If you are like most people, you start your day with a fresh cup of coffee. Coffee is a great way to start your day because the caffeine it contains makes you feel alive and more energized to tackle the day. There are many people who feel like using the bathroom about 20 minutes after taking their morning coffee. Some think the caffeine in the coffee causes this and switch to decaf. This article will explore why coffee makes you feel that way and if switching to decaf can help stop it from happening.
Effects of Coffee on the Bowel
One of the most fascinating things about this subject is that there are still disagreements about why coffee makes you poop. So, why does caffeine make you poop? One thing we know is that coffee activates what is known as gastrocolic reflux.
Coffee stimulates the muscles of the stomach, and this happens all the way from the stomach to the small intestines and colon. Once these contractions reach the bowel, then you will have bowel movement.
What about caffeine? Does caffeine make you poop? Caffeine is the main stimulant in coffee. It is the reason you feel energized when you take a cup of coffee in the morning, and it works in tandem with chlorogenic acid to provide several weight loss benefits.
Caffeine stimulates all parts of the body, with the gastrointestinal tract being one of them. In addition to the higher stomach acid causing bowel movements, caffeine is thought to be the primary reason for the contractions that lead to coffee making you poop.
Some people theorize that it is the acid in the coffee that causes the bowel movement. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid which triggers the body to produce more stomach acid. Because the body wants to protect itself from damage caused by the acid, it triggers bowel movements to get the acid contents out of the body as quickly as possible.
However, this is only a theory because both caffeinated and decaf coffee contains hundreds of chemicals that can trigger these higher stomach acid levels. If you take decaf coffee, does decaf coffee make you poop? If the answer is yes, the reason may be a combination of all the chemicals, solubles, and compounds found in coffee.
Lastly, some think the oils in the coffee beans used to make the coffee cause bowel movement. This is still not very clear since there is little research done on this.
So, is coffee a laxative? Yes, it acts as a laxative. Both decaf and caffeinated coffee have this effect, but the caffeine in caffeinated coffee produces more of this effect. So, if you feel like using the bathroom after taking a cup of coffee and feel like you are doing it too regularly, try to go with a decaf cup of coffee.
Other Factors Are at Play
People believed for a very long time that the caffeine in the coffee made you poop. However, as we have seen above, decaf coffee still makes you poop which means there are other factors at play. Apart from the oils and acids we have discussed above, scientists have discovered that the art of drinking also activates our bowels. The result is the movement of food through the intestines and to the rectum which makes you feel like using the bathroom.
This sensation is also present when we eat food which can help us theorize that no matter what is in your coffee, the simple act of drinking coffee can make you poop.
The second factor is your body’s internal clock. If you have a regular sleep schedule, your body adjusts such that your bowels are very active in the morning. With coffee helping stimulate your bowels at this time, you may feel like using the bathroom more than you would if you just woke up and went on with your day.
Taking coffee has been shown to stimulate the production of certain hormones, notably gastrin. Gastrin plays an important part in telling your body to push food through the colon as it makes it more active. In studies over the years, scientists found that the levels of gastrin increased to between 1.5 and 2.7 times their normal amount in regular coffee drinkers.
The relationship between coffee and bowels does not end there. Coffee has also been shown to increase the levels of a hormone known as cholecystokinin, another gastric hormone involved in bowel movements. This hormone has also been associated with the gastrocolic effect discussed above.
Is Decaf Coffee Better?
The only difference between decaf and regular coffee is the amount of caffeine in the coffee. When talking about bowel movement and using the toilet, there is no demonstrated difference between the two, although there are differences in how you feel when you take either type of coffee.
If coffee makes you poop, you may also experience diarrhea, bloating, and cramping. Some people also feel jittery after taking a regular cup of coffee. However, these effects are quite rare in most people and there is no problem with taking a regular cup of coffee as long as you keep it below two cups a day.
Decaf coffee produces less of these effects because they are mainly caused by many of the other compounds in the coffee.
What About Decaf Coffee with Milk?
Anything you add to your coffee will affect how the stomach acts after taking the coffee. Adding milk, sugar, and other flavorings to your cup of decaf coffee has been shown to have an added negative effect on the stomach where the stomach gets more aggravated.
Additionally, in people who do not have lactose intolerance or with the other ingredients you can add to the coffee, adding milk or cream has been shown to reduce some of the positive effects you get from drinking coffee. You also have to remember that milk, cream, sugar, and other flavorings add to the calorie count of the coffee, and this can negate the weight loss benefits that come with drinking coffee.
Does Coffee Make Everyone Poop?
Studies on this subject show that about 30% of all people feel like using the bathroom within 20 minutes of drinking coffee. Over half of all women in the study were affected, which can be explained by studies that confirm women are more commonly affected by gastrointestinal issues than men.
Because the symptoms do not subside in regular coffee drinkers who were already affected in the first place, you may wonder how to stop coffee from making you poop. One good way of reducing this effect is taking decaf coffee. While decaf coffee has been shown to have the same bowel movement effects as regular coffee, its lack of caffeine means this effect is less pronounced.
The second thing to do is to reduce the flavorings, milk, and cream you add to your coffee. Each of these additives can produce its own effects which can make the effect of coffee worse.
Is it Healthy to Use Coffee as a Laxative?
Doctors and nutritionists say that if coffee makes you feel like using the bathroom, then there is no problem in using it as a laxative. The question then becomes, is decaf coffee a laxative? In some cases, and in some people, it can be. Remember that the effects of decaf coffee on the bowels are somewhat muted and it does not have as strong an effect as regular coffee.
Researchers agree that about 400 mg a day for people who want to use coffee as a laxative is perfectly fine. This is about four cups of coffee. The first thing to keep in mind is to not take this amount regularly as it can lead to caffeine dependence.
The second is to avoid taking this amount of caffeine after noon. The caffeine will sit in your system, making you feel active and energized, which can be a great thing. However, you might have trouble falling asleep if all the caffeine has not passed through you. It can also affect the amount and quality of sleep you get so be careful about taking large amounts of caffeine in the afternoon.
Energy Drinks That Contain Caffeine
At this point, you might be asking “is it the caffeine or coffee that makes you poop?” if you take energy drinks that contain caffeine. While these drinks have been shown to produce effects like jitters and higher energy levels, they do not make you poop.
This is further proof that there is something in the coffee beans that make you poop, regardless of where you take a regal cup of decaf coffee.
Many people feel like using the bathroom within 20 minutes of drinking coffee. You might think that regular coffee is the cause and switch to decaf. According to research, both types of coffee have this effect because there is something in the coffee beans that produces this effect. However, drinking decaf has been shown to reduce the severity of this effect in addition to coming with all the benefits you get from drinking coffee.