffering from constipation, or a bad thing if you’re dealing with a sensitive stomach. That added gut stimulation in the morning, especially on an empty stomach, could be too much for your belly to handle.
There are a few additional culprits behind the dreaded coffee bloat:
We’ll cover these in more detail, but you can probably already tell that you can address all of these reasons behind that sudden coffee bloat. It may be as simple as a few changes to the way you consume your coffee.
Sweetening your coffee with a bit of sugar and adding enough holiday creamer to turn it into a dessert drink may sound like a good time, but those additives aren’t helping your bloat problem.
Artificial sweeteners aren’t any better, as the body just doesn’t break them down as efficiently as natural products. That means certain artificial sweeteners can cause belly boat, especially if the main ingredient is sorbitol.
You may even find that your creamer or cow’s milk causes some lactose intolerance in the body, a classic cause of stomach bloating. Alternatives to dairy products like almond milk could fix those digestive issues if you don’t like black coffee.
Coffee is generally a healthy beverage. But anything you add to it isn’t only increasing the chance that you’ll feel bloated after your indulgence. It could lead to unnecessary belly fat over time, too.
Coffee on its own is good for you in moderation.
Coffee won’t stunt your growth, but it’s still always best to enjoy it in moderation. The general recommendation is 400 mg of coffee per day, which translates to a maximum of about 4 to 5 cups of coffee.
If you’re finding that even that amount is causing you some bloating and stomach distress, it may be time to cut back on the coffee even further. Try a cup or two per day and see if that helps your bloating and other symptoms.
Dehydration can cause fluid retention, which can cause bloating — and water weight — to set in.
Caffeine is a mild diuretic. That means it can increase the amount of urine produced in the body, and trips to the bathroom as a result.
While coffee won’t dehydrate you as much as alcohol, it can have a dehydrating effect if you’re not countering that diuretic effect with regular water.
The acid in coffee can irritate your stomach. That irritation can cause swelling in the belly, which presents as bloating in some coffee drinkers.
Drinking coffee on an empty stomach will cause the most acid production. That’s why it’s more likely to lead to bloating and gas than drinking coffee with your breakfast.
Some coffee blends can even increase stomach acid production, worsening heartburn and IBS symptoms and acid reflux triggers. It makes it that much more critical that you know what’s in your morning cup.
Coffee For Weight Loss
It’s not all bad news for coffee, especially when it comes to weight loss. You don’t need to quit coffee if you’re looking to lose weight. In fact, coffee can help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism with that bump in energy.
Tips For Reducing Bloating
If you're experiencing bloating along with your coffee habit, there are ways to counteract that and reduce the bloat.
How do you get rid of coffee bloat? Drinking plenty of water between your cups of coffee is the best way to get rid of coffee bloat. Water will keep you hydrated and keep your body from retaining too much water, a key component of bloat.
What relieves bloating fast? To relieve bloating fast, take a brisk walk, have a bath, or eat something rich in potassium. Epsom salt, in particular, is known for helping you drop water weight, so add a few cups to your next bubble bath.
If you need more potassium, try bananas, avocadoes, or yams, for starters. Asparagus is also known to reduce bloat fast.
Here are a few additional ways to reduce bloating with coffee:
- Stay hydrated. On top of sipping water in between your cups of coffee, it’s essential to stay hydrated overall when you’re drinking coffee. Coffee does have a mild diuretic effect, which means you’re likely hitting the bathroom more often after that morning cup or two.
- Relax. Caffeine can improve your mood, but excess caffeine can trigger your body’s stress responses. Stress is a known trigger for stomach bloat. It only makes sense then that if you’re going to keep drinking coffee, you should find ways to manage stress.
- Get moving. Walk the dog, hit your favorite yoga poses, or dust off that stationary bike. A little movement and exercise is a great way to relieve belly bloat and help with digestion.
- Slow down. Sip your coffee; don’t chug it. Those coffee beans aren’t going anywhere (we promise). Give your body time to digest whatever you’re drinking, even if it’s decaf.
- Try supplements. If you know your body’s triggers, like dairy or coffee, you may benefit from a regular digestive enzyme. Some just keep the gas at bay after you eat fibrous things like cauliflower or cabbage, while others give you a boost of magnesium.
- Skip the gum and carbonated drinks. No, really. Gum increases the amount of air you’re taking into your body, a key component of belly bloat. Carbonated beverages like sparkling water have a similar effect, increasing the side effects of bloating.
- Watch the acidity. The acid in coffee can irritate your digestive tract. Choose coffee substitutes like green tea or low-acid coffee brands like Golden Ratio to give your stomach a break and an anti-inflammatory effect. Brands that are low-acid are also a gentler approach to that morning cup.
If your symptoms are bad, it may be time to talk to your nutritionist or a gastroenterologist to see what else may be going on. It may not even be about your coffee habit.
The good news is, while coffee won’t stop your bloating, coffee doesn’t cause bloating in everyone.
For many, coffee has an overall positive effect, even balancing healthy gut bacteria. That’s especially if you’re choosing brands that are more gentle on your stomach.
Low-acid coffee for less bloat.
Golden Ratio is a low-acid coffee alternative that’s perfect for anyone looking for a gentler way to start their morning. These are beans without the burn, available in a variety of flavors that will give you the caffeine boost you crave without the stomach stress.
If it’s the acid in coffee that’s giving you issues, try the Golden Ratio difference. Your belly will thank you.
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- Artificial Sweeteners: A Systematic Review and Primer for Gastroenterologists
- Update on lactose malabsorption and intolerance: pathogenesis, diagnosis and clinical management
- Caffeine and diuresis during rest and exercise: A meta-analysis
- A dark brown roast coffee blend is less effective at stimulating gastric acid secretion in healthy volunteers compared to a medium roast market blend
- The effects of caffeine intake on weight loss: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
- Caffeine intake is related to successful weight loss maintenance
- Reduced Stress and Improved Sleep Quality Caused by Green Tea Are Associated with a Reduced Caffeine Content