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Getting bloated after drinking coffee is no fun.
Let me assure you, though, you are not alone with this problem.
As a Registered Dietitian, I work with many clients who get bloated and gassy after drinking coffee, and I’ve helped them understand why it happens and how to fix it.
So, why do you get gassy and bloated after drinking coffee? Here’s the short answer:
You can get gassy and bloated from coffee because the caffeine increases the stomach’s digestion speed and acid production, which all cause bloating. As well, it might not be the coffee but the ingredients you add to it (i.e., milk and artificial sweeteners) that make you gassy and bloated.
Figuring out why you get gassy and bloated from drinking coffee can significantly decrease the symptoms, as well as provide solutions to prevent it from happening.
Why Does Coffee Make You Gassy And Bloated?
1. You Have a Caffeine Sensitivity
Caffeine is one of the most potent stimulants.
People often search for coffee due to the benefits they obtain from caffeine (reducing fatigue, increasing energy, and boosting performance). However, for certain people (especially those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome), caffeine can be a very irritating molecule.
Caffeine is also a natural laxative, which is why many people need to run to the bathroom after consuming it.
This is because caffeine causes your digestive tract to start working faster. A faster digestive tract can lead to more movement of the contents in your stomach, which sometimes leads to bloating and gas.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t happen to everyone. It only happens to those who are sensitive to caffeine.
If you don’t know if you are sensitive to coffee, you can get a DNA test to help you determine if you are sensitive or not to caffeine consumption.
2. Coffee Is Acidic
Another reason you might get bloated and gassy from coffee is that coffee stimulates gastric secretion.
Your stomach releases acid to help digest your food. While some acid is good for your body, producing too much acid can lead to acid reflux, gastritis, and bloating.
Studies have shown that coffee can increase gastrin, a hormone that promotes your stomach’s movement and acid production.
As such, those with sensitive stomachs might get bloated after consuming coffee. The same can happen when consuming foods like tomatoes, chocolate, and citric foods.
The feeling of bloating can be accentuated when you consume coffee or any other caffeinated item on an empty stomach.
3. Coffee Can Increase Stress
The caffeine in coffee can spike your cortisol levels whenever you drink it.
The same hormone increases in your body when you’re under periods of high stress. In other words, it is your fight-or-flight hormone.
While most bodies can handle this sudden increase of cortisol out of nowhere, others can experience higher blood sugar levels from it.
This is a natural response from the body so it can have enough energy to flee a harmful situation, but it can lead to bloating.
4. You Are Sensitive to the Ingredients You Add
Finally, another reason you may get bloated and gassy after consuming coffee might not have anything to do with the coffee itself. It might be the things you add to it.
For instance, adding milk can increase the content of lactose you consume. Some people don’t produce lactase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down lactose. Research shows that over 65% of the population has some type of lactose intolerance.
When your body cannot break down lactose (due to the lack of lactase), lactose reaches your intestines intact, where your gut microbiome ferments it. This fermentation leads to boating and gas.
Artificial sweeteners you add to your coffee can also make you gassy and bloated.
Since your body doesn’t recognize the molecule of the artificial sweeteners, it can cause some irritation in your intestines, leading to bloating.
Also, the same thing that happens with lactose can happen with artificial sweeteners. The sweetener reaches your intestines, where your gut microbiome ferments it, causing an increase in gas.
How To Relieve Stomach Pain After Drinking Coffee
As I’ll discuss below, several remedies can help prevent you from getting gassy and bloated when you’re about to drink a cup of coffee. However, we first need to talk about what to do if you already had your cup of coffee and got bloated.
- If you had some creamer, milk, or artificial sweeteners with your coffee, you could take a digestive enzyme like Now Super Enzymes to help reduce your bloating. While they work best when you consume them 10 to 15 minutes before a meal, you can still take them afterward to aid digestion.
- Ginger is another natural remedy you can consume to aid in digestion. Consuming ginger can help reduce the symptoms of bloating and gas. You can consume ginger in tea form (with some lemon), on its own, in water, or in candied form.
- Moving more will also help reduce the symptoms. I know moving when you are bloated sounds painful, but make sure to walk around for a couple of minutes after drinking coffee to aid in digestion.
