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Why Does Coffee Make You Poop? Science Explains

One of the most common morning rituals of people around the globe is the habitual consumption of coffee. For some, it’s an actual process, preferring to make their own perfect cup of pour-over or fresh French press brew, while others prefer to wait in line at their local cafe and have someone else make it for them. Whatever your route may be, coffee is consumed by millions on a daily basis.

Coffee beans
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For most, it’s the elixir of the Gods, helping them to fully become alert and awake, allowing their brains to function at full capacity. It’s an instant jolt of alertness and focus. For some, however, it jolts another phenomenon as well. According to research, about 3 out of 10 people experience the unusual side effect that coffee can do on the digestive system. For some people, it makes them have to use the bathroom.

While there is some evidence as to why this phenomenon exists, the science behind it is still not exact. 

Why Does Coffee Make Me Poop Right Way?

Man pouring a cup of coffee
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Scientists are still trying to pinpoint the reason this happens in certain individuals. Coffee itself comprises 1,000 different compounds, making it hard to understand the exact nature of this experience. When you consume coffee, it tends to increase the acidic activity of the stomach, which can lead to the stomach dumping its contents faster than normal. It has also been proven that coffee has the effect of activating the large intestine the same as when you consume a large meal. 

So while the precise reason some individuals experience this laxative effect when consuming coffee is not yet certain, these are a few reasons why this happens as a byproduct of enjoying your cup of joe. 

Is Pooping After Coffee Normal?

This question can be a bit of an arbitrary one. While yes, to some people this is a normal side effect, on the other hand, only about 30% of coffee drinkers experience it. So while the percentage is not that high, it is clearly normal for some people. 

Benefits of Drinking Coffee

Pouring a cup of coffee
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The reason so many around the world consume coffee on a daily basis is the benefits that it can have on your health, aside from tasting like heaven. 

Energy and Alertness

The number one reason so many of us consume coffee is the ability it has to help us start our morning off on the right note — it’s no wonder people joke about not wanting to talk to others until they’ve had their first cup. Coffee contains caffeine, which happens to have a profound effect on your gray matter and central nervous system. Caffeine is a stimulant that, as a result, can help battle fatigue and drowsiness. 

Cognitive Function

Speaking of gray matter, coffee is great for helping increase your memory recall. Caffeine has a positive effect on neural activity, which was shown to increase short-term memory recall and reaction time. It’s no wonder so many of us feel a little smarter and perkier after a cup, first thing in the morning. 

Another neat benefit of drinking coffee is that can help decrease the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, a slow-acting cognitive disease that affects memory. 

Reduced Risk of Diabetes

The reason some individuals become diabetic over time is their bodies start to become resistant to insulin. There are studies showing that coffee consumption has been associated with a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

Weight Management

Another wonderful reason to keep sipping that coffee on a consistent basis is for its ability to help manage weight. Coffee is quite a potent thermogenic. Thermogenics have a great ability to create internal heat within the body, thus naturally raising your metabolism. This activity can lead to increased fat loss and in turn, weight loss. 

Downsides to Drinking Coffee

Coffee beans close-up
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While there are numerous health benefits to regular coffee consumption, it does have a few drawbacks, just like all things in life.

Jitters and Anxiety

One of the possible side effects of too much coffee consumption can be an elevated heart rate. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others, and this can make an individual feel jittery, anxious, and nervous. This generally happens because caffeine can make the body go into the “fight or flight” response, making anxiety worse and potentially causing panic attacks in some. While this is rare, it’s best to figure out your caffeine sensitivity first, before upping your number of cups per day.

Mold and Mycotoxins

You get what you pay for in life; most know this to be true. The same can be said of the coffee you chose to purchase and consume. One of the drawbacks of coffee is that certain batches can have mold growing in them. Over time, that mold can create toxins called mycotoxins if stored improperly. These toxins, when consumed too much over time, can cause fatigue, grogginess, and even cause poisoning. Most of the time, those toxin levels are below the safety limit, but the cheaper your coffee beans, the higher the chances of them containing the toxins. 

Quality Coffee Matters

While coffee may make you have to go number two upon consuming, there are plenty of benefits to consuming that cup of joe that can help you swallow that pill. Our best take is to find a good quality roaster or bean, choose your method of preparation, and if you need to bring that coffee with you somewhere, make sure you have a worthy thermos to help you keep it piping hot.

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Jeff Turbett
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jeff Turbett is a health and wellness coach with over three years of experience transforming clients lives and physical…
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