Why does coffee cause bloating?

By Kristen Underwood — / Coffee Talk

How to limit the coffee bloat

Confession: I cannot start my day without coffee. Some call it dependency, some call it addiction. I call it ritual. But for anyone who’s trying to shed a few pounds, you may think it's worth taking a look at your caffeine intake—but it may not necessarily be the coffee itself that's causing the damage.

A woman with her hand on her stomach.

Here's why: When we drink coffee, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol- the same chemical that we produce when we’re stressed or scared. Unfortunately, our bodies can’t tell the difference between caffeine and danger on the horizon. Your stress response is the same. This increases blood sugar levels, which essentially are turned into fat, most commonly stored around your middle—this contributes heavily to bloating. 

Additionally, coffee can overexcite the digestive tract that can also lead to bloating. Many people with digestive issues already might experience more bloating when they drink coffee. And if you add things like cream and sugar, you're even more likely to bloat. 

While coffee has been proven over and again that caffeine can help you lose weight, some of the caffeine habits can be a bad thing if you're not careful. Luckily, there are ways to cut down on the bloating.

  1. Stick with a cup or two.

If you’re used to consuming 5 or more cups a day, this is for you. It’s very important to know the effects caffeine and cortisol can have on the body. Think of it this way, a little coffee is good for you just like little stress is good for you. 

  1. Cut the creamer.

Creamer alone can make you feel bloated. Try your coffee without creamer (or switch to dairy-free) and see how that measures up. Side note: If you make your own creamer, you'll know exactly what ingredients are going into your system.

  1. Easy on the sugar, pal.

While we can’t all be the perfect human cutting back on baked goods, ice cream and candy bars, a simple change in your coffee additives could make a world of difference in just one week with belly fat or bloating.

  1. Learn to relax.

Take deep breaths and time to relax. Meditation or relaxation helps to reset the body’s stress cycle. This will ultimately bring your cortisol level back to normal, preventing fat storage and bloating.

  1. Drink water between cups of coffee

We all know cutting coffee out completely just isn’t humane. Sipping water between coffees will slow down the bloating and hydrate you to boot.

Related: Does strong coffee hurt my stomach? 

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