A Cornell study says the caffeine in coffee may be changing the way we taste foods.
The researchers tested caffeine’s effects in humans, and noticed that it influenced how the subjects perceived sweetness, in both the coffee and in other foods as well.
Study author Robin Dando says the ability to taste is multidimensional.
“People think they were born with a sweet tooth or don’t like a certain thing. Maybe taste is much more plastic than that.”
Researchers gave coffee to two groups of volunteers; one had coffee with 200 milligrams of caffeine and the other drank decaf, but neither group knew which was which.
Both groups were told to add sugar to their coffee and then rate how sweet it was.
The group drinking caffeinated coffee rated it as less sweet than the decaf group.
"When you drink caffeinated coffee, it will change how you perceive taste, for however long that effect lasts.”
The result from the first part of the study confirms the effect that drinking caffeinated coffee changes how you perceive taste.
The second part tells the researchers coffee delivers a potent placebo effect.
When we drink it, we expect an increase in alertness and even those drinking decaf (who didn’t know they were drinking decaf) felt they had received the same jolt of energy like they’d been drinking regular coffee.
If you want to learn more about the results, check out the full study published in the Journal of Food Science.