5 Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking Coffee

5 Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking Coffee

Maybe for some people or even you, consuming coffee in the morning is just like routine activity to stay awake or have the energy through the day. But have you ever imagined what would happen if you stop drinking coffee

If your main motivation to get out of bed is a steaming cup of coffee, we are with you. In fact, 85 percent of Americans drink at least one caffeinated drink daily, as of a January 2014 study in Food and Chemical Toxicology.

But how healthy is caffeine? And is all caffeine created equal? Not exactly.

"Caffeine has been shown to provide some tremendous health benefits, such as the prevention of Alzheimer's and heart disease, but the source of caffeine is critical," said Annamaria Louloudis, RD, a registered dietitian at Virtual Private Practice Culina Health.

"Coffee contains caffeine along with antioxidants and other active substances that can reduce inflammation and help prevent chronic diseases. Soda, on the other hand, contains caffeine but also provides a greater added sugar than the benefits of caffeine."

Read on to discover what really happens to your body when you break up with stimulants.

Who Might Benefit From Being Caffeine-Free?

Not everyone needs to quit caffeine. On the one hand, some people may find it better to live a less caffeinated life.


"Caffeine can cause an increase in blood pressure, so people with hypertension should consider limiting their caffeine intake," Louloudis said.

For those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), caffeine can trigger symptoms because it relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter, causing acid reflux of the stomach into the esophagus. That's why coffee, tea, and soda – all caffeinated beverages – have been linked to an increased risk of GERD symptoms.

Anyone with difficulty sleeping or anxiety can also benefit from minimizing caffeine intake. "Caffeine consumption within six hours of bedtime has been linked to sleep-disturbing effects and increased insomnia," Louloudis said.

5 Things That Happen When You Stop Drinking Coffee

1. You May Experience Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

If you have ever missed the cup of coffee you used to drink and feel foggy, you must be familiar with this phenomenon. Coffee stimulates the central nervous system, so the sudden disappearance can make the mind and body go crazy.

In fact, caffeine withdrawal can be so severe that the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) even included it as a diagnosis, as of the September 2014 study in Current Addiction Reports . The main signs and symptoms of caffeine withdrawal:

  • Headache
  • Intense fatigue
  • Low mood and irritability
  • Focus issues
  • Flu-like symptoms

Unsurprisingly, the more caffeine you're used to drinking, the worse your withdrawal symptoms will be, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Symptoms can appear anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after you last drank caffeine and can last up to nine days.

2. You Can Lose Weight

The thing that happens when you stop drinking coffee first is that it is effective in losing weight. If your daily caffeine intake looks like a quart of Coke or venti peppermint mocha, you will probably lose a few pounds if you deduct caffeine from your diet.

Just one Grande Salted Caramel Mocha from Starbucks serves 470 calories and 59 grams of sugar. That's more added sugar than the average person should get for more than two full days. It is not surprising, then, that exchanging sugary drinks for decaffeinated alternatives, such as unsweetened herbal teas, is likely to lose weight.

But if you have already drunk black coffee or tea without sugar, you will not be able to lose weight by stopping this drink.

3. You May Feel Less Anxious

If you stop drinking coffee you may feel less anxious. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, which means it can increase brain activity and trigger anxiety.

"A high caffeine intake can cause heart palpitations, trembling, headaches and insomnia in some people," explains Louloudis. "Because individuals already living with anxiety are particularly susceptible to these symptoms, caffeine can exacerbate existing anxiety."

Caffeine is also related to feelings of panic, increased nervousness, and psychological distress in some people, according to an April 2020 study in Foods. If you're living with anxiety, consider reducing your caffeine intake slowly to see if it helps bring you more peace of mind.

4. You'll Probably Sleep Better

The next thing that happens when you stop drinking coffee is the quality of sleep. Caffeine acts as an adenosine receptor antagonist, as of a December 2018 study in Risk Management. Adenosine is a chemical that accumulates in the central nervous system throughout the day, generating drowsiness at night.

When caffeine binds to adenosine receptors, it blocks neurochemical effects that bring calm, according to McGill University. The result: You feel extra alert.

Of course, everyone's caffeine tolerance is different. But for some people, the so-called "slow metabolism", that feeling of alertness can last for hours. Even one cup of coffee during the day can cause serious difficulty sleeping when the time comes.

Bottom Line: If you're sensitive to caffeine, stopping using stimulants can give you better zzzs. Do not be surprised if you feel less productive during the day, since caffeine also increases the production of energy-giving neurotransmitters such as adrenaline. You win some, you lose some.

5. Digestion Can Improve

Caffeine accelerates digestive tract motility, so individuals struggling with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) that predominantly have diarrhea may experience relief from not consuming caffeine, Louloudis said.

You'll remember that minimizing caffeine intake by reducing common triggers like coffee, tea, and chocolate can also improve GERD symptoms. Removing caffeinated and carbonated beverages (such as soda) from food can also increase gas and bloating for some people.


Although not everyone needs to quit caffeine, some people (especially those struggling with hypertension, GERD, IBS, anxiety, or insomnia) can benefit from drinking less coffee, tea, energy drinks, and soda.

Talk to a registered doctor or dietitian on how to curb your caffeine habits steadily and safely.

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