Coffee and energy drinks are two popular beverages that many people consume to help them feel more alert and energized. While both contain caffeine, have you ever noticed that drinking coffee tends to make you need to use the restroom, but energy drinks do not? In this discussion, we will explore the reasons why coffee has a laxative effect, while energy drinks do not.

Understanding the Digestive System and Caffeine

Caffeine, the active ingredient in both coffee and energy drinks, stimulates the central nervous system and provides an energy boost. However, the effect of caffeine on the digestive system differs between coffee and energy drinks. To understand why coffee makes you poop but not energy drinks, we have to look at how caffeine affects the digestive system.

Coffee and Digestion

Coffee contains more than just caffeine. It also has chlorogenic acid, which stimulates the production of gastric acid. This acid, combined with the caffeine, stimulates the muscles in the colon, causing contractions, and in turn, triggers bowel movements. Additionally, coffee also increases the production of hormones such as gastrin and cholecystokinin, which stimulate the digestive system.

Energy Drinks and Digestion

Energy drinks, on the other hand, do not have the same effect on the digestive system. While they contain caffeine, they lack the other compounds found in coffee that stimulate digestion. Energy drinks also contain high amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that can cause dehydration, which can lead to constipation.

Caffeine and Bowel Movements

Caffeine is a natural laxative, and it can cause bowel movements. However, the effect of caffeine on bowel movements differs from person to person. Some people may experience a bowel movement after drinking coffee, while others may not. The effect of caffeine on bowel movements also depends on the amount of caffeine consumed.

One key takeaway from this text is that the effect of caffeine on the digestive system varies depending on the type of drink consumed. While coffee stimulates the digestive system and can cause bowel movements due to its chlorogenic acid content, energy drinks are less likely to cause bowel movements due to their lack of compounds that stimulate digestion. However, both drinks contain caffeine, which can act as a natural laxative, and other factors such as diet, hydration, exercise, and medications can also influence bowel movements.

The Effect of Coffee on Bowel Movements

Research shows that coffee stimulates the gastrocolic reflex, which is the natural reflex that causes the colon to contract and move waste out of the body. The effect of coffee on bowel movements is also dependent on the amount of coffee consumed. Drinking more than one cup of coffee can cause diarrhea, while drinking less can lead to constipation.

The Effect of Energy Drinks on Bowel Movements

Energy drinks contain less caffeine than coffee, and they lack the other compounds found in coffee that stimulate digestion. As a result, energy drinks are less likely to cause bowel movements. However, the high sugar content in energy drinks can cause dehydration, which can lead to constipation.

Other Factors That Influence Bowel Movements

While caffeine plays a significant role in bowel movements, other factors can also influence digestion and bowel movements.


What you eat can influence your bowel movements. A diet high in fiber can help regulate bowel movements, while a diet low in fiber can cause constipation. Eating foods that are difficult to digest, such as fatty or fried foods, can also slow down digestion and cause constipation.


Dehydration can cause constipation. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help regulate bowel movements and prevent constipation.

Physical Activity

Exercise can help stimulate bowel movements. Regular physical activity can help regulate digestion and prevent constipation.


Certain medications can also affect bowel movements. For example, opioids can slow down digestion and cause constipation. Antacids can also affect digestion and bowel movements.

FAQs for the topic: Why does coffee make you poop but not energy drinks

Why does coffee have a laxative effect?

The main reason behind coffee’s laxative effect is the presence of caffeine, which is a natural stimulant. Caffeine increases the activity of the muscles in your digestive system, which in turn promotes bowel movements. Moreover, caffeine also triggers the production of certain hormones like gastrin and cholecystokinin, which can speed up the digestive process and cause an urge to have a bowel movement. Apart from caffeine, coffee also contains compounds called chlorogenic acids, which may have a laxative effect on some people.

Why don’t energy drinks have a similar effect as coffee?

Energy drinks usually contain caffeine as their main component, but they also have other ingredients like taurine, B vitamins, and herbal extracts. Although caffeine is known to stimulate bowel movements, the amount of caffeine present in energy drinks is significantly lower than coffee. Additionally, energy drinks can contain several other ingredients like sugar or artificial sweeteners, which can slow down digestion and reduce the likelihood of a bowel movement. Furthermore, some energy drinks may also contain substances like guarana, which can have a similar effect as caffeine and may stimulate bowel movements to some extent.

Does the amount of coffee consumed affect how much it makes you poop?

Yes, the amount of coffee you consume can influence how much it makes you poop. Generally, the more coffee you drink, the more likely you are to experience a laxative effect. This is because a larger dose of caffeine and other compounds in coffee will stimulate your digestive system more strongly, increasing the likelihood of bowel movements. In fact, some people consume coffee specifically to trigger a bowel movement. However, drinking excessive amounts of coffee can also cause diarrhea or other digestive issues, so it’s important to consume it in moderation.

Are there any other factors that can affect coffee’s laxative effect?

Yes, several other factors can influence the laxative effect of coffee. For instance, drinking coffee on an empty stomach will likely cause a stronger and more immediate effect on your digestive system, compared to drinking it after a meal. Similarly, drinking coffee that’s too hot or too cold can also affect how it’s absorbed and metabolized in the body, possibly altering its laxative effect. Additionally, each person’s body is unique, and some individuals may be more sensitive to caffeine or other compounds in coffee, which can affect the strength of its laxative effect.

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