Why Some People Should Rethink Their Morning Cup Of Coffee

A cup of coffee in the morning is a habit that borders on sacred for many people. That irreplaceable aroma and jolt of caffeine to wake us up ... There's nothing like it. That's why roughly 90% of all older coffee drinkers (a large proportion of the 62% of all Americans that drink coffee daily) opt to have their cup of Joe in the earlier hours, according to the National Coffee Association. And it's important to remember that coffee is doing way more than just making us ready for the day when we drink it in the morning: It also helps to bolster our brain health, keeps our hearts and our livers in good working order, and may even help us live longer, says Healthline.

But unfortunately, it's not all good news. While coffee is beloved by folks across the world, for certain people, drinking it in the morning could be a seriously bad idea. And in certain cases, it's wise to ditch the bean entirely, either temporarily or for good. We wanted to dig a little deeper into the situations where that's a good idea, and we've laid them all out here for you.

Coffee can impact an overactive bladder

While coffee is good for many things, trying to keep away from the bathroom is not one of them. With the caffeine in the drink acting as a diuretic, your morning cup of coffee could increase the frequency that you need to urinate (per the Mayo Clinic), especially in those early hours of the day when you're trying to get everything done. While this may be a mere inconvenience for some people, if you have an overactive bladder, increased urination may become a problem, as WebMD states. This could result in incontinence symptoms, as well as trouble holding in your pee.

While it may not be necessary to remove coffee from your diet entirely, it's advisable to reduce the amount of caffeine you drink to under 100 milligrams each day. This limit is just over the amount in a regular cup of coffee, according to Healthline. If you're especially triggered by caffeine, try mixing your regular coffee blend with a decaf blend, or drinking pure decaf in the morning. It's also advisable to reduce other potential triggers from your diet for your bladder, like alcohol, carbonated drinks (which can also often contain caffeine), and food and drinks that have artificial sweeteners.

Pregnant people may want to reduce their coffee intake

Pregnancy is a time of enormous change, and you may find that what was a totally inconsequential habit before pregnancy may not be the case during. And if you were on a morning coffee kick before you became pregnant, it's wise to consider how much you're drinking.

Pregnant people should attempt to limit their coffee intake to one cup per day or to ensure they're not consuming more than 150 to 200 milligrams daily, according to KidsHealth. If you consume more than this consistently, it can heighten your risk of complications during pregnancy, and could result in a lower overall birth weight or increased potential for miscarriage (per Pregnancy, Birth and Baby). 

As a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition shows, the potential effects of caffeine on a fetus can become more pronounced the farther into pregnancy you are. The study's authors noted that by the third trimester, caffeine may be cleared through the system far slower than in the second, and slower still than in the first, therefore increasing exposure and the potential for complications for the baby.

Your coffee could place stress on your heart

Anyone who's ever drunk a little too much coffee can attest to the unnerving effect it can have on your heart rate. But while this is merely a temporary nuisance for some, it could be more problematic for people who have cardiovascular conditions. 

"As the caffeine from coffee can cause temporary increases in blood pressure and heart rate, it's important for anyone with pre-existing heart conditions to talk with their healthcare provider about if/how much coffee is safe to consume," warns registered dietitian Kelly McGrane (via Eat This, Not That!). And drinking multiple cups of coffee a day could also cause cardiovascular conditions, like high blood pressure, in certain cases (per the NHS).

However, it's not all doom and gloom for your heart with coffee. As a review published in Circulation: Heart Failure shows, drinking higher amounts of coffee could even reduce your risk of cardiovascular conditions and heart failure. If you do have a heart condition, though, it's highly advisable to check with your doctor before increasing your caffeine intake, and even if you don't, to consume caffeine in moderation.

IBS can be made worse by coffee

People who live with IBS will know how important it is to remain vigilant around their triggers. And unfortunately, a morning coffee could be just the trigger that you don't need. 

Coffee is problematic for people with IBS due to its caffeine content, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. The hormones released upon drinking coffee, and the caffeine that comes with it, prompt your gastrointestinal system to speed up your digestive process, which can result in IBS symptoms and an increased likelihood of diarrhea (per Well+Good). What's also useful to remember is the fact that higher amounts of coffee can spike your stress levels, thanks to the release of adrenaline it provokes in your system, says Healthline. This may prove doubly difficult for people with IBS, for which stress is a factor and a potential instigator of symptoms

If you really can't go without your morning coffee, though, it could be worth trying to switch to a decaf version or a less caffeinated blend. Opting for a lighter-roast coffee may help with this, as they tend to be less caffeinated (and may be less impactful on your gut).

If you're anxious, coffee might not help

If you're like us, you'll understand what it's like to have a busy mind now and again. And if you experience anxiety, either on occasion or persistently, it may not be the best idea to buy that super-size coffee mug. 

