Posted: November 18, 2018 12:04:16
Are you a person with tea or coffee? The answer may be in your genetic predisposition to bitter taste, say researchers. It is possible that bitterness acts as a natural warning system that protects us from harmful substances. A study led by researchers from the Northwestern University of the USA and QIMR Berghofer Medical Institute in Australia investigated the reactions of three bitter substances – caffeine, quinine and propylthio-uracil (PROP) – to understand how they affect people's desire drink tea, coffee and alcohol.
Findings have shown that people who were more sensitive to caffeine and drank large coffee were enjoying small amounts of tea. In other words, people who have a greater ability to taste the bitterness of coffee – and especially the particularly bitter taste of caffeine – learn to associate "good things with it".
"We would expect people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine to drink less coffee," said Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of preventative medicine at the Feinberg Medical School at the northwestern university. "The opposite of our research suggests that coffee consumers gain the taste or ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive enhancement (induced) caused by caffeine."
The study, published in the Scientific Reports magazine, also found that people who are sensitive to the bitter taste of quinine and PROP, the synthetic flavor associated with compounds in cross-linked vegetables prevents coffee. For alcohol, the greater sensitivity to the burning of PROP was the lower the consumption of alcohol, especially red wine.
"The findings show that our perception of bitter tastes, which informs our genetics, contributes to choosing coffee, tea and alcohol," said Cornelis. Scientists used Mendelian randomization, commonly used in epidemiology of the disease, to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and the consumption of beverages in over 4,000,000 men and women in the United Kingdom
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