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Coffee or tea? Some would say it’s an age-old debate. However, further research has revealed that the answer isn’t quite simple. Thanks to a recent study, our preferences over coffee or tea are a lot deeper. In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Queensland in Australia reveals that depending on our genes can determine how bitter flavors taste on our tongue.
The study found we have “bitter taste receptor genes” and that these genes are the main contributor to our own “perception of caffeine”. These genes determine much we like or dislike coffee, and even if you prefer to get the buzz from it. Initial reports of this study revealed that our genes determine how our body responds to tea and coffee. However, this new study went deeper and looked at bitter tastes as well as caffeine perception. Specifically how those two aspects influence us and which of the two drinks we would have more often.
The study looked at both coffee and tea drinking habits of roughly 400,000 people in the UK between the ages of 37 and 73. They matched this data with the sample group’s genetic makeup as well. For this study, they compared both the participants’ drink preferences with their own genetics. Afterward, they looked for those who carried those bitter taste receptor genes and found that those who have bitter taste receptor genes drink more coffee than everyone else.
In fact, the group discovered that those with those genes were 20 percent more likely to be coffee drinkers. On top of that, they drink less tea, mostly avoiding it.
When the study looked at tea drinkers, they found that they had genes that are more open to tasting different types of bitterness. The study found that tea drinkers were far more sensitive to bitter tastes. So, whenever they had a craving for caffeine or need that caffeine boost, those people tend to go for something that’s not as intense.
But despite all of this, your own genes aren’t exactly the final determination for your beverage of choice. No doubt we’ve all had experiences with beverages but also that our taste buds change over time for various reasons.
There are various benefits to drinking both coffee and tea so it’s not a matter of which one is better. As Harvard Health mentions, coffee has been linked to lower risks of heart disease as well as Parkinson’s and other forms of cancer. As for tea, there are numerous benefits depending on what you drink. Generally speaking tea is a fantastic source of antioxidants and is also connected to improving heart health, too.