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Study Shows We’ve Been Drinking Coffee All Wrong

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Dec. 28 2020, Published 2:15 a.m. ET

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Our inclination for decades has been to down a hot cup of black coffee right after waking up, but a new study shows that could be a big mistake. This new study from the Research Centre for Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism at the University of Bath has discovered that waiting until after breakfast to drink your coffee can improve your metabolism levels, especially if you’ve had a disrupted night’s sleep.

Blood sugar levels need to be kept within certain ranges to keep our bodies healthy and functioning at their optimum metabolic levels. The right range helps reduce our vulnerability to heart diseases, diabetes, and similar conditions.

“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 James Betts said. “This study is important and has far-reaching health implications as 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.”

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Researchers had 29 adults participate in three overnight scenarios in different sequences. The experiments were meant to study how disrupted sleep holds up against uninterrupted sleep and the affects of consuming coffee or sugar in the morning.

After each trial night, blood was drawn from the participants to study the affects on blood sugar response and metabolism. In the process, researchers learned that drinking coffee too soon after waking affects the body’s blood sugar response, spiking up by 50-percent compared to a post-coffee brew.

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“Put simply, our blood sugar is impaired when the first thing our bodies come into contact with is coffee, especially after a night of disrupted sleep,” Betts said. “We might improve this by eating first and then drinking coffee later if we feel we still feel the need for it. Knowing this can have important health benefits for us all.”

The study also showed that the body’s blood sugar response was similar when the study subjects experienced disrupted sleep versus uninterrupted sleep. The caffeine had the biggest impact on their metabolism levels.

A single night of disrupted sleep did not worsen the participants’ blood sugar levels at breakfast compared to that of a normal night’s sleep, but drinking coffee to remedy that bad night’s sleep does limit the human body’s ability to tolerate sugar at breakfast -whether that’s orange juice, cinnamon rolls, or starchy cereals.

Leader researcher, Harry Smith notes, “There is a lot more we need to learn about the effects of sleep on our metabolism, such as how much sleep disruption is necessary to impair our metabolism and what some of the longer-term implications of this are, as well as how exercise, for instance, could help to counter some of this.”

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By: Rita Pike

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theater, podcasting, and novel writing. She now writes about travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves a very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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