Thursday May 23, 2019

Why People Love to Have Coffee or Beer in Summer: Decoded

The scientists also did a genome-wide association study of bitter beverage consumption and of sweet beverage consumption

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Starbucks coffee
Starbucks coffee. Pixabay

Whether you choose a dark roast coffee or hoppy beer in the summer, it may actually depend on how the drink makes you feel rather than how it tastes, reveals a genome-based study.

The researchers searched for variations in our taste genes that could explain our beverage preferences because understanding those preferences could indicate ways to intervene in people’s diets.

They found that taste preferences for bitter or sweet beverages are not based on variations in our taste genes but rather genes related to the psychoactive properties of these beverages.

“People like the way coffee and alcohol make them feel. That’s why they drink it. It’s not the taste,” said Marilyn Cornelis, Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg’s School of Medicine.

For the study published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, beverages were categorised into a bitter-tasting group and a sweet-tasting group.

Bitter included coffee, tea, grapefruit juice, beer, red wine and liquor.

Beer
A pint of beer is poured into a glass in a bar in London, Britain. VOA

The researchers provided questionnaires to about 336,000 individuals asking them to report what they ate and drank over the past 24 hours.

The scientists also did a genome-wide association study of bitter beverage consumption and of sweet beverage consumption.

“To our knowledge, this is the first genome-wide association study of beverage consumption based on taste perspective.

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“It’s also the most comprehensive genome-wide association study of beverage consumption to date,” said Victor Zhong, the study’s lead author.

According to the researcher Marilyn Cornelis, the study highlights important behavior-reward components to beverage choice and adds to our understanding of the link between genetics and beverage consumption — and the potential barriers to intervening in people’s diets. (IANS)

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Drinking Coffee Improves Bowel Movement, Find Researchers

Decaffeinated coffee had a similar effect on the microbiome

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Starbucks coffee
Starbucks coffee. Pixabay

Drinking coffee keeps the bowels moving because it changes gut bacteria and improves ability of intestines to contract, find researchers.

Researchers, feeding rats coffee and also mixing it with gut bacteria in petri dishes, found that coffee suppressed bacteria and increased muscle motility, regardless of caffeine content.

“When rats were treated with coffee for three days, the ability of the muscles in the small intestine to contract appeared to increase,” said Xuan-Zheng Shi, associate professor in internal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston.

Interestingly, these effects are caffeine-independent, because caffeine-free coffee had similar effects as regular coffee, Shi informed during the Digestive Disease Week (DDW) 2019 here on Sunday.

Coffee has long been known to increase bowel movement, but researchers have not pinpointed the specific reason or mechanism.

A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. State health officials proposed a regulation change Friday that would declare coffee doesn't present a significant cancer risk, countering a California court ruling.
A barista pours steamed milk into a cup of coffee at a cafe in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2017. VOA

The study found that growth of bacteria and other microbes in fecal matter in a petri dish was suppressed with a solution of 1.5 per cent coffee, and growth of microbes was even lower with a 3 per cent solution of coffee.

Decaffeinated coffee had a similar effect on the microbiome.

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Muscles in the lower intestines and colons of the rats showed increased ability to contract after a period of coffee ingestion, and coffee stimulated contractions of the small intestine and colon when muscle tissues were exposed to coffee directly in the lab.

The results support the need for additional clinical research to determine whether coffee drinking might be an effective treatment for post-operative constipation, or ileus, in which the intestines quit working after abdominal surgery, the authors noted. (IANS)