Demystifying Coffee and Bloating: What You Need to Know

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Some call drinking coffee rigorously an addiction and some call it just a ritual. In my eyes, the dependency is unreal. Don’t get me wrong! I love coffee, but if someone is looking to lose some pounds the bloating effect can be a real problem.

You might be confused with the fact that caffeine from coffee is known to aid in losing weight, so how is coffee able to cause bloating?

Coffee can cause bloating but it’s the exception, not the rule. Some people who are especially sensitive to coffee or prone to acidity can experience temporary bloating. High amounts of sugar in coffee also contribute to bloating. Additionally, people with weak digestion can experience more serious bloating issues.

Bloating due to coffee typically lasts just a few hours and goes away on its own. You can alleviate the symptoms by cutting the sugar and milk in your coffee and switching to healthier sweeteners and dairy alternatives. If symptoms persist, you should consider cutting coffee altogether.

Caffeine is can help with weight loss but there are other factors involved in coffee drinking that results in bloating. Mostly coffee helps in depuffing your body because of its diuretic properties but some people who have become sensitive stomachs can get puffed and bloated.

Since coffee has many variations, the acidity that often causes bloating can vary too. For black coffee, which is a common variation, its acidity level can cause bloating or heartburn for some people. To prevent this, you can choose darker roast beans since they have a lower acidity level.

Don’t get so confused. Relax, I researched and found some really great things.

Let dive deep to find out more.

Why Does Coffee Make My Stomach Bloat?

Coffee makes your stomach bloat because your digestive tract gets overexcited by it. However, coffee itself is not the only culprit that makes you bloat. Other elements in your cup of coffee are highly responsible for the uncomfortable stomach bloat. It can be your caffeine sensitivity or lactose intolerance or just a digestive disorder.

A morning breakfast staple for every American who needs that caffeine fix is coffee. But have you have experienced, needing to go to the nearest restroom as soon as you gulped down your joe?

This is because coffee can irritate your digestive tract and cause gas and bloating. But how does this happen?

Here are 4 reasons how coffee makes your stomach bloat:

1. Coffee Foments the Digestive System

The digestive tract gets overexcited by the coffee. When you drink your cuppa in the morning, it aggravates peristalsis in your colon. Peristalsis is the constant contraction and relaxation of muscles similar to cramps. This can lead to uncomfortable spasms and bloating.

2. Coffee is Acidic in Nature

All coffee drinkers are familiar with its acidic nature. People with sensitive stomachs are more prone to the irritation caused by the coffee’s acidity. Like the effects you get after consuming chocolate or lemons, the irritation can lead to bloating.

Moreover, studies have found out that coffee promotes the release of gastrin. This hormone, as the name suggests, is a gastric hormone responsible for pumping the acid in our stomach for digestion.

Imagine drinking straight-up lemon juice on an empty stomach. Do you think your stomach will feel good all day? No, it wouldn’t be right. So, drinking coffee on an empty stomach would be equal to this.

Below is the chart of some Starbucks coffee with their ph levels. Please note that a tooth’s enamel dissolves below 5.50 ph level. This will provide more clarity for you:

Coffee TypepH Level
Black Coffee5.70
Caramel Latte6.36
White Mocha With Whole Milk6.30
White Mocha With Skim Milk6.26
Starbucks Regular4.85

3. Maybe the Milk and the Cream are the Main Villain

All dairy products contain Lactose. It’s a form of sugar found in dairy products like milk, cream, yogurt, ice cream, etc. When this dairy sugar enters our body, it gets broken down by an enzyme called lactase.

Lactase production can be a little less than normal making the person lactose intolerant resulting in bloating. Plus, lactase enzyme production also declines with age.

According to experts, 65 percent of people around the globe are somewhat Lactose Intolerant from childbirth. If you aren’t aware of whether you fall in this category try taking your coffee without dairy or go for plant-based creamers or milk.

Then keep a record of how your stomach feels.  Having said that, you can also take digestive enzymes for lactose-intolerant people if you absolutely cannot live without dairy in your coffee.

a red mug of black coffee being thrown in the air

4. Coffee with Artificial Sweeteners

I know having coffee without any sweetness can be a bit daunting. So, you opt for those blue or yellow packets to add to your cups like aspartame or sorbitol. But our bodies do not easily digest these artificial sweeteners.

The bacteria in our digestive tract feed on these and ferments them causing gas production and bloating. Prolonged use of these artificial sweeteners can cause many indigestion-like symptoms.

Keep in mind that these artificial sweeteners are present in energy drinks and sodas as well. Note down your beverage consumption to minimize the bloating.  

