According to a study by Northwestern University, people with genetic variants that metabolize caffeine more quickly prefer black coffee. They can associate bitterness with caffeine and their own feelings.
Evanston, IL (ADH News) – Do you prefer bitter black coffee? Medical research from Northwestern University found that coffee drinkers’ taste preferences are related to genetic variation. People who like black coffee have faster caffeine metabolism genes, so they prefer black coffee, unflavored tea, and dark chocolate. The research was published in “Scientific Reports.”
For a long time, people think that people who like black coffee prefer the taste of “bitter,” but this study shows that liking black coffee has nothing to do with taste. It is genes that make people willing to take black coffee, and they can associate bitterness with mental alertness, which is a learning effect. On the other hand, it also makes them like other bitter foods.
“That is interesting because these gene variants are related to faster metabolism of caffeine and are not related to taste,” said lead study author Marilyn Cornelis, associate professor of preventive medicine in nutrition. “These individuals metabolize caffeine faster, so the stimulating effects wear off faster as well. So, they need to drink more.”
“Our interpretation is these people equate caffeine’s natural bitterness with a psycho-stimulation effect,” Cornelis said. “They learn to associate bitterness with caffeine and the boost they feel. We are seeing a learned effect. When they think of caffeine, they think of a bitter taste, so they enjoy dark coffee and, likewise, dark chocolate.”
Coffee is one of the three major beverages in the world. Therefore, the impact of coffee on health has always been paid attention to. So far, most studies have affirmed the health benefits of coffee.
In 2012, a study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” showed that there are three compounds in coffee, including caffeine, Caffeic acid, and Chlorogenic acid. They seem to hinder the accumulation of toxicity of a certain protein from reducing Type 2 diabetes risk.
A study published in the “British Medical Journal” in 2017 showed that drinking coffee can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. However, this survey study may affect the relevant survey data as the tester’s age, weight, and lifestyle changes, so the researchers pointed out that in-depth research is needed in the future to provide a complete survey report.
In 2021, according to a study published in “AHA journal Circulation: Heart Failure,” drinking more than two cups of coffee a day can reduce the risk of heart failure by about 30%. The study found that compared with all other dietary factors, the correlation between drinking coffee and reducing the risk of heart failure was more prominent.
This genetic variation is an important discovery. In the past, when scientists discussed the health benefits of coffee, they had to rely on epidemiological studies, but these studies could only provide the link between food and health, not a stronger causal link. The latest research shows that people who like black coffee have a specific genetic marker, and this gene can allow researchers to more accurately study the relationship between coffee and health benefits in the future.