Coffee Affects Our Taste Receptors and Makes Us Crave Sugar

Cup of coffee next to a slice of cake

Coffee affects our sense of taste, making us crave sweets

You might want to reduce your coffee consumption if you are trying to lose some weight. A recent study discovered that caffeine might trigger cravings for sweet foods. This might be given by coffee’s capacity of making people more alert, which might reduce the intensity at which they perceive the sweet taste. This might make them more willing to taste such flavors.

If you can’t taste sweet food properly, you are going to crave for it

You must have noticed how different flavors taste differently after drinking coffee. This means that the sweet taste might get diminished. Once people start tasting foods as less sweet than they actually are, they start craving them more. Also, at every 20 percent reduction in the sweet-tasting ability, people are more likely to one extra teaspoon of sugar in any food.

Previous studies showed overweight people had an impaired sense of taste. Therefore, if a person cannot satisfy its taste buds, they will look for more stimuli outside. These stimuli are either more intense or just in a bigger quantity, but they definitely increase the sugar concentration, leading to health problems.

People who drank caffeinated coffee perceived sugar differently

For the study, published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers took 107 participants and split them in two groups. The first group received a decaffeinated coffee with 200 additional milligrams of caffeine. On the other hand, the second group received the same decaffeinated drink, but with an additional flavor which made it taste as bitter as regular coffee. Both drinks also contained sugar.

Then, the participants had to perform some sensorial tests. Those from the caffeinated group found the drink less sweet. Researchers explained that coffee affects the taste receptors while increasing alertness. This made the participants perceive sugar differently, and crave it more.

The decaffeinated group showed the same degree of alertness, although they had no reason to feel so. This means that coffee has a placebo effect, regardless of the concentration of caffeine it contains. Therefore, the act of drinking coffee counts more for people than the drink itself.
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