It’s 2017, which means you can’t peep a TV show or meme without someone joking about how necessary coffee is to survival. And it’s true that coffee is not only what gets a lot of us out of bed every morning, but is also what keeps us from falling back into it throughout the day. A delicious and magical as coffee is, not everyone can handle it all the time. But before you hit the “pause” button on that drip coffee maker in the kitchen, you should think about the things that happen to your body when you quit coffee.
As much as we love it, we can’t fight science: Quitting coffee is not a bad idea, even if you handle caffeine like a champ.
HelloGiggles talked to Tamar Samuels, a New York City-based nutritionist and the founder of All Great Nutrition, to find out what really happens to your bod when you quit coffee — and whether you really need to or not. She told HG:
“Every BODY is different, and we can’t apply average outcomes from research to all people. Coffee tolerance depends on a number of factors, including genetics, current stress level, how well you are sleeping, whether or not you have a chronic or inflammatory disease, and your gut health.”
So depending on your genes and your other health habits, your body will react differently when you cut out coffee. Here are just a few of them.
1You might go through withdrawal.
Caffeine is addictive. There’s a reason you feel like you NEED coffee when you wake up in the morning. You can quit cold turkey, but there are other substitutes that are just as good — if not better — for you than your latte. Samuels says to give yourself 2-4 weeks to wean yourself of of coffee. If you’re quitting caffeine, replacing your morning cup with a cup of green tea should take the edge off. Samuels explains, “If you can tolerate small amounts of caffeine, green tea is a great coffee substitute. It contains beneficial phytonutrients and antioxidants that help fight inflammation that can lead to certain chronic and inflammatory diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia.”
2Your digestive system might change.
Overall, research shows that coffee is pretty healthy for you — but it depends on the person. “Some people, particularly those with gluten-sensitivity, also have a sensitivity to the proteins in coffee beans (not the caffeine-component of coffee), which can lead to a number of unpleasant symptoms,” Samuels says. This could include digestive problems or even headaches and fatigue. So quitting coffee might help those problems you didn’t even know you might have had. If digestion is an issue while weaning your coffee intake, Samuels says hot water and lemon in the morning is the way to go.
3You might gain a little weight.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it could happen. For starters, you might be replacing your afternoon cup of coffee with something different, so pay attention to what that is and how it makes you feel. Coffee also has a reputation to help with weight loss. Samuels says it sort of depends:
“The research on caffeine and weight loss suggests that caffeine may have a slight impact on weight management by preventing weight gain and slightly increasing weight loss at least in the short term. This may be due to the appetite suppression effects of caffeine.” She adds, “Caffeine may also increase energy use (aka fat burning) at rest by stimulating thermogenisis — the production of heat from metabolizing food.”
4You might feel less anxious.
Caffeine affects people in different ways. “If you drink coffee and feel exhausted later in the day or jittery and wired afterwards, that is evidence you don’t tolerate coffee well,” Samuels says. So replacing coffee with an herbal tea or even a green tea, which has less caffeine in it, might help you out. Cutting out coffee is a good first step for anyone trying to work on their anxiety or figure out how to manage it. Even cutting down on a cup or two can help out.
5You could feel less bloated.
Like Samuels says, it all depends on your body. But if you aren’t processing the proteins in coffee well, it could be making you bloated. Allergic reactions like ” headache, fatigue, bloating, gas, or itchy eyes,” Samuels says, could be a sign you should quit. Who knew?
6You’ll be adding fewer toxins to your body.
One simple way to quit a bad coffee habit is to just switch what kind of coffee you buy. If you have random reactions to coffee it could be the chemicals. “Coffee [is one] of the most sprayed crops in America and many people are actually sensitive to the pesticides and other chemicals used in coffee processing,” Samuels says. So if you’re concerned about super clean eating, quitting non-organic coffees is the way to go.
Depending on your personal health, quitting coffee isn’t always essential. But if you decide to go for it, definitely be prepared for some changes in your body — both good and temporarily not-so-great.