Why You Need to Change WHEN You Drink Coffee

by Sarah Healthy LivingComments: 166

when to drink coffee

I spent the entire first day of the 2012 Wise Traditions Conference camped out in the room where Julia Ross was speaking.

Julia Ross is the acclaimed author of the books The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure.  It was my first opportunity to hear her speak, and I was not disappointed.

I took boatloads of notes that day and have enough material for several blog posts which I will write up in the coming weeks.

Today, however, I want to specifically address Julia’s discussion about coffee.

Julia Ross’ take on coffee is different from other speakers I have listened to before, and I wanted to share her warning about it because I think it’s something most coffee drinkers have no idea about.

Julia says that her main objection is that people drink coffee it first thing in the morning when they get up and then they end up skipping breakfast because coffee is a strong appetite suppressant.

Not to mention that coffee reduces (not increases as popularly believed) blood flow to the brain by about 25%.

Why The Worst Time to Drink Coffee is First Thing in the Morning

Skipping breakfast is a big no-no and not just because it increases your chances of overeating especially starches and sugars later in the day.

Skipping your morning meal does a number on your body’s ability to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin which is derived from the amino acid tryptophan.   Tryptophan, like all the amino acids, is contained in protein.  Meat is the best source of tryptophan but only from animals roaming on pasture (corn contains almost NO tryptophan so don’t eat beef from corn fed cattle or eggs from primarily corn/soy fed chickens).

Protein (food)  —–> Tryptophan (amino acid) —–> Serotonin (neurotransmitter)  —–> Melatonin (hormone for restful sleep)

Serotonin is what helps you feel happy, calm, and self confident even in the face of stress. Moreover, ample serotonin is important for a restful night’s sleep as the body converts serotonin into melatonin at dusk.  Inadequate melatonin results in insomnia problems.

Skipping breakfast in the morning short circuits the body’s ability to produce adequate serotonin throughout the day.  While eating protein later in the day definitely helps, because none was consumed at breakfast, your body ends up playing serotonin catch up all day every day.

Julia says that we all need about 20-30 grams of protein 3X per day to fulfill our body’s requirement for amino acids in order to produce adequate neurotransmitters like serotonin.   If you are already deficient in serotonin, supplementation may be required for a short time to regain neurological balance.

Long story short and this topic of neurotransmitters tends to get rather complicated, if you must drink coffee, then at the very least, wait until after breakfast to do it!

This way, the impact on your serotonin levels will not be as severe as drinking coffee first thing in the morning and skipping breakfast due to the appetite suppressing effects.

You may find that this one simple change alone will leave you feeling happier, more emotionally flexible, less stressed, and with increased ability to tackle whatever challenges you face each day with improved self confidence.

If you suspect that your serotonin levels are in the tank and you need neurotransmitter supplementation to help you with worry, anxiety, OCD thoughts or actions, depression, panic attacks, and/or chronic insomnia, Julia Ross recommends this dosage with the amino acid tryptophan:

  • 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP – sources):  50 mg in the mid-afternoon and before bedtime.


  • L-tryptophan (sources) : 500 mg in the mid-afternoon and again before bed especially if insomnia is a problem.

Note that 5-HTP is cheaper than L-tryptophan but some people get nausea from it, so switch to L-tryptophan if 5-HTP doesn’t work for you.

For children, start with a fraction of the dose above and only use L-tryptophan.

Raise the dosage as needed to eliminate low serotonin symptoms.

Once You’ve Got Your Serotonin Deficiency Under Control, Now What?

Once you’ve started eating breakfast again and put off your coffee until after you eat in the morning, you might perhaps feel motivated to try and get off coffee completely.

According to Julia Ross, people who crave chocolate, coffee, alcohol and even exercise are typically low in the neurotransmitter endorphin.   Using supplementation of those amino acids that are precursors to endorphin may really help in trying to shake the coffee habit.

  • Amino acid d-phenylalanine (DPA): 500 mg, 2-4X/day.  Use DPA if you are addicted to coffee and also an anxious person.


  • Amino acid d-phenylalanine (DPA) bound to the amino acid I-phenylalanine (LPA) – known in combination as DLPA:   500 mg, 2-3X/day.   Use DLPA if you crave the energizing effects of coffee and are not typically an anxious person.

Do you think a deficiency of neurotransmitters might be the reason some folks love their coffee so much?

Are you game to try these approaches to help balance brain chemistry without the need to drink coffee first thing in the morning?  Please share your experience with all of us in the comments section.

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


More Information

The Truth About Your Morning Coffee Fix

How Bulletproof Coffee Shoots You in the Foot

Is Caffeine Causing Your Chronic Back Pain

Coffee and Gluten Sensitivity

Healthy Coffee Substitutes

Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac? Don’t Drink Coffee!

Picture Credit


Comments (166)

  • David Johnson via Facebook

    seriously people, my great grandma drank coffee every morning and lived to be in her late nineties. This is a form of fear mongering. Drink your coffee when ever you want and be happy.

    December 13th, 2012 1:21 pm Reply
  • Ave Maria via Facebook

    Precisely. Just because something doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone. There are many health benefits to coffee as well. One chemist/natural doctor I know suggests everyone drink it because it protects your thyroid from iron poisoning. And coffee does NOTHING to supress my appetite. I eat a very hearty breakfast (-:

    December 13th, 2012 1:27 pm Reply
  • Sarah S.

    Thank you for this post, it’s definitely a good thing to keep in mind. So many people think that skipping breakfast is a good thing – especially when they are obsessed with calorie counting. I do enjoy my morning coffee, but always make sure it’s during or after breakfast. Nice to hear this confirmed!

    Look forward to your forthcoming articles from the conference.

    December 13th, 2012 1:27 pm Reply
    • Mikki

      How about tea? I drink a cup or two first thing, green or oolong usually, not black, and still consume a hearty breakfast because I’m starving in the early a.m. I’m talkin’ a cup of bone stock followed by a raw milk/yogurt smoothie and then my bacon and eggs! I could eat a hearty American breakfast any morning too; two eggs, spuds, bacon or sausage and toast if offered. Oh, and my granny drank a cup of Joe every morning and was super healthy and lived to be 104! Me? I’m so glad I’m off The Bean; made me waaay to nervous and irritable. It took Fibromyalgia, an acupuncturist and a plan to get me off, but I haven’t had a cup in over 16 years. Guess what? Another perk, you don’t have bad breath or body odor when you get off coffee either. That was surprising!

      December 19th, 2012 10:27 am Reply
  • Francesca Tropea via Facebook

    May I ask, how do you know how coffee would’ve affected you personally and have experience enough to know that you and coffee don’t mix if you said you don’t drink it, NEVER HAVE, never will. Or do you mean you HAVE tried it, but you were never a “coffee drinker?” I was just confused by that.

    Fortunately, I always have an appetite. For breakfast and every other meal. 😉

    December 13th, 2012 1:28 pm Reply
  • Doug

    I’m a little confused. So does it matter when you drink your coffee as long as you still eat breakfast?

    December 13th, 2012 1:28 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It’s best to not drink coffee at all but if you really must drink it and that is your personal choice, then just be sure it is after breakfast and not before.

      December 13th, 2012 1:31 pm Reply
  • Aschwin Wesselius via Facebook

    David, that’s excluded from the fact that your grandma lived in a other period of time.

    Caffeine has a direct impact on your adrenal glands. It makes you adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline which gives you the ‘rush’. After a while your adrenal glands are exhausted and won’t give you any cortisol or adrenaline anymore.

    Given the fact that cortisol and adrenaline also get released when your body or mind is under stressful conditions your adrenal glands get further depleted. Something which didn’t happen that much before. Nowadays stressful conditions are around every corner.

    Exhausted adrenal glands together with imbalanced thyroid are one of the major factors people get sick.

    So, it’s fine if you want to drink coffee and feel fine but when you think you are constantly tired or fatigued you better skip your coffee for a while.

    December 13th, 2012 1:29 pm Reply
  • laura h

    Haters gonna hate. Lol.

    December 13th, 2012 1:31 pm Reply
    • Linda

      Oh laura you got that right! Here we go with the hate mail ! I do drink coffee. Didn’t start until i was about 58. And I do not skip breakfast…..so I guess I’m ok! :)

      December 13th, 2012 1:56 pm Reply
  • Jen Tavolacci via Facebook

    maybe so David, but a lot of people have become addicted to this beverage and are battling a “shitload” of issues. besides more obvious effects, how it changes mood is a HUGE one. our world is becoming more and more dependent on coffee/caffeine and most of it is certainly not getting any “happier”. frankly i think it’s an epidemic how crabby and ill prepared most people are on a daily basis. there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a cup o joe every now and again, but what’s the difference between being addicted to coffee and cocaine?

    December 13th, 2012 1:32 pm Reply
  • Sara James via Facebook

    I used to take 5HTP and it really helped me. I don’t drink coffee in the morning bc I’m too lazy to use our press, but I do make a cup in the early afternoon to have with cream because I enjoy it. It’s my one “happy treat” so if that’s the worst thing I do, oh well. :)

    December 13th, 2012 1:32 pm Reply
  • Margy Russell Spillers via Facebook

    I love coffee in the morning!

