Can Starbucks coffee cause diarrhea? (This is why Starbucks coffee is giving you the runs)

Starbucks coffee causes diarrhea in some people. If you keep on rushing to the toilet every time you take coffee, you are not alone. This may happen due to lactose intolerance, acid sensitivity, artificial sweeteners, or hormonal fluctuations.

I love the energizing effect of Starbucks coffee but dislike the discomfort I get in my stomach after that. That is why nowadays I take my favorite drink slowly in the morning. I came up with this post to help other coffee lovers understand why they experience diarrhea afterward and what they can do about it. Here is more!

Can Starbucks coffee cause stomach problems?

Though Starbucks uses excellent bean quality in making coffee, not everyone has the same experience after taking coffee from them. A Starbucks customer once complained about pooping eleven times after drinking coffee.

Starbucks sells coffee drinks with different levels of acidity. Taking coffee with high acidity levels may cause stomach problems in some people. Many people assume that coffee causes stomach problems since it has too much caffeine in it.

Experts reveal that Starbucks coffee causes stomach problems in some people based on how the coffee beans are roasted. Improperly roasted or defective coffee beans or coffee that is now appropriately brewed can irritate your stomach. Though coffee is made up of numerous compounds, none of them have been proven to hurt the stomach.

Can Starbucks cause diarrhea?

While some people experience frequent popping from drinking Starbucks coffee, others have to deal with diarrhea. If you are in the second category, you should find out why it happens. Some of the reasons include the following.

  • Sensitivity to acids

Can Starbucks cause diarrhea?

The digestive system has acids that break down everything that you eat or drink. If your digestive system is producing excess gastric acid, you may have diarrhea after taking Starbucks coffee. We mentioned that taking high acidity coffees can lead to such stomach problems. This is because they interfere with how food gets processed, broken down, and later absorbed, resulting in diarrhea.

Since coffee is acidic, it makes the body produce a high amount of bile. This alkaline compound can easily build up in the stomach, leading to diarrhea. Starbucks coffee may increase acidity in the gut leading to stomach problems. If you are sensitive to acids, you should stick to low-acidity coffees that are more stomach-friendly.

  • Lactose intolerance

This is also another issue that could be giving you diarrhea after taking Starbucks coffee. Have you been taking a creamer or latte and then spending hours in the bathroom afterward? If yes, you may be lactose intolerant. This condition means that your body fails to produce the enzymes needed to break down a sugar in milk called lactose.

  • Hormonal fluctuations

Starbucks coffee can also affect your digestive system. When you take a cup of coffee, your body will release certain hormones called cholecystokinin and gastrin. Since these two hormones trigger a gastrocolic reflex, Starbucks coffee may increase your trips to the bathroom and make your stool excessively loose.

Experts reveal that hormones can also increase the motility of the intestines. Motility means that the muscles that are responsible for moving substances in the digestive system contract.

Though this drink may not significantly affect the small intestines, it can affect the rectum and colon more.

  • Artificial sweeteners

Can Starbucks coffee cause diarrhea?

Apart from lactose intolerance, artificial sweeteners in Starbucks coffee can also cause diarrhea. Most Starbucks coffee chains offer their customers artificial sweeteners. You should avoid them if you experience diarrhea after taking your drink. This is because sweeteners can upset the digestive system.

  • Health problems

You may also experience diarrhea after taking Starbucks coffee if you have certain underlying health conditions. One of the common health conditions that can cause frequent bowel movements is irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Sensitivity to caffeine

Caffeine is the main compound in coffee that makes you feel more focused after taking this drink. If you are caffeine-sensitive, you may experience diarrhea after taking Starbucks coffee. The caffeine in this drink stimulates acid production in the stomach making the digestive system work faster.

  • Drinking coffee when your stomach is empty

This is also one of the mistakes that many coffee lovers make and end up with diarrhea. Due to the chemical makeup of coffee, you should avoid taking it when you have not consumed anything else.

How can I curb diarrhea after drinking Starbucks coffee?

Diarrhea should not make you quit on your favorite drink. You can still enjoy Starbucks coffee without experiencing this if you only make a few changes. If you are caffeine-sensitive, you should reduce the number of coffee drinks that you take in a day. Are you addicted to coffee? If yes, choose richer coffees that contain less caffeine.

Instead of taking Starbucks coffee on an empty stomach, take it with something else. Sticking to low acidity coffees can also prevent you from stomach problems. Consider cold-brewing your favorite drink instead of always buying it. Doing this in cold water minimizes the acid levels in the drink. You can also take your coffee slowly and avoid creamers.


Many people drink Starbucks coffee due to its positive health effects. If you, however, experience diarrhea after taking Starbucks coffee, you should find out why this happens. It could be that you are taking high acidity coffee, you are lactose intolerant, you have irritable bowel syndrome, or you are taking coffee without eating anything. Once you identify the cause, make changes and find out whether diarrhea stops.


How many cups of coffee should you take in a day?

If you don’t experience any issues, 3-4 cups are advisable. If you experience diarrhea, try one cup a day as you find a solution to this.

How can I reduce my coffee addiction?

You can take more water, try a caffeine-free drink, or reduce the number of coffee cups you take every day.

Why should I take a banana before consuming Starbucks coffee?

Bananas make the acids in the coffee less harsh and soothe the stomach.

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