Here is an awesome video explaining this in finer detail.

short and sweet

How Do You Get Rid Of Coffee Bloat?

Coffee bloat can easily be flushed out by doing some simples things. Try and limit your coffee, avoid dairy, avoid artificial sweetness, and do not consume anything high in sodium.

Coffee bloating is more common than you might think. Many people get bloated due to coffee consumption but don’t really realize it. Thankfully, it can be easily be cleared. Listed below are ways through which you can avoid that uncomfortable stomach bloat.

1. Limit the Consumption of Coffee

Though coffee has been proven to improve the overall health of the body, consuming more than 3 cups a day can make you end up in a really bad state.

Your whole health can go downhill starting from a little bloating. The excessive cortisol level due to the caffeine intake can make your gut churn and lead to bigger problems.

2. Cut the Milk and the Cream

Black coffee sounds horrible? You don’t have to drink it that way. Instead of using cow milk opt for plant or nut-based milk. My personal preference is sweetened almond milk.

It gives my coffee that nice nutty sweetness with a creamy texture. Also, if you are habitual of adding cream to your coffee, use plant-based creamers like the Nescafe Coffeemate. They give coffee the richness you are used to from dairy cream.

3. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

These are some sneaky additives that find their way in almost all kinds of beverages. But now be mindful before mixing them in your coffee. Use natural sweeteners like honey or brown sugar.

And, as an alternative to cane sugar, you can use Stevia. Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from a plant. So even vegans can have it in their coffee. In addition, also avoid any kind of alcohol as it’s jampacked with sugars which can further irritate your stomach.

4. A Big No to Sodium

All processed food like chicken nuggets has tons of sodium in it. Sodium is notorious for retaining water in your body. You know celebrities stop consuming sodium days before their photoshoots or red carpet events so that they have no bloating.

Avoid eating all kinds of processed food. Eat tons of fruits that have fiber, which would improve indigestion. This may include:

  • Kiwi
  • Strawberry
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Melon
a smoothie bowl full of fruits like strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and granola.

Does Coffee Bloat Your Face?

Coffee does not bloat your face. However, it does bloat your stomach. Especially those who are caffeine sensitive.

For some people coffee helps them with shedding some pounds, But, overdosage can develop a caffeine sensitivity which takes a toll on your gastric functionality. Your morning cup of joe sure makes your stomach bloated but it does not make your face bloat.

When we drink coffee, the cortisol-the very compound that we produce when we’re anxious or terrified is released into our bodies.

Sadly, our bodies can’t differentiate among caffeine and alarm system which has been activated by cortisol. Your stress reaction is something similar. This expands glucose levels, which get transformed into fat. Most commonly stored on your stomach, which contributes intensely to bloating.  

Can Coffee Damage Your stomach?

Coffee can damage your stomach if you consume it on an empty stomach daily or if the sheer volume of caffeine in your coffee is way above the daily advised amount, it can disrupt the stomach lining. The acidic environment caused by coffee can make ulcers in your stomach.

I wrote an article about how coffee can affect your digestive system and in it, I also explained how it can affect the stomach, you can read it if you’re interested.

With having lots of positive impacts on your health, its acidic nature can harm your stomach drastically. Coffee stimulates gastrin as soon as it enters the stomach. This increased amount of acid present can cause serious issues like ulcers, gastric discomfort, gastritis, and acid reflux.

Gastric Ulcers are sores present in your stomach. It does not cause gastric ulcers but can slow down the healing process immensely. People who already have gastric ulcers should stop consuming coffee immediately.

Lastly, the stomach lining’s inflammation is called Gastritis. Its indications are acid reflux, bloody vomit, indigestion, stomach pain, cramps, hiccups, and stools. Helicobacter pylori bacteria is the reason for gastritis. Helicobacter Pylori debilitates the stomach lining, permitting gastric acids to aggravate it even more. Also, drinking coffee overly might expand your weakness to H. pylori. This can lead to serious damages to your gut.

My Thoughts

Always be mindful of what you are putting in your body especially when it comes to a daily ritual that you follow. Although coffee can make your stomach bloat, coffee bloating is not a big issue if taken care of immediately.

Though the bloating is temporary and should not last long, it can be very troublesome. Opt-out whole milk with plant-based options and also lessen the coffee intake to minimize the acidic effects.

Observe how your body reacts after the coffee and write it down in a notebook. This practice will help you keep track of your food items, plus you can pinpoint if some additives from your coffee are actively making you bloat.  If any symptoms persist longer than normal seek medical help immediately.

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