The Science Behind Timing Your Morning Coffee: Before or After Breakfast?
Having coffee with breakfast has become a daily routine for most of us. It’s simply a reliable way to get an energizing kick to begin the day.
There are times, though, when I feel discomfort when I have coffee on an empty stomach.
Does that happen to you too?
Well, let’s see if it has anything to do with our gut or if it is better to have coffee with whole meals.
Is There a Right Time to Drink Coffee in the Morning?
The best time to have coffee is in the late morning, after having breakfast. Your cortisol levels start dropping by then, and having food prior makes coffee lighter on your stomach.
This is what research tells us, but everyone does it differently. Your parents take their coffee first thing in the morning, your workmate only has it between meals, and your best friend rarely gets one.
Like me, you might be wondering if it’s all up to preference or if there is science behind deciding which one is best for our bodies. Let’s discuss this in more detail.
Coffee Before Breakfast Isn’t That Great
Many people brew and consume a cup of coffee before having breakfast.
This makes sense because we think that an early coffee hit can energize our day instantly.
However, cortisol is already highest when waking up. This means that your body doesn’t need the added boost from caffeine that early into the day. Bummer!
Another thing to note is that one study suggests that having coffee on an empty stomach can impair blood sugar control. The effects might not be noticeable at present, but long-term factors could mean an increased risk of:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes.
Although this may not manifest in all of those who have a morning cup before breakfast, it’s still best to keep this in mind so you can continue enjoying your coffee in the future.
Coffee During Breakfast Is Better
Sipping on coffee while also eating breakfast foods is probably the most common way people break their fast. Almost anywhere around the world, you’ll find people enjoying their coffee and breakfast together.
I would say this makes it a little lighter on the stomach. But as a general rule, if you drink coffee on an empty stomach and feel the obvious side effects, you’re better off taking it with breakfast or after.
Coffee After Breakfast Is The Best
Having coffee after a bad night of sleep is a great way to energize and start your day. However, drinking coffee is healthier and more helpful to have after you’ve had a bite to eat.
Being one of the most popular drinks on Earth, there have been a lot of coffee-related studies. One found that those who drink coffee daily have been observed to have improved gut health compared to those that don’t. But as mentioned earlier, having it before food will affect your glucose and insulin control, which will only counteract the benefits you would have gotten.
Having coffee between your first two meals can be a great way to stay energized as well. But if you look at it from another perspective, this helps you feel full for longer.
For anyone trying to increase their weight loss efforts, this small change can be a big factor down the line.
What Can I Eat with My Coffee?
Regardless of country or culture, you always find traditional coffee and food combinations enjoyed by people daily. Some of these you might already be familiar with, but feel free to experiment with my suggestions here.
Pancakes – A common and classic pair-up with your coffee in the morning. This can be enjoyed at your favorite diner or in the comfort of your home.
You can add honey, whipped cream, and berries, or even top the dish with ice cream for extra sweetness. You’ll find a lot of recipes online, this pancake recipe is my favorite, my kids love it as well. Make sure you have a go if you’d like to try pancakes and coffee at home.
Eggs – You can have scrambled eggs, poached eggs, an omelet, and more. Not only is the versatility an advantage, but eggs are also a great source of protein. It’s a muscle-building component and additional fuel for your body all in one.
Oatmeal – I’d say this is quite uncommon. I haven’t seen many people have oatmeal with their coffee, but it’s pretty good, especially when you also have fruits like bananas, strawberries, or blueberries mixed in. Getting hungry yet?
Something heavy and savory
Bacon and eggs – Coffee brewing with some bacon cooking on the side? I can already imagine the delicious taste and smell! I know we’ve just talked about the healthy pairings earlier and this isn’t exactly up that lane, but the flavorful bacon with strong coffee is sometimes just too hard to resist.
Toast – You usually won’t have bacon by itself, so toast is a great addition to top off the whole plate. Breakfast places almost always have this to pair with the coffee they serve, and it’s very easy to make at home as well.
The time of day when you have your coffee can have a significant impact on your body and your mood.
- Drinking coffee on an empty stomach can impair blood sugar control and increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes in the long term
- Having it after breakfast has been observed to improve gut health.
- Sipping coffee during breakfast or between your first two meals is also a great way to stay energized while potentially aiding in weight loss efforts.
Regardless of when you have your coffee, pairing it with breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, oatmeal, or bacon can make the experience even better. But ultimately, the best time to drink coffee is subjective and depends on your personal preference and lifestyle.
My preference is for a cortado after drinking my wake-up water (0.5 liter), and another coffee after breakfast.
I’d like to hear some of your coffee + breakfast suggestions too! Please share them in a comment below.