There's an established link between drinking higher amounts of caffeine and anxiety, due to the way the chemical interacts with our hormonal release systems, as Healthline discusses. When we drink caffeinated coffee, our bodies release adrenaline to make us feel more awake, while also limiting the production of adenosine, a chemical compound that makes us tired. However, when we have too much caffeine in our system, this effect becomes not just energizing, but anxiety-inducing.

What complicates matters even more is that drinking copious amounts of caffeine can interrupt our sleeping patterns. And when we lose out on sleep, we may end up feeling even more anxious, creating a vicious cycle of caffeine consumption and subsequent restlessness (per the Sleep Foundation). That's why it's super important to keep an eye on your caffeine intake and not exceed the recommended upper limit of around 400 milligrams daily, per the FDA.

Epilepsy symptoms can be triggered by coffee

Managing epilepsy is a day-to-day experience for many people, and paying attention to triggers is crucial. So if you're thinking of introducing a morning coffee into your routine, it might be worth knowing the risks. According to research published in Epilepsy & Behavior, consuming caffeine appears to increase the risk of experiencing seizures. It was also observed by researchers that caffeine could make antiepileptic drugs less effective, although it should be noted that this was seen in non-human studies.

Crucially, though, research on the link between caffeine and the potential for seizures isn't conclusive yet, as Epsy points out. And it's also worth knowing that in other studies, drinking caffeine was seen to make seizures less likely, by increasing the seizure threshold of the subjects consuming it. The vital thing to remember is that everyone's experience of epilepsy is different, and caffeine sensitivity (and its potential effects on the likelihood of seizures) will vary from person to person. If you're at all concerned about the effect that caffeine could have on your epilepsy, speak to your doctor.

For people with caffeine sensitivity, coffee can be a risk

Have you ever noticed that after a few sips of coffee, you're bouncing off the walls, while your friends are seemingly unaffected? If that sounds like you, you might have a caffeine sensitivity — and if you do, drinking that morning coffee could be more troublesome than you think. 

Caffeine sensitivity can be caused by your genetic makeup or may be prompted by external factors like a new medication, as Healthline explains. And as you might expect, the symptoms of caffeine sensitivity are, well, feeling very caffeinated, with anxiety, a faster heartbeat, headaches, and restlessness occurring after just a few sips of coffee.

While caffeine sensitivity can often be confused with a caffeine allergy, they're entirely different conditions, with caffeine allergies prompting a response similar to that of other allergies (like hives or irritated skin). If you have caffeine sensitivity, by far the wisest thing to do is to limit your caffeine intake or remove it from your diet entirely. Some people may find that they're able to drink a smaller amount of caffeine without negative consequences. Interestingly, the opposite can also be true: caffeine hyposensitivity affects around one in ten people, and those people can drink way more coffee without feeling any significant effect, according to a study published in Human Molecular Genetics.

Coffee can worsen GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a hugely common condition worldwide, and in the United States, roughly a fifth of all people experience it, according to a review published in the journal Gut. And if you're one of that 20%, you'll know that what you eat and drink can have a huge impact on your symptoms — and morning coffee is one such beverage that should be avoided. 

A study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics found that when participants drank coffee, they experienced more pronounced reflux symptoms, in contrast to drinking tea or just water (which didn't produce the same effect). However, a further study published in Saudi Medical Journal found that tea did prompt GERD symptoms, as well as coffee. This could be due to the caffeine in coffee, although it should be stated that research around the specific effects of caffeine on GERD symptoms remains inconclusive, as Medical News Today points out. 

If you're finding that your morning coffee is causing you heartburn or acid reflux, it's probably best to cut it out. Switching to herbal teas, decaffeinated coffee, or chicory coffee may provide relief from your symptoms while still allowing you to get your hot drink fix.

People on blood thinners might want to skip the morning mug

What we eat and drink can have a powerful impact on our cardiovascular health, but sometimes, medication is needed to treat short- and long-term conditions. However, if you're placed on warfarin — a medication intended to battle against blood clots and often prescribed to individuals to treat embolisms and after heart attacks (per MedlinePlus) — it's important to consider your diet and your coffee habits. 

According to a study published in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, caffeine can have a notable impact on the effectiveness of warfarin, making its anticoagulant effects even stronger. The researchers conducting the study stated that coffee, as well as tea, should be limited when taking warfarin.

The drink may also change the effectiveness of antidepressants, as WebMD states. Taking Diflucan, an antifungal, while also drinking coffee could also impact how quickly your body cycles through the caffeine you've ingested, meaning that you stay caffeinated (and potentially too buzzed) for longer. This effect can also be observed if you're taking estrogens.

Type 2 diabetes treatment may be affected by coffee

People with type 2 diabetes will already be keenly aware of how their diet can interact with their condition. But while carbohydrates (which affect blood sugar) might be the main thing you're looking out for, you may also want to examine your coffee habit. 

