Coffee increases sensitivity to sweetness, makes sweet food sweeter
Researchers at Aarhus University have found that coffee makes one more sensitive to sweetness. Therefore sweet food is even sweeter when you drink coffee.According to the researcher, the study sheds some light on a new aspect of our knowledge about our senses of smell and taste.
The results of the research have been published in the scientific journal Foods.
Coffee lovers with a penchant for dark chocolate now have a scientific explanation for why the two are a perfect match.
In the study, 156 test subjects had their sense of smell and taste tested before and after drinking coffee. The researchers found no changes tin their sense of smell, but they found that the sense of taste was affected.
"When people were tested after drinking coffee, they became more sensitive to sweetness, and less sensitive to bitterness," says associate professor at Aarhus University Alexander Wieck Fjældstad, who was involved in carrying out the study.
To rule out the possibility that caffeine in the coffee could be a factor, the researchers repeated the experiment using decaffeinated coffee. With the same result.
"It's probably some of the bitter substances in the coffee that create this effect," says Alexander Wieck Fjældstad.
"This may explain that if you enjoy a piece of dark chocolate with your coffee, it's taste is much milder, because the bitterness is downplayed and the sweetness is enhanced," he continues.
"We already know that our senses have an effect on each other, but it's a surprise that our registration of sweetness and bitterness is so easily influenced."
According to Alexander Wieck Fjældstad, the results maybe provide us with a better understanding of how our taste buds work.
"More research in this area could have significance for how we regulate the way in which we use sugar and sweeteners as food additives. Improved knowledge can potentially be utilised to reduce sugar and calories in our food, which would be beneficial for a number of groups, including those who are overweight and diabetes patients," he explains.
The study is a It is a comparative study in which trial participants act as their own controls.
Alexander Wieck Fjælstad is affiliated with a research group investigating enjoyment in Oxford as well as at the Flavor Clinic, Øre-Næse-Halsafdelingen in Holstebro.
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