Nutrition

Bad Night’s Sleep? Don’t Start Your Day With Coffee | This Week’s Top Studies

What are the best ways to reach your training goals? How much sleep should you really be getting? Are you eating enough of the right foods? We all have so many questions when it comes to health and fitness and keeping up with the latest studies is a great way to get them answered. 

This week we’re looking at whether you should really start your day with coffee and a source of plant-based protein that could replace soy. Here’s what the latest research says. 

 

Coffee before or after breakfast? 

nitro brew

 

We’ve all had that awful night’s sleep where you feel like the only thing that’s going to pull you through is a good kick of caffeine. According to the latest research, though, you might want to wait until you’ve shovelled down some cereal before you pop the kettle on.  

While you might think this is because it has an effect on overall energy levels, or over-reliance on caffeine, researchers actually found a surprising link to drinking coffee first thing in the morning and your metabolism. 

Researchers had 29 healthy men and women experience 3 different nights of sleep quality: 

1. A normal night’s sleep with a sugary drink in the morning. 

2. A disturbed sleep where participants were woken every hour for 5 minutes with a sugary drink in the morning. 

3. The same sleep disruption as night 2 followed by a strong black coffee on waking before the sugary drink. 

The sugary drink contained around the same amount of calories as the average breakfast and the participants had their blood glucose levels measured after they’d finished the drink. They found that one bad night’s sleep didn’t affect blood glucose levels compared to a good night’s sleep. However, drinking coffee half an hour before the sugary drink led to increased blood glucose levels by about 50%. 

Basically, this means that having your coffee first could making it harder for your body to deal with the sugar from your breakfast. The answer is you still need that caffeine boost? Eat your brekkie first and follow it down with your coffee. 

 

Rapeseed a better plant-based protein than soy? 

 

If you’ve dabbled with a more plant-based lifestyle, then chances are you’ve tried something made from soy. From milk to burgers, it’s a plant-based staple, but could it really be replaced by something even better? The latest research thinks so. 

Soy is an especially great source of plant-based protein because it contains all the essential amino acids — the building blocks of protein that your body can’t make by itself. According to the study, rapeseed has a similar amino acid profile, making it a pretty powerful source of protein too. They also found that rapeseed contains phytochemicals which are good for your health and can be produced as a by-product of rapeseed oil production. 

The study looked at the impact of rapeseed vs. soy on the metabolism in 20 participants. They were asked to keep a food diary in the days before and then eat a specific meal on three different days that either contained no added protein, soy protein, or rapeseed protein. 

Blood test results found that rapeseed had a similar effect on metabolism to soy protein and even induced a slightly better insulin response. So, will we be seeing more of it on our shelves? Potentially in savoury foods as it has a mustardy flavour — probably not something you’d want in a yoghurt or protein shake! 

 

Take home message 

We love a bit of experimental nutrition over here and we’ve definitely got that with this week’s studies. Will you be swapping your coffee time, or is making breakfast just too difficult without starting with a sip of coffee? Is the future of plant-based food in rapeseed? Keep an eye out for it on supermarket shelves! 

Enjoy reading up on the latest studies?

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Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.


1. Smith, H. A., Hengist, A., Thomas, J., Walhin, J. P., Heath, P., Perkin, O., … & Betts, J. A. (2020). Glucose control upon waking is unaffected by hourly sleep fragmentation during the night, but is impaired by morning caffeinated coffeeBritish Journal of Nutrition, 1-20.

2. Volk, C., Brandsch, C., Schlegelmilch, U., Wensch-Dorendorf, M., Hirche, F., Simm, A., … & Schwerdtle, T. (2020). Postprandial Metabolic Response to Rapeseed Protein in Healthy SubjectsNutrients12(8), 2270.



Evangeline Howarth

Evangeline Howarth

Writer and expert

Evangeline is a Veganuary convert and newbie vegan with a degree in English and French from the University of Nottingham. Having recently ditched the meat and dairy, she really enjoys the new flavours and cooking techniques she’s encountered on a plant-based diet. She’s been shocked by the millions of ways you can use tofu, however still hasn’t found a decent cheese substitute! When she’s not in the office or eating, Evangeline usually out running or sailing. As a qualified RYA Dinghy Instructor and a marathon runner, she knows the importance of providing your body with the right nutrients for endurance sports as well as a busy lifestyle. Find out more about Evie's experience here.


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