Is It Bad to Drink Coffee on an Empty Stomach?

For most of us, the answer is no. But your symptoms may worsen if you have a sensitive stomach, are predisposed to certain gastrointestinal conditions such as reflux, or already have damage to your stomach lining, says Kim Barrett, professor of physiology and membrane biology at the University of California at Davis’ School of Medicine, in The Washington Post.

The caffeine in that first shot of coffee may also increase the effect of cortisol, which is usually highest in the morning. Cortisol is the stress hormone that produces the fight-or-flight response and can also raise blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and love your morning coffee, you might want to make sure you are combining healthy carbs with protein to balance out your blood sugar levels.

Even though coffee can be acidic and stimulate the production of stomach acid, this is not likely to be a problem for most people, and the stomach is “extremely well equipped to protect itself,” said Barrett.