    December 13th, 2012 1:32 pm Reply
  • Sara James via Facebook

    Oh yes, and, having been crazy addicted to caffeine in the morning, I can attest that since drastically reducing my consumption, my mood is MUCH better and I sleep fabulously. I used to be angry, crave sugar, have horrible skin and think irrationally, all which I attributed to shot adrenals.

    December 13th, 2012 1:34 pm Reply
  • laura h

    Also, do you have a defined time limit on when to eat breakie?

    December 13th, 2012 1:35 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Before lunch? LOL :)

      December 13th, 2012 3:14 pm Reply
  • Charlotte Lee via Facebook

    I’d say people who lived through the Great Depression and two world wars understand stress. 😉
    I think a better point would be, don’t skip breakfast, not coffee is terrible for you.

    December 13th, 2012 1:35 pm Reply
  • Kristina Carmichael via Facebook

    Aw, Charlotte you beat me to it!

    December 13th, 2012 1:37 pm Reply
  • Kathy Baxter Morgan via Facebook

    I don’t know if I could even make breakfast if I didn’t drink my coffee first. LOL. The other bits about serotonin and fatigue are worth considering a change though.

    December 13th, 2012 1:37 pm Reply
  • Lyndsey Stark Stang via Facebook

    I tend to water down my coffee with raw milk. I’ve tested it with drinking that first thing in the morning vs after eating. I don’t get a major rush when there is just enough coffee for flavor unless there was more coffee than water when brewing. Still, I enjoy it more after breakfast. I did end up losing some much needed weight when I watered down coffee with raw milk which gave me that boost of energy to raw around with the kids and get things done. I then had breakfast and was good to go. Probably not the healthiest way to lose weight but it helped me a little more when I was at a stopping point of losing anymore weight before going to the gym.

    December 13th, 2012 1:37 pm Reply
  • Lyndsey Stark Stang via Facebook

    Coffee is okay, it’s really when you drink it depending on the caffeine amount yours has. I have noticed though that if I just have coffee and raw milk as breakfast, I end up crashing at the end of the day. Bad idea. That tells me right there that the best way for me to drink coffee is if I have food first,

    December 13th, 2012 1:40 pm Reply
  • CM

    Does it matter if the coffee is caffienated?

    December 13th, 2012 1:44 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      The protein in coffee (yes there is some believe it or not) triggers problems in some people so even caffeine free can be an issue.

      For me, it is not the caffeine in coffee that is the problem as I can drink tea on occasion and eat chocolate now and then without a problem. It is the coffee itself that totally destabilizes my body chemistry.

      December 13th, 2012 2:44 pm Reply
      • krista

        I would say if you are going to drink decaf, make sure it’s a water processed decaf and that your beans are only 100% Arabica (higher altitude, better quality, smaller family farms that don’t use chemicals) and locally roasted. The cheap, low altitude grown coffee (robusta beans) is highly fertilized processed & has 3x the caffeine and to decaf it, they soak it in chemicals like formaldehyde. All that coffee on the grocery shelves is what’s caused so many of the issues that coffee gets blamed for.

        December 9th, 2013 11:25 am Reply
  • Lisa

    Coffee wreaked havoc on me when I got addicted to having it several times a day during college. Now, I have about 4-6 oz most mornings, after I’ve eaten breakfast. I can take it or leave it without too much problem, but I love the taste and aroma. What do you think of teeccino as an alternative?

    December 13th, 2012 1:46 pm Reply
  • Jeannette Arrowood via Facebook

    I don’t really get a rush out of coffee. I just like how it tastes. so I drink it after my morning green smoothie with stevia and a splash of milk. only one cup though or it’s heartburn city man!

    December 13th, 2012 1:46 pm Reply
  • Sasha Garcia Degn via Facebook

    There are plenty of things we eat and drink that can do damage in large amounts. I managed to lose over a hundred pounds, the whole while drinking a large cup if coffee every morning, which I still do. When I was a couch potato and nearly 400 pounds I was not in the habit if drinking coffee every morning. Go figure. If you’re not overdoing it, don’t worry about it. Focus on your overall diet instead.

    December 13th, 2012 1:48 pm Reply
  • Michael Dontigney via Facebook

    Seems the article is more focused on not skipping breakfast. How about those of us that drink coffee every morning WITH breakfast?

    December 13th, 2012 1:49 pm Reply
    • Susan

      She said that you should do it after breakfast so to me it seems she addressed it.

      December 14th, 2012 11:16 am Reply
  • Kimberly Joy Crowley via Facebook

    Glad to see this. I’m VERY slowly getting off my habit of 4 cups day. My adrenals are now completely shot and my hormones very low which is leading to more issues. After living on coffee to get me through my day for the last 10 years, I’m now dealing with the consequences. But with everything moderation is key.

    December 13th, 2012 1:51 pm Reply
  • Christal Brock via Facebook

    I agree it IS a suppressing agent. I drink it 1st thing then hours later I realize I haven’t eaten & I’m hungry. I will try to eat 1st then have coffee later. Thanks!

    December 13th, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
  • Angela Miller via Facebook

    When I drink coffee I don’t want breakfast. Then I crash in the afternoon. So I do think there’s something to this.

    December 13th, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
  • Kimberly Styn Cabello via Facebook

    Another fact about coffee/caffeine: Coffee does NOT give you energy. Your body reacts to the chemical in coffee (caffeine) by increasing metabolic rate to quickly and safely remove the poison from your system. This gives a false sense of “energy.” What is happening in reality is that the caffeine is sapping one’s energy as the body must USE energy to speed up metabolism in the eliminatory process; hence the DOWN feeling one notices when the caffeine has safely been removed from the system. Only a living organism can react to a substance. A non-living substance cannot produce anything as it is NOT ALIVE. Caffeine is nothing more than a chemical upon which the body acts in an attempt to free itself of poison.

    December 13th, 2012 1:52 pm Reply
  • Angela Miller via Facebook

    My brain loves that first hit of coffee, but my body hates it.

    December 13th, 2012 1:53 pm Reply
  • Sharon Perts via Facebook

    This is not a one-size-fits-all. Everyone is different. If caffeine negatively affects you, avoid it. I drink 1/2 decay coffee in the morning. If I drink coffee in the afternoon or evening, I immediately feel exhausted and have a hard time staying awake. I have autoimmune thyroid disease, so I am starting to experiment with Yerba Mate.

    December 13th, 2012 1:54 pm Reply
  • JR

    I think the biggest detail left out of most of these types of evals is that the person presenting the information is speaking in relation to their experience, and especially when it comes to nutrition and body chemistry, even though we are all very very similar, we still react to and function differently. Most important thing, try not to skip your morning fuel ups. If coffee reacts badly with your system, don’t have it. If you feel you can’t live without it, you’re having too much and you probably really need to assess your normal nutrition intake as well as your physical fitness.

    December 13th, 2012 1:57 pm Reply
  • Lisa Bowman

    Caffeine is a methyl donor and your genetic mutations have a lot to do with how many methyl groups a person benefits from. The specific ones are COMT and VDR taq. I have one mutation for each so I can tolerate some methyl groups but not a lot. My son has two mutations on each and can tolerate very little methyl groups. Neither of us consume caffeine as other foods contain methyl donors and that’s enough for our body to process.

    COMT — VDR Taq++(need the most methyl donors)
    COMT — VDR Taq +-
    COMT — VDR Taq —
    COMT+-VDR Taq++
    COMT+-VDR Taq +-
    COMT+-VDR Taq —
    COMT++VDR Taq++
    COMT++VDR Taq +-
    COMT++VDR Taq–(exquisitely sensitive to methyl donors)

    Some people can benefit from caffeine as long as they are supporting it with a healthy lifestyle. And obviously the source of caffeine is organic and free from molds.

    December 13th, 2012 1:58 pm Reply
    • Judith

      Lisa, this is interesting! Can you provide a link that will tell us about other foods that are methyl donors and a little of how this all works? For instance, is theobromine also a methyl donor? I am very sensitive to coffee and chocolate, and somewhat sensitive to tea, but I crave them. I used to drink about 10 cups of coffee a day when I first went to work, and it caused a lot of bad side effects. Now I drink a few cups of weak tea per day, using half the normal amount of tea leaves, with coconut milk or something similar, and seem to tolerate it. But I’m thinking of switching to dandelion root tea, Teeccino, or something similar.

      Most coffee probably contains a lot of mold toxins because of the way it is processed, and these toxins may be one reason that some of us can’t tolerate coffee. I know I’m very sensitive to mold. I found one brand that claims to have minimal mold. It is processed differently and tested. But I’m not sure I want to get back into coffee addiction.

      December 14th, 2012 11:53 am Reply
  • Sophie Marc-Aurèle via Facebook

    “decay coffee” = interesting lapsus?

