There are a number of things that we shouldn’t be doing on an empty stomach for various reasons. They can cause digestive discomfort, they may need liquids or stomach acids to work properly, or substances may damage the lining of the stomach or cause other internal injuries. Let’s look at a few things that we should avoid unless we’ve eaten within the last 2 hours.
Taking Anti-Inflammatory Meds
Most NSAID pain relievers, including ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen and paracetamol should never be taken on an empty stomach. In fact, as a general rule of thumb, we shouldn’t take any type of medication on an empty stomach unless directed otherwise. The lining of our stomachs are very sensitive, and many pharmaceuticals irritate or even eat through this membrane. In serious cases, ulcers and gastric bleeding can occur, and these may end up being life-threatening.
If you don’t want to eat, consider washing down the meds with a full glass of milk. Milk contains proteins and other compounds that foods have, and this can help to protect the stomach and digestive tract.
Drinking Coffee and Alcohol
Drinking coffee stirs up acids in the stomach, and this can lead to painful and burning indigestion. If you don’t want to wait until you eat for your first cup of coffee, use half and half instead. The milk fat will help to neutralize this reaction in the stomach.
Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach may seem like a great way to intensify the effects, but it actually does more harm than good. Alcohol gets absorbed into our bloodstream at more than twice the rate, and this can overwhelm our liver and kidneys. Additionally, we can become dehydrated at a faster rate, our heart rate and blood pressure can skyrocket, and we are also more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol poisoning. While the effects will vary from person to person, regularly drinking alcohol on an empty stomach is something that should be avoided whenever possible.
When we chew gum, we trick the body into thinking that its eating food. Our digestive system kicks into high gear, and our stomachs start producing digestive juices. However, these juices damage the lining of our stomachs when they’re empty, because they normally eat away at foods instead. This can lead to serious and even chronic digestive problems that are completely preventable. Always have a little bit of food in your stomach before chewing gum.
Some say that sleeping on an empty stomach can lower blood sugar and interfere with how the body resets itself during the night. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, the quality of your sleep isn’t that good, or you don’t feel as rested as you should, consider eating a little bit of something healthy before going to bed. Maybe this will work, maybe not, but it’s definitely worth trying out nonetheless.
A lot of people are under the impression that we burn more fat on an empty stomach as the body has to tap into these reserves. In reality, the body absorbs muscle and turns it into energy before it goes after fat. Additionally, eating wakes up our metabolism, and the body performs at its best when there’s a little bit of food in our bellies. If you want to have a good and productive workout, make sure you eat about 45 minutes beforehand.
In reality, unless we’re intentionally fasting, there’s little reason to go through the day on an empty stomach. Make it a point to incorporate eating small meals throughout the day, and chances are that you’ll never have to worry about these or other problems associated with hunger, now as well as during a survival situation.