Can Coffee Cause Bloating?

You may look forward to your first cup of coffee in the morning, savoring the smell and the taste. Are you wondering, "Will coffee cause bloating?" You may want to examine your coffee drinking habits to figure out what is actually causing the distress.

Coffee doesn't cause bloating for most people. (Image: momnoi/iStock/GettyImages)

Tip

Coffee doesn't cause a bloated belly in everyone. Coffee has been shown to cause stomach distress in a minority of people, but if you're one of those people, one of the symptoms could be bloating.

Will Coffee Cause Bloating?

Coffee is sometimes thought to be a cause of stomach distress. Its acidic nature often leads people to think that drinking coffee can trigger stomach distress, and therefore some of the problems that go along with it, including bloating.

Drinking a cup of coffee doesn't cause gastrointestinal (GI) distress in most people, according to a study in the March 2016 Nutrition Journal. The authors wrote that the relationship between coffee and GI distress may only affect a minority of people who are sensitive to caffeine.

An April 2016 study in the journal Science showed that drinking coffee can actually increase the diversity of gut bacteria, making it a healthy drink. The study also indicated that greater gut diversity leads to better health. That conclusion was also reached in a study on gut bacteria in the April 2015 issue of the International Journal of Molecular Science. That study showed a link between caffeic acid, a phytochemical in coffee unrelated to caffeine, and an increase in the diversity of gut bacteria.

Is There Bloating From Coffee?

If your stomach is bloating after coffee, there may be a few explanations. One is that you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine, as mentioned in the Nutrition Journal study. Another, the study said, is that coffee in some people may stimulate the digestive tract. A third explanation is that coffee may give you heartburn. The Mayo Clinic suggests coffee can trigger heartburn in some people.

However, people who are sensitive to coffee are in the minority. A November 2018 study in the journal Scientific Reports states that coffee is effective and safe for helping the recovery of gastrointestinal function following abdominal surgery. Side effects from coffee consumption in the study included raised blood pressure and heart rate while it is being consumed. Sensitive people may want to avoid coffee.

Coffee actually reduces the risk of gallstone disease, according to a September 2015 study in the journal Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Coffee and Cream

If you are wondering whether coffee will cause bloating, you may consider what you put in your coffee. The American College of Gastroenterology says that many people who are lactose intolerant feel bloated after ingesting milk or cream. It lists dairy among foods that cause bloating for some people. This is because gas forms in the GI tract, and that can then cause bloating.

Lactose intolerance is most common among Americans of Asian, African, Jewish or Mexican descent, as well as Native Americans, says the Center for Young Women's Health. Anyone can have this, however. The bloating can happen anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours after eating or drinking foods with lactose.

If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to swap out cream or milk for soy milk, coconut milk or another non-dairy product. If bloating after coffee is something you continue to experience; however, you should check with your doctor.

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