    December 13th, 2012 1:59 pm Reply
  • fbdave

    Thanks for posting about this, interesting information. I thought that the studies reported in the mass media lately were in the ‘coffee is good for you’ column but I admit I don’t pay much attention.

    I’m a late convert to drinking coffee and haven’t noticed any ill effects at all, nor that it reduces appetite any meaningful amount. Then again I don’t appear to be sensitive to caffeine.

    Looks like another thing to investigate – how it affects me. Not some lab rat. Me.

    December 13th, 2012 2:00 pm Reply
  • Francesca Tropea via Facebook

    Wouldn’t adding creamer or sugar also be part of the problem. I would assume that makes it more “fulfilling” which would contribute to the breakfast skipping. When I do drink coffee, I take mine black, and it hasn’t affected my appetite whatsoever. Or maybe I just love food too much to skip a meal, lol!

    December 13th, 2012 2:04 pm Reply
  • Elizabeth Walling

    I agree with the premise of the post: drink coffee with a full meal. Caffeine has the potential to raise adrenaline and cortisol levels too high IF it is not consumed with a balanced meal. Eating fat, protein, and carbs together will naturally lower stress hormone levels, which is why you can avoid potential problems by drinking coffee with a meal.

    However, just because overindulging in something may have negative side effects, doesn’t mean that cutting it out to the extreme is more beneficial for everyone.

    None of us can dare assume that drinking NO coffee compared to drinking it in moderation is going to prevent disease or extend our lifespans. In fact, large scale studies suggest exactly the opposite.

    I sure would hate to sit on my deathbed calculating the extra minutes I might have lived if only I had drank less coffee, had a better raw milk source, didn’t eat that Krispy Kreme that one time, or if I had only soaked my grains longer! If you have to eat the perfect diet to achieve health, wellness and longevity, then I probably won’t make it to 30.

    Also, mainstream medicines ideas about serotonin are just about as backwards as their take on saturated fat. But that’s a whole other topic…

    December 13th, 2012 2:04 pm Reply
    • amy

      LOL! – “I sure would hate to sit on my deathbed calculating the extra minutes I might have lived if only I had drank less coffee, had a better raw milk source, didn’t eat that Krispy Kreme that one time, or if I had only soaked my grains longer! If you have to eat the perfect diet to achieve health, wellness and longevity, then I probably won’t make it to 30.” Agree!

      Now, what is this about mainstream serotonin ideas…would you share a link or something, please? Thanks….

      December 13th, 2012 2:54 pm Reply
  • Peggy Hass Grimins via Facebook

    Funny, drinking coffee makes me happy :) It’s one of those things that instantly makes me relax. Kind of like when I grab my knitting needles or a good book. Though, I always enjoy one cup of coffee with a little sucanat and cream with my breakfast as I read the news. I dropped it for around 10 weeks and didn’t notice a difference in how I felt from day to day.

    December 13th, 2012 2:06 pm Reply
  • Morgaine Donohue via Facebook

    So, you suggest supplementing 5-HTP, and I wonder if you would still suggest that for someone who is taking antidepressants. (I know thats not an ideal situation, but it is what it is.)

    The reason I ask is because I stopped taking antidepressants while pregnant, and a midwife suggested taking 5-HTP, but advised very strongly not to continue once I went back to antidepressants.

    December 13th, 2012 2:07 pm Reply
    • Diane

      If you took 5-HTP while you were pregnant, and it worked, why did you go back to antidepressants? And if 5-HTP didn’t work while you were pregnant, why do you want to take it now?

      December 16th, 2012 8:29 pm Reply
  • Christy Arendell Wurst via Facebook

    Love this! Even though I love coffee this is very true. I used to not drink it at all and can only have half caff but have gone down to decaf. Although many fitness (different than wellness) magazine or books will go ahead and tell you to have your coffee and that its good for you, I have found I do not have the endurance or stamina I have when I’m off it. The only energy you get from it are quick bursts that make you feel drained and needing more in hours. My energy feels endless when I am off all caffeine!

    December 13th, 2012 2:08 pm Reply
  • Debbie

    I happen to really like coffee. Even though I have a cup when I first get up, then I get showered and dressed and have my breakfast. Usually I will have another cup when I get to work. I try not to drink any after that. I did stop drinking coffee at one time but did not notice really any difference and did I say I really like coffee. No cream, no sugar just black organic coffee.

    December 13th, 2012 2:10 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      There’s no doubt that some people can drink coffee without a problem. However, I think nowadays most folks are just addicted to it due to nutritional deficiency from bad diet.

      December 13th, 2012 2:42 pm Reply
  • Pat

    I used to drink coffee — with coffeemate as the “sweetener, creamer and flavor” but would always feel sick afterward. I thought it tasted amazing, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the smell of coffee. However, I hated feeling sick.

    Hubby would also drink (he is the one who got me started) coffee and he would drink coffee in PLACE of breakfast. I don’t drink coffee anymore, but have at least gotten him into putting raw milk and Stevia into his DE-CAF coffee instead of coffeemate, and he does eat breakfast, but not until around 10am. He does drink coffee throughout the day though. Probably a pot a day (Which is why I switched him to de-caf). Not the best, but a lot better than before he met me. (slow progress…. you know they say you can’t change a man but you sure can try!)

    December 13th, 2012 2:12 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, I love the smell of coffee too :) I can’t drink it though as it really unbalances my body chemistry.

      December 13th, 2012 2:41 pm Reply
  • Gabs Narazo

    wow! i didn’t know that! thank you for letting us know.

    December 13th, 2012 2:14 pm Reply
  • Gina malewicz

    Great article! I saw the talk too. I definitely think a deficiency of neurotransmitters is why most people drink coffee. What I don’t remember is why. How does the coffee effect the neurotransmitters? I drank coffee 1-2 cups every morning for 20 years. It didn’t work for me anymore, didn’t feel awake, so I stopped. 3 days later I had a panic attack. Never happened before in my life. I didn’t make the correlation and picked up coffee again and quit again. Same thing happened, 2nd panic attack. And now I am suffering from anxiety. So I am on neurotransmitter therapy now and will never touch the stuff again!!! If only I knew what it was doing to me, I would’ve never drank it for that long.

    December 13th, 2012 2:18 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Yes, I agree with you that imbalance of brain chemistry is the primary reason for coffee addiction. Fix the deficiency, then coffee is much easier to leave behind. Coffee messes with blood sugar and cascades into other hormonal problems. I can’t tell you how many women I know who drink coffee “just fine thank you” until menopause hits. Best to get off it before the silent hormonal problems crop up. A cup once in awhile at a party or after dinner at a restaurant is certainly no big deal but every day is not moderation even just one cup. If you think about it first thing in the morning when you get up and it is a primary motivator of your morning, that is a clear sign IMO of coffee addiction.

      December 13th, 2012 2:31 pm Reply
  • Raechel McBride Alvis via Facebook

    good luck getting a coffee drinker to wait until after breakfast! the catch 22 is that it takes brain activity to prepare breakfast, and a coffee drinker literally has no brain activity til after the cup!

    December 13th, 2012 2:19 pm Reply
  • Gina Malewicz via Facebook

    Definitely NOT fear mongering. It’s information that works. I wish someone had posted this article years ago. I definitely think a deficiency of neurotransmitters is why most people drink coffee. I drank coffee, only 1-2 cups every morning for 20 years. It didn’t work for me anymore, didn’t feel awake, so I stopped. 3 days later I had a panic attack. Never happened before in my life. I didn’t make the correlation and picked up coffee again and quit again. Same thing happened, 2nd panic attack. And now I am suffering from anxiety. So I am on neurotransmitter therapy now and will never touch the stuff again!!! If only I knew what it was doing to me, I would’ve never drank it for that long.

    December 13th, 2012 2:25 pm Reply
  • Joe Tichio via Facebook

    Great article. I already know of a few people that could benefit from this info. Thanks.

    December 13th, 2012 2:38 pm Reply
  • Sandro

    I don’t know what to say anymore. I came from Europe and growing up as a child I we never had breakfast. I started eating breakfast seven years ago. When I came to United States All my food comes from the local farmers it’s all organic My diet it’s absolutely 100% clean. I get my raw milk from a local farm . From the same farm I get my raw butter my eggs and grass fed beef. I eat plenty of vegetables dark green vegetables And a lot of fat. I am also construction worker For past two years I quit eating breakfast and I feel so good so much energized And I don’t feel sleepy Afternoon no more . I used to eat for breakfast the highest quality proteins and vegetables I could get . No grains or Starches. I will tell you my personal experience with breakfast Was one of the biggest mistakes I did. And I will never go back eating breakfast like I used to . Speaking of coffee Coffee does not suppress my appetite I drink one cup of coffee a day And seems to do just fine for me.

    December 13th, 2012 2:39 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      I do think that men tend to do better with coffee than women do as a general but not a black and white rule. This has just been my observation over the years.