- Also, make sure to have a cup of water before and after drinking coffee to stay hydrated and reduce your symptoms.
- Finally, if you are getting bloated from coffee, you might have too much acid in your stomach. Have a couple of saltines to help absorb some of the acids and reduce your bloating.
Ways To Avoid Getting Gassy and Bloating From Coffee
1. Switch to Decaf
As discussed, caffeine is one of the main culprits for you getting gassy and bloated after drinking coffee.
The best solution for this is to switch to decaf.
While this might not give you the energy boost you are looking for, it can still allow you to have a nice warm cup of coffee in the morning without the nasty side effects.
If you switch to decaf and still get bloated, the coffee itself might be too acidic for your stomach.
So, let’s jump to the next point.
2. Choose a Different Coffee
The type of coffee you choose can majorly affect your symptoms.
Dark roasted coffee beans are lower in caffeine compared to those with a light roast. As such, dark roast coffee may not cause as much gas and bloating as lighter roasts.
Also, coffee beans that tend to be smaller can lead to more acid being extracted, making the coffee more acidic. This can increase the discomfort you feel after drinking it.
So, what are some brands of coffee that are low in acid that can help reduce bloating?
These options are all dark or medium roasts and are ideal for those who have gastrointestinal issues.
3. Use a Different Brewing Method
The brewing method can also affect the caffeine content, which impacts how bloated you get.
Research shows that if you want to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume, cold-brew coffee has the lowest caffeine content compared to other brewing methods.
4. Don’t Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach
If you tend to have high levels of stomach acid (you’ll know if you do if you often get heartburn or acid reflux after eating), never consume coffee on an empty stomach. This can lead to an increase in bloating and gas.
Whenever you drink coffee, you can also have some slices of toast, saltines, or any other carb option that can soak up some of the acids the caffeine might produce.
Also, avoid other highly acidic foods like citric acids, tomatoes, or other high-caffeine foods like chocolate when drinking coffee.
5. Be Careful With the Extra Ingredients
As we previously saw, the ingredients you add to your coffee might be the reason why you get gassy and bloated.
If you’re lactose intolerant, for example, avoid adding regular milk to your coffee. You can choose a lactose-free milk or a plant-based milk alternative to ensure you will not get any lactose in the mix.
Also, when it comes to sugar additives, stevia and monk fruit tend to be easier on the stomach since they are more natural. Avoid sugar alcohols (like erythritol) since they ferment in your intestines and produce gas.
It would be even better if you could drink your coffee without anything sweet. You can add some vanilla or cinnamon to add flavor without adding any sugar or sugar alternatives.
6. Eliminate Coffee
Finally, if all else fails, then let’s embrace it. Coffee is not for you.
In this case, make sure to avoid coffee and choose other caffeine-free options like herbal teas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Get Gassy When I Drink Coffee?
You can get gassy when you drink coffee because of the caffeine content. Caffeine can increase cortisol and stomach acid production, which increases the movement of your stomach’s contents. All of this causes gassiness. You can also get gassy from coffee if you are sensitive to the milk or sweeteners you add to it.
How Do You Prevent Gas From Coffee?
To prevent getting gassy from coffee, avoid adding any lactose (if you are lactose intolerant), stay away from artificial sweeteners, choose a dark or medium roast (which have less caffeine), and opt for cold brew coffee since it can have a lower caffeine content.
Does Black Coffee Cause Bloating and Gas?
Yes, black coffee can cause a lot of irritation to your stomach, increasing bloating and gas. Caffeine can increase the digestive tract’s movement, leading some people to bloat after drinking black coffee.
Does Decaf Coffee Cause Bloating and Gas?
Decaf coffee doesn’t cause as much bloating and gas, but it can still cause some symptoms. While caffeine is the main reason people get gassy and bloated from coffee, it is not the only reason. Regardless of the caffeine content, coffee is a highly acidic beverage that can irritate your intestines and cause bloating.
Other Foods That Can Make You Gassy & Bloated
- Eggs Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Can Nuts Make You Gassy & Bloated
- Garlic Make Me Gassy & Bloated
- Broccoli Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Oatmeal Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Salad Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Peanut Butter Makes Me Gassy
- Almond Milk Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
- Popcorn Makes Me Gassy & Bloated
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