New York, November 18 (IANS): Do you have tea or coffee? According to researchers, there is a genetic predisposition to bitter taste. It may be because the bitterness serves as a natural warning system to protect us from harmful substances. A study led by researchers at Northwestern University in the United States and by the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia investigated responses to three bitter substances such as caffeine, quinine and propylthiouracil (PROP), suggesting that people drink tea, coffee and alcohol.
Studies have shown that people who drink more coffee and more sensitive to caffeine drink a small amount of tea. In other words, people with increased ability to feel the bitter taste of coffee, especially those with a bitter taste of caffeine, learn to "connect good things with it."
"You expect people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine to drink less coffee," said Marilyn Cornelis, associate professor of preventive medicine at Pinebug Medical School. Research has shown that positive reinforcement (stimuli) extracted by caffeine can lead coffee consumers to acquire a taste or ability to detect caffeine. The study, published in the Scientific Reports journal, also avoids the bitter flavors of quinine and PROP in synthetic flavors associated with compounds in cruciferous vegetables. In the case of alcohol, the sensitivity of PROP to bitterness increased, and alcohol consumption, especially in red wine, was reduced.
Professor Cornelis said, "Studies show that information about our genetics contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and liquor." Scientists have applied the Mendelian randomisation, a commonly used technique in disease epidemiology, to test the causal relationship between bitterness and beverage consumption in over 40,000 men and women in the UK.