      December 13th, 2012 2:52 pm Reply
    • Brian

      There’s plenty of good research out there that also supports postponing breakfast (your nightly fast-break) to noon or later. I tend to eat breakfast when I’m hungry. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later.

      December 17th, 2012 4:21 pm Reply
  • Lisa McNeill Ingram via Facebook

    James C Ingram *cough*…

    December 13th, 2012 2:42 pm Reply
  • Jesse

    This is nonsense. The overwhelming evidence is that coffee has health benefits that far outweigh any negative side effects.

    December 13th, 2012 2:42 pm Reply
    • Sandro

      I agree with you 100% Jesse. i do intermittent fasting Which I don’t need much food from dinner all away to 18 hours later. And my energy it’s amazing I have so much energy To do anything I need all day . And one cup or two of organic coffee. Makes my day better I do not crave coffee And I never cared for coffee . And I can absolutely lived fine without coffee if I have to . I only started drinking coffee couple years ago .

      December 13th, 2012 3:11 pm Reply
  • amy

    This is VERY interesting, Sarah. Thank you. This really got my attention:
    “According to Julia Ross, people who crave chocolate, coffee, alcohol and even exercise are typically low in the neurotransmitter endorphin. Using supplementation of those amino acids that are precursors to endorphin may really help in trying to shake the coffee habit.”
    I think eating healthier (WAPF) has helped me a lot. And for some reason I recently have begun drinking coffee, BUT have figured out to treat it like I do a glass of wine – with a meal, or after a meal, not on an empty stomach. And not every day, and with fresh milk in it – at least 1/2 milk to weak coffee. I take DLPA for pain issues, and it has been a tremendous help!!! This health & healing process is a journey, thank you for some help & insight along the way!

    December 13th, 2012 2:47 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      Sounds like you’ve got a handle on what moderation is all about! :)

      December 13th, 2012 2:51 pm Reply
      • amy

        Well, not quite, but I’m working at it! I’ve come a long way and try to seek moderation these days vs. perfection (aka: rainbow thinking vs black/white thinking!). Oh my, perfection seeking makes life unpleasant, as it is not even possible! :)

        December 13th, 2012 2:56 pm Reply
    • Lynn

      Do you have a good source for the DLPA?

      December 13th, 2012 3:28 pm Reply
      • amy

        Lynn, I have used Professional Supplement Center to get mine. I think it was Pure Encapsulations, but I don’t recall now. I had to switch to Vitacost brand to save money, and a friend gave me some of hers from Pilgrim’s (she couldn’t take them). My Dr. put me on it, and I tried getting off of it (due to reading Julia Ross’s book, she says you only need to take it awhile) but the 2 times I did, I ended up with the pain again. So, I just take it everyday for now.

        December 13th, 2012 11:08 pm Reply
        • Lynn

          Thanks so much Amy! I will definitely check them out.

          December 14th, 2012 11:28 am Reply
          • amy

            Happy to help, Lynn! It’s been a real God-send for me!

            December 15th, 2012 10:59 pm
  • The Insurist

    Thanks for such a detailed post. I’ve some to terms with my own coffee debate by drinking a cup a day. Moderation. But I’m always a big breakfast eater, believing in big breakfast, smaller lunch, and even smaller dinner (when schedule allows). It sounds as if what you are saying is it’s not the coffee that changes the chemicals, but the lack of eating breakfast caused by the appetite suppressant in the coffee?

    December 13th, 2012 1:47 pm Reply
  • Corey Freeze via Facebook

    This article basically says “don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach”. Coffee increases your body’s metabolism of glucose, which is already depleted after sleeping through the night. Most people wouldn’t have a bad effect if they just put sugar in their coffee like real badasses do.

    December 13th, 2012 2:51 pm Reply
  • Corey Freeze via Facebook

    This article basically says “don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach”. Coffee increases your body’s metabolism of glucose, which is already depleted after sleeping through the night. Most people wouldn’t have a bad effect if they just put sugar in their coffee like real badasses do.

    December 13th, 2012 2:51 pm Reply
  • Corey Freeze via Facebook

    Serotonin is not the “happy hormone” either. Those suicide cases due to anti-depressants is caused by a serotonin overload, not deficiency.

    December 13th, 2012 3:11 pm Reply
  • Corey Freeze via Facebook

    Tryptophan is one of few amino acids linked to inflammation and cancer too, this article is a joke.

    December 13th, 2012 3:13 pm Reply
  • Jim Allen via Facebook

    I ran a traditional Chinese tea shop for a few years and frequently converted coffee drinkers to Organic Puer tea. It is still slightly a stimulant yet has other tremendous health and healing properties. Personally I wake up to fresh live green veggie juice.

    December 13th, 2012 3:36 pm Reply
    • Mikki

      Old Chinese proverb, “Coffee makes you nervous, tea makes you happy.” Tea gives you a milder caffeine lift than coffee and has thianine which also calms you, that must be why it’s better on my nervous system than coffee.

      December 19th, 2012 10:33 am Reply
  • Joy Sparrow via Facebook

    My morning routine goes like this, i wake up and have a cup of water with the juice of 1 lemon to clean my liver, then about an hr later i have a kefir smoothie, then i have my coffee , witch is half decaf( swiss water method) & raw cream & some sugar in it. This routine seems to suite me.

    December 13th, 2012 3:39 pm Reply
  • Our Small Hours

    Thanks for this post. I have recently begun to drink coffee again (half-coffee, half raw or low-temp pasteurized cream and coconut nectar if I sweeten it.) and I have it with my usual big breakfast. Most mornings it’s eggs, cooked in butter, with goat cheese on top and avocado on the side. If I ever drink coffee alone in the mornings (but only in the mornings) it upsets my stomach.

    December 13th, 2012 3:41 pm Reply
  • Megan @ Purple Dancing Dahlias

    I have my one delicious cup of coffee day. Organic french roast with raw cream, gelatin, coconut oil, grass-fed butter and a bit of maple syrup for sweet. It’s my one thing I do for me but I do notice the difference when I drink it before breakfast vs after breakfast. Adding in all those goodies also makes it super creamy and smooth.

    I know that I really should give it up, but like I said, its my one and only. Thanks for sharing this info :)

    December 13th, 2012 3:51 pm Reply
  • Máirín

    Thank you for posting this article. While drinking coffee before a protein-full breakfast is unhealthy, is drinking coffee otherwise unhealthy?

    December 13th, 2012 5:03 pm Reply
  • Cheryl Cope

    Am I assuming correctly that it is the *caffeine* in the coffee that is the culprit you are talking about? If that is true, then this applies to tea also, but to a lesser extent because even non-decaffeineated tea has less caffeine than coffee.

    December 13th, 2012 6:23 pm Reply
  • Sandro Sinishtaj via Facebook

    Decaf coffee is it is oxidized coffee . I don’t suggest nobody drinking decaf coffee. Second Why people are afraid of coffee when it comes from coffee beans Coffee beans on another natural source they come from nature .

    December 13th, 2012 6:42 pm Reply
    • Diane

      Not everything that comes from nature is good for you. There are plenty of toxic plants that are so poisonous they could kill you.

      December 16th, 2012 8:47 pm Reply
  • Confused Truffle

    This is so interesting! I’ve had a myriad of hormonal issues (amenorrhea for over 250 days now, foggy brain, poor circulation, moody) and my bloodwork is absolutely acceptable. Food cravings for sugar have been ridiculous (typically ketogenic WOE).
    However, my affinity for coffee hasn’t changed. I wonder if this (did I mention I crave chocolate and exercise about 2 hours 5-6x weekly?) has anything to do with my medical mystery lately.. Looks like 5-HTP is back on the menu. Thanks for posting this.. so much.

    December 13th, 2012 7:03 pm Reply
  • Nancy Liberty Jacques via Facebook

    your liver sees coffee as a toxin, contributes to arthritis. I quit it back in 07 when I began eating/drinking clean.

    December 13th, 2012 7:17 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    I love coffee. I just switched to organic fair trade and it’s the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. I used to be a “drink the coffee for breakfast person” and rarely ate breakfast because the coffee filled me up, especially with the nasty creamers I used to pour in it. Once I learned about real food, I went off coffee for the most part and focused on eating a good breakfast instead. Now that I have changed my routine, I started to drink coffee again, but only after my hearty breakfast. And some days I don’t drink any. I understand that not everyone can drink it, and not everyone is even drinking a decent bean, and not everyone fits into a one size fits all recommendation. Coffee seems to be a conflicting item in the “healthy” world. I’ve seen a lot of pros. I’ve seen a lot of cons. But I’m still going to enjoy my coffee. :)

    December 13th, 2012 7:38 pm Reply
  • Cassie Hutto via Facebook

    I am not a bing coffee drinker at all but every once in a while I do drink some I like the flavor. Would it be better to use a couple of drops of coffee extract in a ice cream or to flavor something else just for the flavor or is coffee extract just as bad as drinking coffee?

