With all due apologies to the importance of a healthy breakfast, there is no morning ritual more profoundly necessary than that first cup of coffee. But new research suggests that, while needed for general AM functioning, consuming coffee before eating after a bad night’s rest may actually have negative effects on your blood sugar and metabolism.
As reported by CNN, the study was performed by researchers at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom wanting to examine how sleep, blood sugar, and coffee interact in the body. For the study, 29 participants took part in three overnight experiments. For the first, baseline evaluation, participants had a normal night’s sleep—roughly eight hours—before consuming a sugary drink meant to approximate the caloric intake of a normal breakfast, which the researchers posit to be “rich in carbohydrates (often sugar).” For the second evaluation, participants had their sleep disrupted every hour via a text they had to respond to that would take roughly five minutes to answer. They were then asked to consume the same sugary beverage at the end of their sleep cycle.
For the third test, participants underwent the same disrupted night’s sleep as the second test, but were asked to consume a cup of black coffee 30 minutes for drinking the sugary beverage. After comparing the results for each of the three nights, researchers found that while a single night of disrupted sleep did not affect the participants’ blood glucose and insulin responses, drinking a cup of coffee before eating, however, affected the responses by around 50%. This, according to researchers, suggests that drinking coffee before consuming a sugary breakfast could hinder your body’s ability to process the sugar.
Researchers did note that if your breakfast is lower in carbohydrates, especially sugar, then the blood glucose spike they observed in the post-coffee meal would be reduced, if not removed entirely. Based on their findings, researchers suggest people not eat a carbohydrate-rich breakfast until at least an hour after consuming strong coffee.
No coffee before breakfast, so says Science. But if you're having trouble remembering which comes first, here's a little mnemonic device to help you out:
Breakfast before coffee, that's a good way to start off-y
Coffee before brekkie, darn it all to heck-y