Let me start by making a confession. After doing really good in November to cut back to only a single cup of coffee almost every single day that month, the stress and worry of my family’s current covid situation caused a sharp increase in consumption. I began drinking 2-3 cups a day again, which I know is really Not Good for my body. I also made the mistake of buying iced coffee for our isolation period, which is dangerous for me! So about a week ago, I started working to cut back again, first from three to two cups. After a few days of this, I had the Experience.
Last Wednesday: I only drank one cup of coffee in the morning, so after lunch, I allowed myself a tumbler of iced coffee. I drank it slowly over about an hour. By the end of it, I started feeling odd, and I knew I was about to have a major hypoglycemia attack. I quickly made myself a protein-and-fat-heavy snack with some quick carbs to stabilize. By the time I finished making it and sat down at the table, I was dizzy, weak, and shaking, in full-on hypoglycemia.
There is no reason I should have had an attack. I literally had lunch right before drinking this cup of coffee, and it was only an hour between lunch and this hasty snack. But it’s also not the first time I’ve had hypoglycemia attacks after drinking coffee. It’s actually quite common if I drink it when it’s been a few hours since I’ve eaten, for instance. Doesn’t matter if I drink it black, with half & half (like that day), or with sugar/flavorings – actually, happens less if there is sugar in the coffee. This is why I’ve taken to drinking coffee only right after meals.
Anyway, that was only the first half of the Experience. The next half came the following morning. I had breakfast (full fat Greek yogurt with blueberries, wheat germ, cocoa, and honey) and decided to have my iced coffee for the day at the same time. I didn’t want to risk it in the afternoon again. I finished about half the coffee during breakfast, and took the rest back to my room to drink slowly as I read a bit. Roughly 15-20 mins later, just a few more sips in, I noticed that my stomach felt weird after taking a drink. It settled out, but the weird feeling returned after the next drink. By the third, I realized that the weird feeling was the same that I get preceding a hypoglycemia attack. Only it was happening while my stomach was still full from breakfast. I knew that if I kept drinking, I would make myself really sick. Again. Because I was paying attention, I was able to catch myself in time. I dumped out the rest of the coffee, and then didn’t end up having a hypoglycemia attack.
I’m not sure why coffee affects me like this. It’s not the caffeine, because other caffeine sources don’t (and decaf coffee DOES). But it’s just another sign that I need to double down to remove this altogether.