    December 13th, 2012 8:56 pm Reply
  • Just a Mom

    Personal Observations From Living Abroad:

    It is highly unusual for most people from other cultures to drink coffee/espresso on an empty stomach, let alone first thing in the morning. An espresso or coffee is normally consumed after a large meal (such as lunch). Tea or cafè is for afternoon teatime. But rarely IF EVER is this consumed on an empty stomach, let alone first thing in the morning!!!!! This is simply unwise and is a practice done only in the U.S..

    A Personal Story: once in Italy my husband I were driving to the Italian Alps and stopped at a casual little panetteria for bread, etc and on our way out we asked for a “coffee to go” and the girl behind the counter started giggling and laughing and said, “Only in America can you have coffee to go!” And she was right. I never found a coffee to go place our entire six years living in Europe (unless you count Starbucks in London or Amsterdam). At first it was annoying to me to not have my to go drink, and then I got comfortable just making my own drinks to go, but towards the end of the time, I really got used to always sitting down and taking my time to have an espresso with cream or tea otherwise then not have it all. Now back in the US I miss being able to sit down and have a nice espresso and relax – in a nice real cup with saucer – not a paper cup!!

    One More Story — Place: Haute Savoie region in French Alps. Eating at a cozy fondue place with leather chairs and real fireplaces. At the table next to us was a large group of Frenchmen (and women) laughing and telling a story that I could understand just enough to get this: “Americans, vitamins……Ha Ha Ha Ha….. American…vitamins….hahahaha….Americans… hahahah……vitamins……Ha Ha Ha Ha.” and on and on.

    Maybe if we ate half as well as the French and followed similar food rules (such as no coffee on an empty stomach) we would not need to take so many vitamins. I really enjoyed reading Why French Kids Eat Everything by Karen Lebillion. She did a great job articulating not just French food rules, but the average European food rules that I also observed.

    December 13th, 2012 9:50 pm Reply
    • IC

      Only in America can you get food to go with your coffee to go . . .
      My observation in Europe, was the coffee amounts are small, not super sized, and yes, after meals.

      December 14th, 2012 12:15 am Reply
    • Helen T

      Actually……you can get a coffee to go now….in an espresso size paper cup!*

      *Hoosier in France for over 25 years

      December 14th, 2012 4:24 am Reply
  • Amanda McCandliss via Facebook

    I don’t see how this is fear-mongering. She’s trying to be helpful and maybe teach you something you didn’t know. Instead of getting defensive, open your mind.

    December 13th, 2012 9:51 pm Reply
  • Annie Dru

    Hi Sarah! This is my first time to your blog, although I’ve viewed your informative videos (: I too am sensitive to coffee, although I desperately LOVE it. I keep it to just a demi-tasse of 1/2 and 1/2 with a generous dollop of heavy Amish cream.

    My comment has to do with your contention that eating breakfast is so important. I feel just awful if I eat before about 11am. This used to concern me until I heard Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride say that the body is still in cleansing mode until late morning, and many people are not hungry before then. She advocates not eating until you’re truly hungry, even if that means ‘skipping’ breakfast.

    Now I don’t consider eating at 11am to be skipping breakfast, I just consider it brunch! I will often have my mini-coffee with that meal and feel not any ill effects. If I have it on an empty stomach first thing in the morning however, I’m wrecked.

    Also, Dr. Mercola advocates ‘intermittent fasting’ which he says can mean not eating for 16 hours after dinner. For me, and probably many others, this translates to not eating until 11am! He says this kind of mini-fast can have amazing benefits for the entire metabolism, and I have to agree that I feel great on this kind of schedule.

    Also, many traditional cultures consume only two meals a day. I think it’s very important to make sure that both of those meals are extremely nutrient dense, but clearly calorie restriction has been shown to increase longevity. I typically eat something like two pastured eggs & bacon with a slice of homemade sourdough slathered in butter and chicken liver pate for brunch, and something equally nourishing for dinner. Sometimes I’ll have a few slices of pastured Amish cheese on a thin slice of well buttered sourdough and a small glass of kombucha for a snack at say, 2:30 in the afternoon.

    Not to be contrary to Dr. Ross’ opinion, but I don’t think any one eating schedule will work for all, and that Dr. Mcbride is closer to accurate when she advises folks to eat when they’re hungry.

    And hey, coffee is a traditional food in many parts of the world! We might as well give up cinnamon and coconut if we’re only going to eat and drink what grows on our own continent, right?


    December 13th, 2012 10:14 pm Reply
  • Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook

    Cassie Hutto drinking coffee as you describe every once in awhile because you enjoy the flavor is not a problem in my opinion.

    December 13th, 2012 10:14 pm Reply
  • Sarah Couture Pope via Facebook

    It’s interesting to me how if you suggested that eating a donut or two every morning is a problem and indicates a sugar addiction, that most people would agree even if they were in the habit of doing this themselves. People don’t get defensive over a sugar addiction in my experience. However, suggesting that a cup or two of coffee every single morning is a problem and indicative of coffee addiction is another matter entirely. Some people just get very defensive about their coffee. Not sure why this is.

    December 13th, 2012 10:18 pm Reply
    • Brian

      For some, it might be because they are sensitive about something they are addicted to. For others, it might simply be the same reaction you’d get if you suggested that they give up their morning eggs because they are high in cholesterol.

      December 18th, 2012 4:47 pm Reply
    • Mikki

      I read a book about 15 years ago on caffeine addiction and it is an addiction and people do not like to go through withdrawals. They are mild compared to say heroine, yup, I’m likening it to hardcore drugs, but it’s still a drug. I tried numerous times to go off of coffee only to hate the withdrawals so much I just gave up. It was having Fibromyalgia and such severe pain and fatigue from that, that sent me to an acupuncturist who convinced me to get off coffee. That time I was successful because my Fibro symptoms were already so bad I didn’t notice any withdrawals. It took two weeks for my body to get off the stockpile of caffeine in my system but boy did I notice a total difference in how much calmer I was and happy. I did switch to a mild green tea which when I don’t get a cup first thing in the morning, does not give me any withdrawals, so therefore not addicted.

      December 21st, 2012 10:58 am Reply
  • Cathy

    Guess this is a topic I don’t care to overthink, lol. I never cared for coffee until I was pregnant with my 3rd child (sausage either, for that matter…funny how those two cravings developed then). Now I drink one cup per day, WITH my breakfast (which I never skip unless fasting for labwork or such). Once in a while, I might have a second cup (usually decaf). So I don’t put much stock in this particular theory.

    December 13th, 2012 10:40 pm Reply
  • Just A Mom

    Thank you, Annie Dru for a great follow up comment! I do love this post about coffee — also whoever mentioned Pur – eh tea to help wean from coffee – Thank you! I love this and it works great for me!

    I do love fresh ground espressos with cream and a sprinkle nutmeg, but never did this until after my daughter was born five years ago and it started out as a Sunday treat with croissants, then when I would get sad or stressed I would “treat” myself during the nap-time and soon it would be one everyday – I never had the “I deserve a treat mentality” until I became a Mom, but now I find it so hard to break. I am nearly 40 these days and after five years of espressos, I simply can’t handle them as a tea time or post breakfast treat unless it is consumed after a really large meal – my constitution is too weak. I start to drop things easily even if I don’t feel shaky, I seem to snap and be more irritable and have a harder time sleeping.

    I think it should be noted too that the traditional customs of consuming a caf̬ or espresso after a large meal is because it is used this way as a digestif. I believe this is how coffee is traditionally used Рnot as a between meal treat or most definitely not on an empty stomach.

    Also I love the comment about consuming with butter and coconut oil!!! Thankyou! I can’t wait to try on a cold snowy day this winter. I started drinking a version Tibetan yak tea with raw butter, raw cream, and sea salt. So yummy, filling, and warming for cold afternoon or morning treat!

    December 13th, 2012 10:54 pm Reply
  • SierraK

    Can someone tell me if this applies only to coffee or do caffeinated teas have the same effect?

    December 13th, 2012 11:23 pm Reply
    • Dmitriy Ivanov

      Applies only to coffee because it has caffeine, therefore, decaffeinated teas don’t have this effect.

      In my experience any kind of tea, even strongly caffeinated black tea, does not have the kind of caffeine shock/impact/punch/kick as coffee does.

      However if you are extremely sensitive to caffeine, decaffeinated teas may still have a tiny bit of caffeine. I guess your best bet is to read up and more importantly pay attention to your body. Cheers!

      December 14th, 2012 2:12 am Reply
    • Mikki

      See my above post. I have no withdrawals from not getting a cup of green tea in the a.m. but had terrible withdrawals if I didn’t get my morning fix from coffee. Huge difference in how they both made me feel. I’ve been off The Bean and on The Leaf for over 16 years and feel way better nerve-wise.

      December 21st, 2012 11:01 am Reply
  • Sandro Sinishtaj via Facebook

    A new study from the US finds people who drink more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day have half the risk of dying from oral/pharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancer as people who drink it either occasionally or not at all.

