Love dark chocolate and black coffee? It could be down to your genes12/30/2021
If you adore black coffee and dark chocolate, you might be surprised to hear that it could actually be down to your DNA.
According to a new study, there could be a genetic basis for bitter food and drink choices.
What’s more, those with this ‘black coffee gene’ could be on track to better overall health.
This is because studies have previously shown drinking moderate amounts of black coffee – between 3 and 5 cups daily – has been found to lower the risk of certain diseases, including Parkinson’s, heart diseases, Type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer.
And the benefits are more likely if you take coffee without milk or sugar.
In a new study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, caffeine researcher Marilyn Cornelis looked more precisely at these different types of coffee drinkers – separating black coffee lovers from those who add milk and sugar.
The team found those with the gene that metabolises caffeine faster prefer bitter, black coffee.
They also discovered these individuals prefer plain tea over sweetened, and bitter, dark chocolate over the milk variety.
However, the researchers stress that they don’t think the preference has anything to do with the taste of plain black coffee or tea.
Instead they say people with this gene prefer black coffee and tea because they associate the bitter flavour with the boost in mental alertness they expect from caffeine.
In other words, they learn to associate bitterness with caffeine and the pick-me-up they feel.
In previous research, Marilyn Cornelis and her team also discovered that this genetic variant may also contribute to why some people enjoy numerous cups of coffee a day – while others do not.
‘People with the gene metabolise caffeine faster, so the stimulating effects wear off faster, and they need to drink more coffee,’ she said.
‘This could explain why some individuals seem to be fine consuming a lot more coffee relative to someone else who might get jitters or become very anxious.’
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