“You are what you eat” is an adage known to everyone. But what we do before a meal also has a great impact on our health.
Bright Side is going to tell you about 9 things you can’t do on an empty stomach (no less than 2 hours after your last meal). As a bonus, you’ll find information about what you can do when you’re hungry at the end of the article.
9. Take anti-inflammatories
Aspirin, paracetamol, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can’t be taken on an empty stomach. Not only does it reduce their effectiveness but it causes serious health problems (such as gastric bleeding) as well. Read here about other medicines not to be taken on an empty stomach.
Advice: Milk lowers the negative effects of NSAIDs. If it’s not available, you can wash the drug down with plenty of water.
8. Drink coffee
Even decaffeinated coffee stimulates the production of acid that might cause heartburn and other digestive tract issues if drunk on an empty stomach. Skipping breakfast even after coffee may lead to a serotonin deficiency and a gloomy mood for the rest of the day.
Advice: If you’re unable to give up the habit of drinking coffee first thing in the morning, consume it with milk or cream: milk fat will reduce the negative effects. Choose natural coffee over freeze-dried.
7. Drink alcohol
Without eating, the alcohol absorption rate increases by a factor of 2 and is the same as during its intravenous injection. In contrast, the removal of alcohol breakdown products slows down, which provokes a severe hangover. The rapid effect of alcohol on the body doesn’t go without negative consequences for your liver, heart, and kidneys.
Advice: If the situation doesn’t allow you to refuse a drink, give preference to cooled noncarbonated drinks as they are absorbed more slowly. Better yet, eat at least a small sandwich, ideally one that contains butter.
6. Chew gum
The digestive acid produced while you’re chewing gum destroys the lining of an empty stomach; overindulgence with gum may lead to gastritis. It is also scientifically proven that people who chew gum prefer junk food (French fries, candy) rather than fruit and vegetables.
Advice: Chewing gums containing natural sweeteners (xylitol, sorbitol) are less harmful than those with sugar, cyclamate, or aspartame. Avoid chewing gum for more than 10 minutes, even on a full stomach.
5. Go to bed
Hunger and low glucose levels prevent us from falling asleep and cause superficial sleep and early awakening. Interestingly, a lack of sleep increases the level of hunger hormones. This is the reason why we eat more on the following day after skipping dinner.
Advice: Gorging yourself before sleep is also a bad idea. The best solution is dairy products because they contain magnesium and calcium. These elements will ensure a sound sleep.
4. Intense training
There is an opinion that exercising on an empty stomach burns more calories. In truth, that doesn’t influence fat loss. Muscle loss, on the other hand, is real. The exercise intensity is also reduced since the body lacks energy.
Advice: Replace intense training with aerobic exercise. If you have digestive issues, you’d better have a snack before any type of exercise because physical activity induces production of gastric juice, which is harmful to an empty stomach.
We all know that hunger makes us buy more food than we actually need. In fact, an empty stomach makes us more acquisitive even in non-food stores. According to research, the internal message of “I want food“ gets pared down to simply ”I want,” and the famished person obeys that message by buying things.
Advice: Besides a shopping list made in advance, paying with cash can also help you save money. Further research shows that people tend to spend less when they pay with cash instead of a credit card.
2. Drink citrus juice
The acid and tough fibers contained in citrus fruits irritate your empty stomach, which is especially dangerous for those who have gastritis or are at risk of developing it.
Advice: Freshly squeezed citrus juice will bring nothing but benefits if you dilute it with water in a 1:1 ratio (for those with hyperacidity) or 2:1 (for all others). By the way, there are other foods besides citruses that shouldn’t be eaten on an empty stomach. You can find out what they are by watching this video.
Researchers have proven that hunger makes us less composed. It happens because self-control requires energy, which is in short supply when the stomach is empty.
Advice: If you don’t have time to eat before a discussion, drink something warm, and offer it to your opponent too. This will make the conversation more amicable.
The promised bonus: What you can do when you’re hungry
You’re probably guessing that the most apt thing you can do is to eat some food. But there are other, less obvious things that are best done on an empty stomach.
Solve problems. Your ability to concentrate and attentiveness becomes more acute when you’re hungry. According to researchers, this is the legacy of our early ancestors who had to focus all their efforts to get food. The hunger hormone ghrelin also helps to perform various tasks, stimulating brain activity.
Make choices. If you can’t decide on what to choose — a red skirt or a jean jumpsuit? — try doing it on an empty stomach. Research shows that hunger leads people into more successful, even though more impulsive, decisions. Of course, you’d better not use this method when matters of finances, relationships, or health are at stake.