    However, the researchers say their findings need to be confirmed by more research, and for now should just be received as good news for coffee drinkers and not be used as a reason to recommend everyone should drink 4 cups of coffee a day.

    Researchers Examine Link with Coffee Previous epidemiological studies have suggested coffee drinking is linked to a reduced risk for mouth and throat cancer.

    When they analyzed the tea and coffee consumption in relation to deaths from oral/pharyngeal cancer, the researchers found those participants who reported drinking more than 4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 49% lower risk of death from oral/pharyngeal cancer compared to those who reported not drinking coffee at all or only an occasional cup.

    The team is now planning to analyze links between coffee consumption and cancer in a more diverse population in the ACS’s new Cancer Prevention Study — 3 (CPS-3).

    Link: Coffee Drinking May Halve Risk Of Mouth And Throat Cancer.

    December 13th, 2012 11:33 pm Reply
  • Sandro Sinishtaj via Facebook

    What you coffee drinkers think about this. This is what I mean we can debate all day One size doesn’t fit all .

    December 13th, 2012 11:36 pm Reply
  • Nora Hofmans via Facebook

    I know for MYSELF, I love my coffee, but I also have realized that I must make myself eat before I drink or I will NOT eat my breakfast.

    December 14th, 2012 12:39 am Reply
  • Nora Hofmans via Facebook

    I know for MYSELF, I love my coffee, but I also have realized that I must make myself eat before I drink or I will NOT eat my breakfast.

    December 14th, 2012 12:39 am Reply
  • Dmitriy Ivanov

    Dear Sara,

    I drink coffee on and off. Off coffee = better sleep and better energy baseline. On coffee is most helpful when I drink the first cup after some weeks’ abstinence – wired, extremely productive, which is helpful sometimes. The peak goes down in the course of 2-3 days and it becomes a cycle with the peaks no better than the baseline when I am off coffee. So why do I ever drink it? For pleasure. Why do I drink it more than 2 days in a row? Addition to pleasure (but not really pleasure anymore). Thanks for the supplement recommendation – seems like the most likely and best-founded solution to the craving.

    On some of the comments: some people live till their 90’s and snort coke every now and then. This does not justify using cocaine, nor does anything really condemn it. It’s just a matter of what your priorities are! As the wise say, everything is permissible – you just have to know what you are doing!

    Thanks. Love your posts.

    December 14th, 2012 1:49 am Reply
  • Corey Freeze via Facebook

    If you think coffee is bad for you, go jump in a hole.

    December 14th, 2012 2:15 am Reply
    • Dmitriy Ivanov

      why do you do this? is your comment helpful? meaningful? what’s the point? Sara specifically said “If I drank coffee regularly, I would quite possibly be dead right now (I sincerely mean that).” but YOU know better? it’s nice to vent your opinions, i guess, but, you know, it’s kind of rude to just walk into a community and say something along the lines of “jump into a hole”. rude, that’s all. i’ve done the same once or twice. and it feels good to apologize. let’s make the internet a better place.

      about coffee. and about cocaine. it’s up to you dude. you just have to pay attention to your body.

      December 14th, 2012 12:26 pm Reply
    • Veronica

      Coffee makes my heart feel like it is doing somersaults. Also, I get joint pain so, yes, I think coffee is bad for me and no, I won’t jump in a hole. :)

      December 14th, 2012 2:32 pm Reply
  • Olaf Benson

    Your statements re: coffee and even breakfast are complete bro science nonsense. Just because something doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean you should mislead your followers into thinking it is harmful by citing junk science. I think you are a good hearted person with good intentions – just wrong. Please research intermittent fasting and the benefits of coffee. Try http://www.leangains.com and this: http://www.benhirshberg.com/1/post/2012/08/bulletproof-coffee-why-i-put-coconut-oil-and-grass-fed-butter-in-my-cup-of-joe.html

    December 14th, 2012 5:29 am Reply
  • Cindy

    Eating enough protein early in the day is supposed to help with low serotonin, but does that also help with low endorphin? If not, are there other ways to raise it long term besides supplementation?

    December 14th, 2012 7:42 am Reply
  • Noahla

    Sarah, I’m curious to know how your “body chemistry” is affected? I’ve heard you say similar things before and I’m not sure what you mean? I guess I’m asking so I can know what signs to look out for if certain foods affect me negatively.
    Thanks so much for this, and all your posts!!!

    December 14th, 2012 10:01 am Reply
  • Chris West

    I have been drinking coffee since I was nine years old. The first cups were @ the Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter in New Orleans and I still relish the taste of that special blend of chicory and coffee that makes it such a culinary delight. I have kicked several habits that were unhealthy, grow much of my own food organically and work as a licensed RN. I am sorry that you have had such a bad time with coffee but there are those of us that need that daily fix and (dare I say it) actually enjoy the sinful sensations of that first cup of rich black wake your ass up @ 4 in the morning madness. So while I thank you for your efforts and enjoy your posts; I think I will just have to keep doing it over my coffee. Peace and Happy Holidays from our caffeinated household.

    December 14th, 2012 11:41 am Reply
  • Debbie Meade

    Sara, Do you think this would this apply to drinking cola as well? Coffee is not my vice, but cola, ah well, that’s another story! My dad worked for a major cola producer when I was born and I got the stuff in a baby bottle. This was back in the fifties when nobody worried about sugar or caffine consumption. I’d love to quit drinking it and I usually can manage a few days, but then my energy level crashes and I head for the nearest source. I should mention that I am hypothyroid and on daily medication for it.

    December 14th, 2012 11:49 am Reply
    • Diane

      “. . . and I got the stuff in a baby bottle.” That’s AWFUL! I’d call that child abuse. The caffeine in any source is a nerve toxin. The liver perceives it as a poison and has to work to rid the body of it. The reason you (and everyone else) crash without it is because, in actuality, the caffeine depletes the body of energy. It does NOT provide energy, as most people think. The energy boost one feels after ingesting a stimulant such as caffeine is the body’s reaction to the toxin. The stimulant causes an immune response, and that is the boost of energy people feel. Stimulants never provide energy, they only deplete one’s energy. Over the long term, stimulants will cause a variety of health problems such as adrenal exhaustion, cellular dehydration, and a whole host of seemingly separate problems related to these 2 things.

      As far as soft drink vs coffee: just as bad or worse.The crap they make soft drinks from has NO redeeming qualities. Absolutely nothing of value in soft drinks. A common preservative, sodium benzoate, used in soft drinks has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA, which can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. It’s also been identified as an indirect cause of cancer. Drinking one can of diet or regular soda per day is associated with a 46% increased risk of metabolic syndrome, which plays a major role in heart disease and diabetes. Then there’s the whole acidity aspect. It would take 32 glasses of pH 9 water to buffer the acidity of just one 12 oz. soda. I could go on, but I won’t. Debbie, you would give your body and mind a HUGE gift if you would get off soda and detoxify your body.

      December 16th, 2012 10:16 pm Reply
  • sandro

    NaturalNews) People who drink three to four cups of coffee each day have a lower risk of developing Type II diabetes, according to a research summary published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC). The report summarizes the key findings of recent research into the connection between coffee consumption and diabetes risk, as presented at a session of the 2012 World Congress on Prevention of Diabetes and Its Complications (WCPD).

    The report emphasizes an epidemiological study that found a 25 percent lower risk of developing Type II diabetes among people who drank three or four cups of coffee per day, when compared with people who drank fewer than two cups per day. It also notes another epidemiological study, which found a seven to eight percent decrease in the relative risk of developing Type II diabetes for every additional cup of coffee per day that a person consumed.

    Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/038330_coffee_consumption_diabetes_blood_sugar.html#ixzz2F2hyTq9u

    December 14th, 2012 12:01 pm Reply
  • Dmitriy Ivanov

    “found a seven to eight percent decrease in the relative risk of developing Type II diabetes for every additional cup of coffee per day”

    so after the 12th cup you are pretty much guaranteed safe against diabetes? that’s ridiculous! I assure you, drinking coffee is not the only way to fight diabetes. This creates a one-sided view of coffee’s effects. Ill bet I can find research to support any view. So, it comes down to this: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

    I know how I will feel after 1 cup of coffee – pretty good, but not too much. After 3 cups of coffee I will feel jittery, nervous and might attack people. I think I’ll just listen to my body, what do you think?

    December 15th, 2012 12:43 am Reply
    • Mikki

      True! Did you all know that people with ADHD and ADD actually calm down and focus after drinking something with caffeine? I’m not making that up either, heard it from a special ed teacher. It works better than the drugs they give kids. I also know several older men who can actually fall asleep with a cup of coffee in their hands. The nightly after dinner Joe does not affect them at all. Me? I’d be up all night if I ingested anything with caffeine after 3:00 p.m., so everybody’s body is different for sure!

      December 21st, 2012 11:06 am Reply
  • Shaniqua

    Full spectrum amino acids are to be found in organ meats like chorizo/sausage often eaten for breakfast/lunch brunch. Was surprised that emphasis was on supplementation rather than food sources in her talk.

