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Why Does Coffee Cause Bloating and How to Stop It?

Why Does Coffee Cause Bloating and How to Stop It?

Sean Gregory
6 minute read

Ever feel the sudden need to invest in larger pants after that morning cup of coffee? While bloating happens to everyone at some point for various reasons, your coffee addiction can be a contributor. But don’t give up your daily habit yet, while there are reasons behind the post-coffee bloat, there are also subtle changes you can make to stop the bloat and still enjoy your favorite caffeinated beverage.

 

Does Coffee Cause Bloat?

The bottom line, your cup of coffee doesn’t cause bloating, but maybe a contributing factor. The coffee and what you put in it can cause bloat in people with underlying conditions. 

Caffeine

Caffeine, first and foremost, is a stimulant. What most people don’t know is that it also increases the production of cortisol in our systems. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. Cortisol helps you regulate stress, but too much stress can change your blood pressure, and blood sugar, upset your stomach, and lead to many physical problems, one of them being bloat. It’s all connected to your caffeine habits rather than the coffee itself.

Plus caffeine can stay in your body for a while causing long-term bloating.

 

Stimulants Wake Up More than Just Your Brain

Coffee improves what many call your “gut motility”. Whether this is good or bad depends on you. Getting things moving through your digestive tract might be a help for you. Still, if you are among those who suffer from a sensitivity to caffeine or a sensitive digestive tract this can be painful, especially if that first cup in the morning falls on an empty stomach.

 

“I Can’t Drink Coffee Black” Additives

Many people counteract the acidity of coffee with creamers. Even slight lactose intolerance will cause those dairy-based creamers to give you stomach bloat. Around 65% of the human population has some degree of lactose intolerance.

Trying to keep the calories down? Artificial sweeteners, especially those with sorbitol and aspartame, can cause belly bloat. We don’t digest these as quickly if at all. On top of that, the bacteria in your intestines feed on and ferment these sweeteners leading to more gas and bloating.

 

Overconsumption

 

The FDA recommends no more than 400mg of caffeine per day for the average person which translates to 4-5 cups of your average coffee. For some, this is still too much caffeine for your sensitive system. Overstimulation and over-production of cortisol in sensitive systems can cause a heap of trouble.

 

Dehydration

Believe it or not, dehydration can cause your body to retain fluids. This retention not only causes bloat but water weight. As caffeine is a mild diuretic and helps flush your system, those sensitive to either caffeine or chronic dehydration may retain more water with coffee consumption.

 

Acid

Back to those with sensitive stomachs again, the acidity in coffee can be an irritant. When our bodies are irritated, they swell. So, if your stomach can’t handle the acidity of your coffee then your stomach may overproduce its acid, your belly will bloat, and increase your gas production. This is especially difficult for those with IBS symptoms and chronic heartburn.

Check out our list of the top low-acid coffees.

 

No Bloat Coffee Habits 

  • Limit Yourself. Watch the acid levels in your favorite cup. If you’re finding that you frequently bloat after drinking your favorite blend, try switching to green tea or a low-acid option such as cold brew. If that doesn’t work or isn’t an option, try cutting back a cup or two. That decreased consumption may be all that’s required.

  • Nix the dairy products and sweeteners. Try your coffee black. If you simply can’t drink black coffee, then try some alternatives to your favorite creamers. Non-dairy creamers like almond or oat can be a great substitute without the bloat from dairy sensitivities. If those just don’t cut it flavor-wise, there are always supplements to help curb the side effects of lactose intolerance. Avoid those hard sweeteners. If you can’t drink it without that sweet edge, try natural sweeteners like stevia or erythritol instead.
  • Hydrate! Substituting a glass of water for that next cup of coffee can make a world of difference. Countering the slight diuretic effects of coffee with a glass of water can slow down or even stop the bloat.
  • Enjoy, don’t streamline. Sip and enjoy that lovely cup of wonderful! If you don’t bombard your stomach with a sudden chugged attack it won’t go into full defensive mode. Slowing down the acidity intake can allow your stomach to adjust and lower irritation. In the end, this means less bloating. Also, consider sitting down. If you sit, you allow time for digestion which equals less irritation.
  • Relax. That stress and increased cortisol production mean your body is under serious amounts of pressure. Take time to relax, meditate, or any other way you find works to reduce your stress levels. Excess caffeine into an already stressed body means stomach bloat.
  • Supplements. If you already know your body, there may be supplements out there to help you maintain that coffee habit. Whether it's enzymes to help with dairy sensitivities or something to help with excess gas production, taking one could decrease your bloat worries. We've seen apple cider vinegar help calm bloating.

 

I’m Already Bloated, Now What?

With all the healthy benefits of drinking coffee, no one in their right mind wants to ask you to give it up. While changing your drinking habits can help decrease the bloat, what about while you’re figuring out what will work for you?

If you’ve already got the bloat there are ways to relieve it quickly. First, we return to water. Drinking water after your coffee is the best way to rid yourself of the post-java bloat. As the key component of bloat is water retention, drinking water is the fastest way to convince your body to let go.

Getting moving is another option. Go walk the dog, do some yoga, or jump on your favorite exercise machine. Not only does this help relieve that belly bloat, but also aids in digestion.

If you don’t have time for exercise with your busy schedule, try a one-two punch with a glass of water and a snack rich in potassium like bananas.

Now head on over and check out some of our most popular coffee flavors at Meadow Ridge Coffee.

Meadow Ridge Coffee Highlander Grogg Single Serve Cups

Meadow Ridge Coffee Highlander Grogg Single Serve Cups

$18.99

Our Scottish inspired coffee flavored with caramel, butterscotch and hints of rum. A delicious combination of flavors that just might result in you drinking your next cup in a kilt. Medium roasted and flavored 100% arabica beans carefully selected from… read more

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