For many of us, we’re not ourselves until we’ve had our first sip of coffee in the morning. But, shockingly, research indicates that the early hours of the day are in fact not the best time to drink your first cup of joe.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Bath has found that drinking coffee before eating in the morning can have a negative effect on blood sugar control – which could be a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.
“We know that nearly half of us will wake in the morning and, before doing anything else, drink coffee – intuitively the more tired we feel, the stronger the coffee,” researcher and Professor James Bett said in a statement, via CNN.
“Up until now we have had limited knowledge about what this is doing to our bodies, in particular for our metabolic and blood sugar control,” he added.
As part of the study, male and female participants slept from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am and were asked to consume a sugary drink upon waking up. According to CNN, the drink “mirrored the same amount of calories as a typical breakfast.”
In another experiment, they experienced a disrupted night’s sleep and were woken every hour via a text message they had to respond to. Again – they were asked to consume the same sugary drink when they woke up.
In a third experiment, participants experienced the same sleep disruption but were given a strong black coffee 30 minutes before consuming the sugary drink.
Researchers found that disrupted sleep, or not, participants’ blood glucose and insulin responses didn’t worsen. However, black coffee consumed prior to the sugary drink AKA ‘breakfast’ increased blood glucose response by about 50%.
CNN states that this suggests “relying on coffee after a bad night to stop feeling sleepy could limit your body’s ability to tolerate the sugar in your breakfast.”
Prof. James Bett noted that while “most breakfasts are rich in carbohydrate (often sugar)” if you consumed a low-carb or low-sugar breakfast “then that would certainly reduce (or even remove) the blood glucose spike we see after eating.”
He added that the best time to drink coffee isn’t within an hour before a carb-rich breakfast. Sorry, morning caffeine and carb addicts. Guess you’re going to have to establish a new routine in the am. Best of luck with it!
This article on the best time to drink coffee has been updated since its original publish date.