    December 15th, 2012 2:28 am Reply
  • Megan

    mercola.com the search for skipping breakfast. He does it to and tells why it’s good. I was doing that to lose wait way before he talked about it. for the same reason he says. it can be good. just watch out those with sugar issue on that of course.

    December 15th, 2012 9:08 am Reply
    • Megan

      I should say to I hate coffee. I love tea and decaf mine every morning myself. not because I think caffeine is bad but i don’t like the headache I get if I don’t get tea in am for some reason. my hubby loves coffee as much as I do tea. I thin k he could use the first amio listed even if he drinks his coffee. hey he gave up achola 10 years ago!! let him have his coffee!

      December 15th, 2012 9:12 am Reply
      • Mikki

        When I’d have to skip my morning cup of Joe I’d have the worst withdrawals; headache, tired, cranky, etc. Now since I got off the bean and drink tea instead if I have to skip it, I have no withdrawals at all. That says volumes for the powerful drug coffee can be.

        December 19th, 2012 10:37 am Reply
  • Megan

    hey on the health workers get fired for no flu vac. I hear that Gutherie of norther tier NY and southern tier PA are getting lad off till may if they don’t!!!!!! just not right!

    December 15th, 2012 9:16 am Reply
  • Mark

    I personally believe breakfast that includes cooked meats and proteins It is worse than Drinking coffee in the morning coffee. Seems like most people here have problem with coffee . And I don’t blame them Why do people have health condition They have hormonal problems They have food addictions And they are Carb Addicted. Hot Tellie one more thing that Grains sprouted or not sprouted Are much worse for your health than coffee . I personally think everybody should be able to enjoy a cup of two of coffee every day without side effects If they stop eating grains And stop Consuming the worst meal of the day breakfast

    December 15th, 2012 9:32 am Reply
  • wendell

    I drink too much coffee and sometimes it keeps me up at night. I also have adrenal problems, but I drink it anyway. I put a tablespoon of coconut oil in my coffee and it sure is soothing to my tummy. Two cups with coconut oil in the am and 1 cup in the pm. Otherwise, drinking coffee on an empty belly causes bellyache. The coconut oil stops the pain and I always eat breakfast. Since I started buying rolled oats and soaking them overnight, it’s an easy and comforting meal without the stomach pain I usually experience.
    I enjoyed this post, Sara.

    December 15th, 2012 6:16 pm Reply
  • Sandro

    Wendell . Why you eats oats for breakfast you must be Marathon runner . Otherwise you disturbing your hormones first thing in the morning

    December 15th, 2012 10:41 pm Reply
  • Cafe

    Coffee is a traditional food. And it’s not from Europe. It originated in Ethiopia. Of course, drinks like “Starbucks super-duper-mega-ultra caffeinated lattes with soy milk” are not traditional at all. And 10 of those per day will do a number on you. But classic coffee dates back centuries and has been widely consumed in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, you name it…

    December 16th, 2012 3:09 am Reply
    • Mikki

      Traditional?? It doesn’t go that far back; hundreds of years but not 10,000!

      December 19th, 2012 10:34 am Reply
  • Natural Nutrition Nurse via Facebook

    Bio-individuality is a beautiful thing. I think the point is to know your own body and really listen to what it tells you. Coffee beans can be very toxic from pesticides & some are highly processed with high heat and chemicals so organic is always best. Anything we choose to do everyday needs to looked at for its potential risks and benefits. Fortunately coffe drinking doesn’t have to be all or none; again know your body.

    December 16th, 2012 7:33 pm Reply
  • Cafe

    P.S. (to continue previous comment) With that being said, coffee has been adulterated from its traditional form. I’m not just talking about Starbucks either. It’s a traditional drink that has been adulterated for profit. Sort of like raw milk versus pasteurized milk. But it’s harder to control the source of our coffee, since (at least in this country) we can’t buy it from a local farm or control how it is processed. So it’s trial and error to find the right coffee and some people can’t drink it at all. And for us, it’s rarely freshly produced since we’re so far from the source. These factors may affect some coffee drinkers more than others. But no one really knows why or if these things make a difference.

    December 17th, 2012 6:14 am Reply
  • Kathy

    so here’s what I wonder……If you have low serotonin levels and you supplement w/either 5-HTP or Tryptophan…..when will your body naturally produce what you need?

    December 17th, 2012 9:42 am Reply
  • Beth

    Out of curiosity, why do you think coffee ages you?
    I drink coffee daily with a dash of raw cream, and always have a good ‘real food’ breakfast.
    Thank you for your time, Sarah.

    December 17th, 2012 10:38 am Reply
  • Amy

    I noticed that Julia recommends 20-30 g of protein 3X day. That’s an enormous amount of protein, is this correct?

    December 18th, 2012 1:46 pm Reply
  • Janet

    I grew up drinking coffee as long as I can remember. Back in ’99 I quit smoking and little by little the coffee desire went away.
    About 2 to 3 months ago I went back to drinking ONE cup of coffee in the morning then ate my breakfast. I drank lots of green tea and yerbe mate tea as well. My heart started flip-flopping and long story short, my blood work is good and the EKG showed everything normal. I purposely avoided any and all caffeine and my heart is now beating normally.
    I thank the good LORD for helping me.
    I love this site!!

    December 19th, 2012 8:33 am Reply
  • Kristi

    I recently read an article from Dr. Mercola that supported drinking coffee in the AM precisely to suppress the appetite so that you could maintain the fast your body had been in since your last meal before going to sleep. I am wondering if you have looked into this fasting suggestion and/or if Julia made any apologetics toward such dietary thinking? It is very confusing how there is so many sides out there – even within the same schools of thought, there’s research that seems to be able to support anything that anyone would desire to show support for.

    December 23rd, 2012 9:04 pm Reply
    • Diane

      I agree. It can be very confusing because you can find arguments and research for all sides of an issue. You just have to figure out what works best for you; and that can take time. Don’t give up.

      December 25th, 2012 2:57 pm Reply
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  • TInaC

    If we buy certain varieties of organic coffee (free trade also, but that is for social and not health reasons), drink it with lots of healthy fats (I add coconut oil and whole milk or cream) and don’t drink too much (just a mug or two in the morning) I don’t crash, have withdrawals, whatever and I so enjoy it. I have experimented for months at a time going without to see if it made a difference in certain issues I have, and it didn’t at all. I think it’s like anything else, it depends on your body chemistry, the form you take it in, etc.

    But I love posts like this, it is so helpful to help us to be self aware and evaluating the choices we make.

    By the way, I read and studied and followed Julia Ross’s book and found the supplements she recommends very detrimental to me. I just don’t seem to do well with any non-food supplementation at all. But, the experience was a helpful learning exercise. It’s a little unrealistic to expect any advice or protocol to fit everyone all the time.

    March 2nd, 2013 10:48 am Reply
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  • Cory

    Thanks for sharing this Sarah. Coffee does a number on me too. It make me anxious, depressed, and moody. Even one cup. It also destroys my appetite. I have been off and doing wonderful but like any other addiction, I have just one cup and because of the big hit of dopamine I just fall off the wagon. I totally know it messes with my neurotransmitters.

    April 13th, 2013 9:35 pm Reply
  • Kirsten

    Just reading the bits about supplements, this actually just feels like yet another way for pharmaceutical companies to make even *more* money!

    I used to drink coffee by the gallon, I cut down to one coffee plus a few cups of tea per day. Now, I eat a high protein breakfast and drink warm lemon water followed by a smoothie and one black coffee, or coffee with coconut milk in the morning. Then it’s herbal/green tea for the rest of the day, plus at least 3 litres of water. I do this because I am gluten/wheat/dairy intolerant, so I cannot have milk. And I know that drinking less caffeine has had a positive effect on my body.

    I don’t take any supplements, and my body’s in pretty good nick. My skin, hair, nails, everything about me is better and brighter, more healthy. You don’t *always* need supplements to look after your body.

    Just think: How did people in the stone ages survive without supplements? Oh gosh! Should they have died because they weren’t taking them?

    I used to have serious, and I mean SERIOUS gut and migraine problems. I cut out wheat and gluten and solved the migraines. Coffee actually used to fix them until I found out what the root cause was!!! Then I cut out dairy and found my gut problems eased off. Simples!

    It’s all about trial and error. Some people need coffee, some don’t. I just enjoy that first coffee of the day, after my breakfast :)

    April 14th, 2013 5:01 am Reply
  • Em


    I agree with eating (protien in particular) first thing in the morning AND my morning cup of sunshine (coffee) as well! :) I think there is a healthy medium, if balanced correctly. I don’t see why people can have both! Eggs (or in my case egg whites) with black coffe mixed with a tea spoon of honey and 1/2 a cup of almond milk, sounds delicious to me :) and I get the best of both worlds: my breakfast and cup of joe! :)

    September 16th, 2013 12:49 am Reply
  • Hangman

    I would like your opinion on fatty coffee. I’ve been drinking it every morning for a couple months instead of breakfast. I feel great and am losing weight. The fats (butter, MCT oil, heavy cream) feed the brain but don’t break my fast.

