- A reflex of active people lacking sleep, consuming coffee as soon as they wake up could prove counterproductive.
- Fatigue, lack of energy, sleep problems and weight gain are linked to the timing of your first cup of coffee in the morning.
- 20 minutes has studied the question and gives you the keys to enjoying your coffee… without harm.
Your eyelids are heavy, your dark circles are eating away at your cheeks and you are sleepy even though the day has barely started. Your first instinct when you wake up: make yourself a strong coffee, just to give yourself a boost for the day. However, that morning dose of caffeine isn’t enough to give you energy and you feel like a zombie.
What if it was because you were drinking your coffee at the wrong time of day? 20 minutes explains everything to you.
The bad marriage between cortisol and coffee
On Instagram, on numerous French and Anglo-Saxon well-being accounts of naturopaths, nutrition experts and hormonal balance coaches, publications on the deleterious effects of too high a cortisol level – or stress hormone – flower. And on the false good idea of having coffee first thing in the morning and on an empty stomach.
Among these well-being stars, @healthwithholland, British, hormonal balance advisor who has nearly 775,000 subscribers, describes the signs of too high cortisol levels: “nocturnal awakenings, stubborn abdominal fat, cravings for salty foods , feeling like a wreck in the morning.” and an inability to sleep in the evening, and no appetite when waking up but an irrepressible desire for coffee. There you may have a revelation about your own condition.
On the same network, Dr. Lindsey Schmidt, a doctor with 250,000 subscribers who defines herself as a specialist in “microbiota, hormones and the nervous system,” drives the point home: “When we finally realize that skipping breakfast and drinking coffee on an empty glass stomach has unbalanced your cortisol levels and your nervous system and more… Which has affected your microbiota, and increased your bloating, your PMS, your anxiety and, strangely, your intake of weight.
“Effects on the liver, digestion and brain”
But how could that simple morning coffee do so much harm? “When you fast, coffee first has an effect on digestion: it is a fairly aggressive and acidic drink for the stomach, which can create gastric reflux and digestive discomfort,” explains Raphaël Gruman, nutritionist. Then, coffee will have an action on the liver, by slowing down hepatic metabolism and its elimination capacities, which creates additional fatigue: the liver is an organ which already pumps a lot of energy, so if it is overworked , this will further tire the liver. body, producing the opposite of the desired boost effect.
And when we talk about the harmful effects of coffee taken on an empty stomach, the bad points keep coming: “one of the problems with caffeine on an empty stomach is that no food slows down its stimulating effect during digestion. So it passes quickly into the blood, which can cause an acceleration of the heart rate with palpitations, he continues. From then on, this will overload the brain, the synapses – the neuronal connections –, panic, which generates cerebral fatigue, then general fatigue of the body. The excitement generated by caffeine temporarily masks fatigue, then comes the second Kiss Cool effect where you are even more tired.
Stress peak, sleep disturbances and weight gain
But what about the impact of caffeine on this famous cortisol level? And what does this have to do with our weight? Naturally produced by the body, cortisol is, as we said, the stress hormone, but it is also the wake-up hormone. With melatonin, secreted by the body to make it easier to fall asleep, cortisol completes the duo of hormones that regulate our internal clock and the sleep/wake alternation. And it is in the morning, between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., that cortisol levels reach their maximum. “While cortisol is necessary, in excess it has deleterious effects on the body: it promotes insulin resistance, harmful to diabetics, and promotes weight gain. Consuming coffee on an empty stomach when you wake up prevents the elimination of cortisol, which creates an effect of stress, disrupts blood sugar regulation and promotes weight gain and fatigue, describes Raphaël Gruman. Hence the importance of giving your body time to lower its cortisol levels.
We therefore take coffee when we wake up “for its boost effect, but it generates fatigue, encourages repeated consumption of coffee to finally find that energy that we are looking for so much, which ends up causing sleep disorders and difficulty falling asleep,” continues the nutritionist Yes, the last big loser in this misalliance: our sleep. “Many of my patients have sleep disorders which lead to weight problems: we know that those who sleep little – less than 6 hours per night – have a 30% additional risk of developing obesity. Coupled with the deleterious action of coffee on sleep, and indirectly on weight, sleep is less restorative and fatigue sets in.
Coffee yes, but not on an empty stomach
But if, like Brad Pitt, you own a coffee machine with a bean grinder, and the comforting scent of your morning cup is essential to you, you just need to know when and how to drink. “The best time is at least an hour after waking up, when cortisol levels have started to drop, and preferably in the middle of breakfast,” recommends Raphaël Gruman.
And if it is advisable not to drink your coffee too early, you should also not drink it too late: “not after mid-afternoon, because there is about six hours between the moment when we have a coffee and the one where the body has finished excreting this coffee.” caffeine, he warns. So if you drink it too late, when you go to bed, you risk not falling asleep.”