Coffee, the massively popular beverage often consumed first thing in the morning, may be sabotaging your long-term health, at least according to a new study from the University of Bath. The risk comes from drinking coffee soon after you get up in the morning, with researchers warning that it would likely be better for your health to only drink coffee after you’ve eaten breakfast. The reason has to do with coffee’s surprising impact on blood sugar.
The new study was small with only 29 participants who were tasked with consuming coffee before breakfast after a disrupted night’s sleep, as well as a glucose drink after disrupted sleep in a different experiment. Likewise, the participants also drank the glucose drink after a regular night’s sleep in a third experiment.
The findings were favorable…except for those who often drink coffee upon rising. Though a single night of sleep wasn’t found to impact the body’s ability to process the sugar in their breakfast, that was only true if they didn’t drink coffee first. When the participants were tasked with drinking strong black coffee after a disrupted night’s sleep, blood tests revealed that their body had a reduced ability to process blood sugar.
Maintaining proper blood sugar levels is of vital importance for long-term health, ranking up there with blood pressure and other health metrics to predict one’s long-term health profile. The findings indicate that it may be better to first eat breakfast, then drink coffee later on if you’re still tired. As well, coffee’s impact on blood sugar processing should be considered when one decides what types of foods to eat.
The study’s lead researcher Harry Smith explained:
These results show that one night of disrupted sleep alone did not worsen participants’ blood glucose/insulin response to the sugary drink compared to a normal night of sleep which will be reassuring to many of us. However, starting a day after a poor night’s sleep with a strong coffee did have a negative effect on glucose metabolism by around 50%.
As such, individuals should try to balance the potential stimulating benefits of caffeinated coffee in the morning with the potential for higher blood glucose levels and it may be better to consume coffee following breakfast rather than before.