Can coffee cause gas? The short answer is yes. But there’s more to it than just that. It could be because of your coffee, but your gas could also be caused by something added to your morning drink, such as milk.
Your gas could be caused solely by the caffeine in your coffee. Caffeine has a laxative effect, which speeds up the digestive tract. This can cause flatulence and even diarrhea in extreme situations. Switching to decaf can help alleviate these symptoms, but it won’t stop them completely, as caffeine would still be present.
Caffeine could also cause gas because of the energy it gives. It helps to release adrenaline, and even though this makes you feel more awake, it could also be hurting you. Your body recognizes the extra adrenaline as a threat and goes into ‘fight or flight’ mode.
This diverts a lot of energy from digestion, which causes the food in the stomach to travel into the small intestine too early. This process can cause injury to and inflammation of the GI tract.
Iced Coffee vs Cold Brew – What is the Difference?
In addition to caffeine, it is making coffee a perfect drink to cause an upset stomach. All coffee has an amount of acidity that is bound to make you uncomfortable.
This causes the stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid (HCL) than usual, leading to indigestion and later, gas. This acidity present in your coffee will damage the digestive tract and prevent its healing.
Coffee itself has a similar pH level as carrots, tomatoes, or watermelon. To say it in other words, coffee is slightly acidic but not that much that you’d expect major digestive issues. This leads us to conclude that acid production may be caused by caffeine. There are ways to obtain less acidic coffee. Drinking cold brew coffee can reduce the final acid level by 66%.
Also, coffee beans that are grown at lower altitudes tend to have significantly lower acidity levels. Finally, you can reduce the amount of acid by looking for coffee with higher NMP levels and lower C5HT and CGA levels. This combination was found to decrease the amount of stomach acid that drinking coffee created.
In conclusion, there are three options that you have to avoid or reduce bloating and gas from coffee:
- Drink low-acid coffees
- Switch to Cold Brew
- Stay away from coffee
The first option listed to avoid an upset stomach and problems with your digestive system is pretty straightforward but you might not always like the low-acid cups of joe when you’re used to something stronger. However, it’s a route you can take to reduce the bloating and gas you get from drinking coffee.
Switching to cold brew works well in the summer months when it’s hot outside. The iced beverage is smooth and refreshing and can help to keep you cool.
Lastly, not drinking coffee does care of the acid problem but it’s not really a solution. Many other drinks have acid levels much higher than coffee so you’d end with a rather limited selection. You couldn’t even switch to soda drinks as most of them have higher acid levels compared to coffee and may cause an upset stomach.
Problems with Additives
The gas you experience after your coffee may be caused by the things you add to your coffee. The artificial sweeteners you might put in your coffee are proven to alter the gut bacteria that control metabolism. This can lead to GI problems, which cause flatulence.
About 65% of all adults today are lactose intolerant. If you put milk or cream into your coffee and later experience gas, you could be lactose intolerant (You could use Soy Milk in Coffee instead). People with this condition are unable to digest lactose, which is a protein found in milk. Drinking milk or cream while lactose intolerant can cause both gas and bloating.
However, it is also shown that even people who are not lactose intolerant will still experience an upset stomach after drinking milk. This is because drinking too much milk will lead to it being digested in the large intestine.
When digestion takes place here, it usually leads to gas and diarrhea. As stated previously, coffee is already known to cause bloating, but creamer alone is, too. So, when added together, there is no doubt that it will cause bloating and gas.
A recent study showed that when people drank milk that contained 100% A1 beta-casein protein, they were prone to discomfort, inflammation, and bloating. However, the individuals that drank milk containing 100% A2 beta-casein protein presented none of these symptoms.
So, if you’re not lactose intolerant, but still think your gas has something to do with the dairy you put in your coffee, you should try milk containing A2 beta-casein protein instead.
Dark Roast or Light Roast
There is evidence that shows a connection between dark and light roast and stomach problems. A study from 2014 showed that N-methylpyridinium (N-MP) could cause an upset stomach. This chemical was found to become more present; the longer the coffee beans were roasted.
So, dark roast coffee was found to contain higher ratios of this chemical compared to light roast. However, dark roast usually has a lower caffeine content than a light roast, and caffeine was also found to upset the stomach.
In addition to this, drinking dark roast coffee was also found to have more health benefits than drinking light roast coffee.
A study published in 2010 also showed that dark roast produces an ingredient that stops the stomach from creating excessive HCL. So, dark roast coffee is probably to way to go if you experience gas after your morning pick-me-up.
Drinking decaffeinated coffee won’t give you the energy burst you’re used to, it will provide some relief. If you drink cold brew or coffee made with dark roasted coffee beans, the overall acid level will be less. Cold brew is your best choice when you want a chilled coffee with a reduced risk of flatulence.
It can also help if you are not drinking coffee on an empty stomach. Without food present in your stomach, the other acids and caffeine molecules brought from your coffee will upset your stomach and lead to gas.
If caffeine is the cause for the gas in your digestive system then you can also try to use decaffeinated coffee beans to brew coffee. Most of the caffeine is extracted which in turn can reduce bloating when you drink coffee.
You could also try to use a non-dairy creamer to prevent bloating caused by dairy additions. A large number of the adult population show signs of having lactose intolerance and using dairy products in your coffee can therefore be the reason for the bloating.
However, if you don’t think that dairy products are the cause of your bloating and gas, then milk could be helpful. The proteins found in dairy (α-casein, β-casein, v-casein, α-lactalbumin, and β-lactoglobulin) can cancel out a decent amount of acid in your coffee. These proteins bind to chlorogenic acid, which makes it less bio-available.
Chlorogenic acid is responsible for causing more gastric acid production and higher stomach acid levels. When this is more absent from your body, it allows an environment to form where the stomach acid levels will not increase above normal levels.
Something else you can do to reduce the amount of gas you have after your morning beverage is to try an herbal coffee alternative. Many markets now sell chicory as a healthy coffee alternative.
If you happen to have a digestive disorder, coffee should be avoided altogether.