Research conducted by the Duke University Medical Center found that drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, and soft drinks could have an impact on blood sugar levels, and therefore be counterproductive for people who are trying to control them (per Diabetes UK). The individuals who took part in the study experienced an 8% increase in their blood sugar levels after ingesting caffeine, a pretty notable effect.

However, this study wasn't without its limitations. "Although this is interesting research, the study only examines a sample of 10 people for a 72-hour period, which proves very little," Diabetes UK care advisor Cathy Moulton says. It may indeed be the case that, if you have diabetes, you can consume regular amounts of caffeine without any notable impact, as the Mayo Clinic states. If you have any concerns about how your coffee habit might affect your type 2 diabetes, it's wise to talk them through with your doctor. And remember, as Moulton states, exercising regularly and maintaining a nutritious diet is the best way to keep your blood sugar in check.

If you're breastfeeding, you may want to limit caffeine

Having a new baby can be the most exciting (and stressful) time in a person's life. But if you're breastfeeding, you might need to consider how your diet might affect the diet of your new little one. 

While drinking coffee isn't strictly off-limits when you're breastfeeding, your breast milk can be affected by the amount you drink, with decreased iron levels and trace quantities of caffeine in the milk that could then impact your baby, as WebMD states. It's for this reason that it's useful to try and limit the daily amount of caffeine you consume to 300 milligrams or less during your breastfeeding period.

Bear in mind, too, that if your breast milk does have caffeine in it, its potency will vary from baby to baby. Older babies are generally able to process caffeine quicker, whereas newborns may keep it in their system for several days. If you can't cut your caffeine entirely, it's advisable to avoid drinking any caffeine until you've fed your baby, or to give it a minimum of three hours after your cup of coffee before you feed again. That'll make sure that the caffeine has passed through your system sufficiently and won't affect your child.

Individuals who are predisposed to glaucoma should avoid coffee

Morning coffee is pretty much the go-to for waking yourself up in the morning and enlivening your senses for the day ahead. But when it comes to your eyesight, certain people might do well to avoid turning on the coffee machine entirely. 

Research published in the journal Ophthalmology used a large medical database based in the UK to discuss the link between caffeine consumption and the development of glaucoma. The researchers found that while drinking higher caffeine levels were not associated with developing the eye condition in everybody, for people who had a higher genetic predisposition to it through a higher intraocular pressure (IOP), glaucoma risk was increased when paired with caffeine intake.

Bear in mind that risk appeared to be directly associated with the amount of caffeine people drank, and for folks drinking three to four cups of coffee's worth, it was way higher. It's also useful to remember that glaucoma tends to be symptomless until eyesight starts to deteriorate. Therefore, you may not even know that your caffeine habit is having an impact. Consulting with an eye specialist can help you assess your risk factor for glaucoma and adapt your habits accordingly.

Finding it hard to sleep? Put down that coffee cup

Let's be real: Most people know that coffee isn't going to help you nod off to sleep. But if you're already experiencing bad sleep quality, coffee may not be your best friend, despite it assisting in waking you up. "It is understandable to reach for a cup of coffee (or more) after a poor night's sleep, yet your coffee habit may perpetuate a cycle of poor sleep and fatigue," warns registered dietitian Sue Heikkinen (via Eat This, Not That!).

As we move through our days in a waking state, our brains build up a store of adenosine, a chemical that makes us sleepy and sends us off to a good night's rest (per the Sleep Foundation). But when we drink coffee, the caffeine in it blocks that build-up, keeping us feeling awake. This means that if we're drinking coffee to combat a lack of sleep, we may inadvertently be preventing sleep later on. Heikkinen further states that coffee may not just stop us from going to sleep, but may inhibit our sleep quality overall, particularly if we're trying it closer to bedtime.

People with osteoporosis might want to watch their intake

A considerable number of people in the U.S. have osteoporosis, and an even larger number (approximately 43 million people) are at risk of developing the condition later in life through low bone mass, according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Adapting your diet to suit the needs of your condition is an important step in keeping your bones as healthy as they can be, and limiting your coffee intake could be a wise move. 

"You lose about 6 milligrams of calcium for every 100 milligrams of caffeine ingested," states Washington State University professor of human nutrition Linda K. Massey (via WebMD). Calcium levels are crucial to maintaining bone health, and given that some coffees contain vast levels of caffeine (with 320 milligrams of the stimulant in some 16-ounce cups), your coffee habits could have worrisome implications for your skeleton.

Remember, too, that other dietary components can affect your bones massively. A diet high in salt has been observed to cause calcium loss, and drinking carbonated drinks, which are often high in phosphorus, can prompt your body to lose more of the mineral, too.