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Tea or coffee? The answer can be genetic

A commuter sips coffee as he goes through the record setting cold on his way to work in Washington in…

A commuter sips coffee as he goes through the record setting cold on his way to work in Washington in this file photo. Joshua Roberts, Reuters

PARIS – In new research studying how genetic factors determine taste, researchers now think that they know why some people prefer coffee while others choose tea.

A paper published in the week in the journal Scientific reports found that people who are genetically prone to enjoying more bitter taste usually taste coffee because of its higher content of caffeine cakes.

But most importantly for tea drinkers everywhere, it does not make them right.

When people developed, we developed the capacity to detect bitterness as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances.

Evolutionarily, we would like to spit the Americans right down the sink.

However, participants in the trial who were more genetically sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine were more likely to prefer coffee to tea, and more likely to drink more of it.

“You can expect people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine to drink less coffee,” said Marilyn Cornelis, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine.

“The opposite results of our study suggest that coffee consumers get a taste or ability to detect caffeine because of the learned positive boost induced by caffeine.”

So individuals who are genetically preprogrammed to think that the bitterness of coffee learns to associate “good things with it,” Cornelis said.

In the study of more than 400,000 men and women in the United Kingdom, researchers also found that people who are sensitive to the chin’s tiny flavors and a taste related to vegetable compounds were more likely to eschew coffee in favor of its sweeter counterpart, tea.

Liang-Dar Hwang of the Diamantina Institute of University of Queensland, who wrote with the study, told AFP that the fact that some people prefer coffee showed how everyday experiences can interfere with genetic trends in terms of taste.

“Bitter taste perception is formed not only by genetics but also environmental factors,” he said.

“Although people, of course, do not like bitterness, we can learn to enjoy or enjoy bitter tasting food after being exposed to environmental factors.”

Although coffee lovers essentially defy development, there is another possible benefit to enjoy your latte.

Hwang said that coffee drinkers were genetically less sensitive to bitterness than tea drinkers, which made them “less likely to hate other bitterly tasty foods” like green vegetables.

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Faela