How Coffee Fuels Your Sugar Cravings

Fagjun | Published 2017-09-07 18:41

What confection do youtake your coffee with?



Bad news, coffee lovers. Coffee can make you less able to taste sweet foods, making your sugar cravings even worse.


If you're one of those people who can't function without a cup or five of coffee in the morning, you're not alone. Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, likely because it's a good way to feel alert and energized at the start of your day. If you pick up a coffee on your way to work or class, do you buy a little something sweet with it as well? Maybe a doughnut or a brownie? This may be because caffeine, the primary stimulant in coffee, lowers our ability to taste sweet food and beverages and increases our cravings for sweets.


There are a number of health benefits to drinking coffee. For example, drinking coffee everyday can reduce the risks of liver cancer. Coffee can even add a few more years to our life span and might also reduce the risks of dementia.


The Sugar Cravings at the Bottom of Your Coffee Cup

Photo by Patrick Tomasso



Thus, it's not coffee itself that's the problem. The food we eat with coffee, however, may become an issue. Researchers at Cornell University gathered 107 volunteers to participate in a taste test. The researchers randomly assigned the participants to one of two groups, both of which have designated type of coffee. One group got a cup of coffee with 200 milligrams of caffeine, which in layman's terms is what we call “very strong coffee”. The other group got decaffeinated coffee, which researchers laced with quinine. This made the decaf coffee taste like the real thing. Both groups, however, received coffees with the same amount of sugar in them.


The participants didn't know which kind of coffee they were drinking.


According to the findings, participants who received caffeinated coffee gave their beverage a lower sweetness rating than those who received decaffeinated coffee. The participants then consumed a sucrose solution and rated its sweetness as well. As before, those who drank caffeinated coffee gave the solution a lower sweetness rating.


What is it, therefore, in the caffeine that makes us less sensitive or receptive to sweetness? The caffeine may be affecting our brain itself, reducing our ability to taste sweet foods.


It's All in the Brain

Hey! Where are you going?? Subscribe!

Get weekly science updates in your inbox!