Plenty of coffee drinkers will tell you – yours truly included – coffee makes us poop. According to a video from YouTube’s SciShow, about 3 out of 10 people say their morning coffee leads to a bathroom break. It’s a minority I am proud to find myself a part of.
But, though the idea that coffee makes us poop is a widely-accepted phenomenon, what SciShow was unable to put its finger on is just why that’s the case. Turns out that caffeine alone probably isn’t the cause since, according to the video, both regular and decaf coffees have been shown to induce the same response. Instead, another study SciSchow cites proposes a different answer: Something in coffee, caffeinated or otherwise, increases the release of the hormone gastrin which encourages movement in the intestines. This study found that similar effects didn’t occur when subjects drank just hot water or a “simulated coffee beverage” with sugar and caffeine – making it seem like coffee itself is the culprit.