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Coffee and GERD

There are several good reason to ditch coffee. First off, it stimulates hydrochloric acid (HCL) production. This can be a problem because HCl should only be produced to digest meals. If your body has to make HCl more often in response to coffee, it may have difficulty producing enough to deal with a large meal. Protein digestion in particular is affected by a deficiency of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This can be a contributor to acid reflux (GERD), which is often caused by low stomach acid. Then antacids are about the worst thing you can take.

Also, acid reflux and heartburn can be caused by coffee due to the way it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter. This small muscle should remain tightly closed once you’ve eaten to prevent the contents of your stomach from splashing back into the esophagus and burning its delicate lining with hydrochloric acid. Even using decaf coffee regularly causes heartburn problems for some people and researchers think this may be due to other compounds in coffee which can contribute to acid reflux problems.

And if that’s not enough to deter you, drinking coffee for energy turns into a kind of jittery tension that is always on and makes it difficult to relax. Turning on the stress hormones with a cup of coffee when you’re eating also interferes with the digestive process. It can put you in a ‘fight or flight’ mode, and cause you to crave simple carbohydrates for fuel so you can fight or run from the enemy. But we don’t usually run today because we don’t actually have a tiger or a bear chasing us, so all those carbs just turn to fat.

Also, did you know that coffee is among the most heavily pesticide sprayed crops in the world?   According to the CS Monitor, conventional farmers apply up to 250 pounds of chemical fertilizers per acre! Pesticides contribute to a wide range of health problems, including prostate and other types of cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and miscarriages in pregnant women.1 Most people have far more than a small or occasional cups of high quality coffee, and often go for instant coffee, or even worse, that murky brown stuff out of an office coffee machine or vending machine. This is anything but good quality coffee and probably never organic. Drink green tea instead.


1 http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/30/if-you-drink-coffee-make-sure-it-is-organic.aspx accessed accessed 8/25/15


  1. Kim Parsons

    Do you know if similar issues are associated with drinking black tea? What about green tea? If there’s a difference between the affects of black tea versus green tea, what causes that difference? Thanks for any info you can provide.

  2. Hi how do I keep from getting a headache if I ditch coffee. Also thought one cup of coffee was actually good for you because of the anioxants. I drink starbucks sumantra brewed at home. Thanks Shonda

  3. Paul Henderson

    Can I assume this only applies to caffeinated coffee and that decaf coffee does not have these side effects?

  4. Hmmmm, I drink organic, shade grown arabica coffee with a splash of organic cream and never get any reflux. I can also go days without it and no headache. I think the problem is what we put in 95% of the time. If we are on a diet of whole, organic, grass fed type of foods we should be ok to enjoy a quality cup of coffee.