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Your Genes Determine You As a Tea or Coffee Person

"The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol," Cornelis said

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Representational image.
Your genes make you tea or coffee lover: Study. Pixabay

Are you a tea or coffee person? The answer may lie in your genetic predisposition towards bitter tastes, say researchers.

It could be because bitterness acts as a natural warning system to protect us from harmful substances.

The study, led by researchers from US-based Northwestern University, and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Australia, explored reactions to three bitter substances — caffeine, quinine and propylthiouracil (PROP) — to understand how they affect people’s preference for drinking tea, coffee and alcohol.

The findings showed that people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea.

In other words, people who have a heightened ability to taste coffee’s bitterness — and particularly the distinct bitter flavour of caffeine — learn to associate “good things with it”.

“You’d expect that people who are particularly sensitive to the bitter taste of caffeine would drink less coffee,” said Marilyn Cornelis, assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

tea
The findings showed that people who were more sensitive to caffeine and were drinking a lot of coffee consumed low amounts of tea. Pixabay

“The opposite results of our study suggest coffee consumers acquire a taste or an ability to detect caffeine due to the learned positive reinforcement (stimulation) elicited by caffeine.”

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, also found that people sensitive to the bitter flavours of quinine and of PROP — a synthetic taste related to the compounds in cruciferous vegetables — avoid coffee.

For alcohol, a higher sensitivity to the bitterness of PROP resulted in lower alcohol consumption, particularly of red wine.

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“The findings suggest our perception of bitter tastes, informed by our genetics, contributes to the preference for coffee, tea and alcohol,” Cornelis said.

Scientists applied Mendelian randomisation — a technique commonly used in disease epidemiology — to test the causal relationship between bitter taste and beverage consumption in more than 4,00,000 men and women in the UK. (IANS)

Next Story

Third-Hand Smoke can Harm Respiratory System by Changing Gene Expressions: Study

A total of 382 genes among approximately 10,000 genes in the data set were significantly over-expressed and seven other genes were under-expressed, according to the study

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third-hand smoke
The nasal membrane tissue is similar to those in the bronchus, so the researchers suggested that the damage could go deeper into the respiratory system. Flickr

The hazards of second-hand smoke are well-known. Now, scientists have found even third-hand smoke (THS) could do harm to one’s respiratory health by changing gene expressions.

The study published in the latest edition of JAMA Network Open this week showed that the third-hand smoke can damage epithelial cells in the respiratory system, coercing those cells into a fight for survival, Xinhua news agency reported. THS results when the exhaled smoke and smoke emanating from the burning cigarettes settle on surfaces like clothing, hair and furniture.

The researchers from University of California, Riverside (UCR) obtained nasal scrapes from four healthy non-smoking women aged 27 to 49 years, who were randomized to receive the clean air exposure first and then THS exposure for three hours. The researchers extracted Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) from them to examine their gene expression changes.

third-hand smoke
Also, the researchers have found that the inhalation altered pathways associated with oxidative stress that may cause cancer in the long term. Flickr

A total of 382 genes among approximately 10,000 genes in the data set were significantly over-expressed and seven other genes were under-expressed, according to the study. “The THS inhalation for only three hours significantly altered gene expression in the nasal epithelium of healthy non-smokers,” said the paper’s first author Giovanna Pozuelos, a graduate student at UCR.

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Also, the researchers have found that the inhalation altered pathways associated with oxidative stress that may cause cancer in the long term. The nasal membrane tissue is similar to those in the bronchus, so the researchers suggested that the damage could go deeper into the respiratory system.

“Many smoking adults think, ‘I smoke outside, so my family inside the house will not get exposed.’ But smokers carry chemicals like nicotine indoors with their clothes,” said Prue Talbot, a professor at UCR, who led the research. “It’s important to understand people that the THS is real and potentially harmful,” said Talbot. (IANS)