Why Research Says You Might Want To Skip That Coffee Before Your Breakfast

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Cold Brew Coffee

If the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is go for a cup of joe, you wouldn't be alone. It's estimated well over half (64%) of American adults have at least one cup of coffee a day. But according to new research out of the University of Bath in the U.K., coffee first thing might actually be wreaking havoc on your body's ability to manage your blood sugar levels.

Studying the effects of coffee on metabolism.

For this study, researchers wanted to look at how poor sleep and morning coffee affected various metabolic markers. To do this, they gathered a small group of 29 men and women for three trials.

On one night of the study, the subjects slept normally and drank a sugary drink first thing in the morning. On another night, their sleep was disrupted by researchers every hour for five minutes, and they, again, drank a sugary drink upon waking.

And for the final test, participants had another disrupted night's sleep, but this time, they drank a strong black coffee half an hour before the sugary drink.

The drink was, calorie-wise, about how much your average breakfast might be. During each of the tests, the researchers collected blood samples to monitor subjects' metabolic markers.

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What they found.

The research suggests drinking coffee first thing may negatively affect blood sugar control. Thankfully, the same can't be said for one poor night of sleep, which is...better news?

In the first test, one bad night of sleep wasn't enough to worsen their blood glucose response upon drinking the sugary drink, but it was when coffee was consumed beforehand.

Previous research has indicated that coffee can result in insulin resistance, so this new data builds on that, suggesting that it may be best to eat before you sip.

So, no more morning coffee?

We drink a lot of coffee, and with the growing need to manage widespread chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease through stable blood sugar, these findings are significant.

"We know that nearly half of us will wake in the morning and, before doing anything else, drink coffee," notes professor James Betts in a news release. "Intuitively the more tired we feel, the stronger the coffee." But this research, he notes, shines a light on how coffee affects our metabolism and blood sugar control.

That's not to say we have to give up on our morning cuppa—you just may want to hold off for a bit longer in the morning. "We might improve this by eating first and then drinking coffee later if we still feel the need," Betts adds.

Sorry to all the folks who surely won't welcome this news, but now, you've been warned. Luckily, there are tons of healthy breakfasts out there to get your day going before you reach for your mug. Once you've eaten, you're at full liberty to start brewing.

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