    December 7th, 2013 10:40 am Reply
  • Karan

    I am typically small. Not athletic but I do have 3 kids all age 4 and under- so I think I get sufficient exercise 😉 Two questions about this article. The first being I’m not typically that hungry when I wake up and it’s hard for me to eat right away. I drink coffee now, but haven’t always so I don’t think that’s the culprit. And like someone else said- does tea have the same effect? My second question does not relate to coffee. You mentioned 20-30 grams of protein a day?! Then I read online women should have 50 (and up to 70 if nursing)?! How in the world do you accomplish that without tons of meat?? If I didn’t have a couple of boosts each day, I’m not sure I would ever get close to either of those amounts!!

    December 8th, 2013 11:31 am Reply
    • Mishelle

      She said 20-30 grams 3x a day (per meal) that’s 60-90 a day. Julia Ross suggests 3 eggs or 1 cup of additive free full fat cottage in her books.

      September 22nd, 2014 7:27 pm Reply
  • Megan

    I actually read the book, The Mood Cure, and followed its suggestions. It really did a number on my mental state and I ended up in the hospital with severe panic attacks. It took days for the substances to leave my system and for me to feel better. I felt shaky for months. I HIGHLY suggest people be very wary of the supplements suggested. My doctor, who follows a naturopathic approach, thought a lot of the combinations were pretty dangerous and sent me into a tailspin. Mind you, I was only suffering from mild anxiety and seasonal depression at the time. It is irresponsible to advise people to read this book and blindly take its advice. Not all “natural” approaches are safe. Please don’t try these on your children without medical supervision!

    December 8th, 2013 7:51 pm Reply
  • Mimi Lee

    I am extremely sensitive to coffee and caffeine as well. I am one of those people who is not hungry in the morning upon waking, so if I have a cup of coffee, it over stimulates me on an empty stomach and totally kills my appetite. It is better drinking it with raw coconut oil and coconut milk, but this will still will power me all the way through to lunch ’til or even late afternoon when I find myself STARVING. I switched to black tea years ago and felt SO MUCH BETTER, but this appetite suppressant quality occurs when I drink black tea as well, but not nearly to the degree. I have found tea is much more calming on my system with the benefit of the naturally occurring amino acid theanine. I feel absolutely wonderful when I have ONE cup of organic black tea with raw coconut oil and coconut milk, a dash of Himalayan pink salt, vanilla, and a few drops of stevia. It is divine!! I do not eat grains, sugar, wheat or gluten of any kind, dairy or soy, and eat a high protein organic meat diet with tons of organic veggies as I am finishing a gut repair diet at the moment. I have auto-immune reactions (Cyrex Array 4 positive) to wheat, dairy, and soy, and I have IgG allergies to eggs, garlic, ginger, sesame, soy, oats, pinto beans, peanuts, green beans, chocolate…and coffee! It has been a drastic improvement for me avoiding allergy foods and taking L-glutamine, cod liver oil, turmeric, resveratrol and a few other supplements to assist in the gut repair. However, I have had a long standing issue with hair loss and hair shedding, which I thought would be resolved by the gut repair diet, but it has not! I had previously tested positive for an estrogen dominance, with a normal TSH, low T3 and low T4 thyroid result which can be caused by estrogen dominance. It is different than classic clinical or subclinical hypothyroid when your TSH is normal, but you can still have some of the symptoms and medication is not necessarily recommended. So I have recently decided to try some hormone balancing techniques by taking Dim-Plus (natural broccoli based estrogen metabolizer), eating cultured veggies, taking cod liver oil, and taking wild yam (which I DO NOT recommend taking unless you are going through menopause — made my hyper?!) These things helped with the shedding a little, but I was still loosing more hair than I would like. The FINAL thing I am going to try is cutting out caffeine completely (which can contribute to estrogen dominance), and/or having one cup of tea or kombucha later in the day after I have eaten to see if this makes any difference in my hair. This is something I have intuitively wondered about for years, but it’s not alway easy as I have a craving for me tea in the morning. I can also try the DLPA, but oye vay, the things we have tried and been through on the quest for perfect health! The journey continues!! I have tried cutting out caffeine in the past for my hair thinning, and it seemed to make only a little difference, but I was not eating the same way I am now. Years ago, I came across Julia Ross’s book when I was suffering from severe anxiety and depression, but was unable to tolerate the supplements as well. I think going gluten/dairy free, sugar balancing (watching out for natural sugars like honey, agave, grains, and potatoes), staying away from alcohol, and repairing my gut, and adopting a meditation practice have caused the shifts in neurotransmitters that I had been looking for all these years! Happy transformations everyone!!!

    April 21st, 2014 2:21 pm Reply
  • Whitney

    With all the comments and mixed information out there it all comes down to the individual (one persons food could be another persons poison, listen to your body it will talk to you), quality of coffee (check out bulletproof coffee or any other organic brand, they will always be best), balance (Its never good to over do any food, needs to be balance), how your making your coffee (I have always heard great things from people switching over to using coconut oil or MCT oil and grass fed unsalted butter to make there coffee creamy and delicious with the healthy fats) and drinking your coffee within 15 minutes of brewing the coffee is always best, after 15 minutes the coffee keeps getting more and more acidic, plus NEVER microwave your coffee to reheat. I have learned so much from my own research and me being enrolled in IIN to become a holistic health coach, we coaches are about the individual because everyone responds differently to foods. I personally love lattes and I have one 1-3 times a week, I try to switch it up, sometimes I have tea, warm lemon water, or nothing but water first thing in the morning. Thank you Sarah for everything you do, I love your blog! God Bless you and your family!

    June 5th, 2014 12:36 pm Reply
  • YevJulie Gerasimenko via Facebook

    Good article

    September 22nd, 2014 12:09 am Reply
  • Lora Reynolds via Facebook

    I always drink my cup in the morning with my breakfast.

    September 22nd, 2014 12:25 am Reply
  • Jay Martillan Baratilla via Facebook

    I read from an article that you should drink at least 3 cups of water for every cup of coffee.

    September 22nd, 2014 3:11 am Reply
  • Cheryl L. Schmidt Devereaux via Facebook

    This does not make sense to me. I get hungrier after my coffee.

    September 22nd, 2014 6:47 am Reply
  • Amy Gault via Facebook

    Interesting. Is this caffeinated coffee only or is decaf included in it? I am so sensitive to the effects of caffeine that I rarely indulge in caffeinated coffee. But I do like a nice mug of bulletproofed (organic, Swiss water process) decaf.

    September 22nd, 2014 6:57 am Reply
  • Maria Dupell via Facebook

    Thank you for sharing Sarah! Great read

    September 22nd, 2014 7:12 am Reply
  • Lyndsey Stang via Facebook

    I tend to make a strong 10 cup pot and poor only maybe half an inch into my cup and fill the rest with raw milk. You get the fats and everything. I put the rest in the fridge for the rest of the week.

    September 22nd, 2014 7:47 am Reply
  • Shannon Turman Rowe via Facebook

    I disagree. Look up information on intermittent fasting. It is very eye opening and explains why you should skip breakfast.

    September 22nd, 2014 8:01 am Reply
  • Michelle McNeal via Facebook

    I don’t drink coffee all the time, but when I do it’s primal coffee, with a couple raw eggs blended into the hot coffee. How does that compare, as it’s breakfast and coffee together?

    September 22nd, 2014 10:06 am Reply
  • Eric Brody via Facebook

    Coffee is hydrating not dehydrating. New research is showing that. Google it

    September 22nd, 2014 10:24 am Reply
  • Eric Brody via Facebook

    Intermittent fasting is not for everyone. If you have a well balanced diet and in a good nourishing nutriental state, it may work. But as the article shows, most people are not in a good nutritional state. The food quality sucks. Ie Corn fed meat has not tryptophan.

    September 22nd, 2014 10:28 am Reply
  • Charles Nankin

    I only drink one coffee. first thing. only with butter/ coconut oil etc. then wait a bit before fat and protein rich breakfast. sometimes enjoy therapeutic effect of delaying breakfast slightly and prolonging the overnight fast (intermittent fasting). in this case, fats will least disrupt the fast, then protein, and carbs the most.

    but need to be keto-adapted to do this comfortably.

    i also understand that jamming in breakfast and esp carbs if body not feeling ok with that, is not optimal. as cortisol is high and insulin not very receptive.

    whaddyathink HHE?


    September 22nd, 2014 1:25 pm Reply
    • Eric Brody


      I agree with you – the fat helps. Many cultures like in Brazil add coconut oil to their coffee. Heck, we used to use pure raw full fat cream and now we use artificial cream all the likes – unhealthy fats!

      September 24th, 2014 2:02 pm Reply
  • Sonia

    Are the above mentioned supplementation safe to use ? I read they aren’t?!?

    October 7th, 2014 4:19 pm Reply
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