Genetics play a major role in determining our beverage preferences.
Washington: Researchers searched for variations in our taste genes that could explain our beverage preferences. Surprisingly, the study showed that the taste preferences for bitter or sweet beverages aren't based on variations in our taste genes, but rather genes related to the psychoactive properties of these beverages.
"The genetics underlying our preferences are related to the psychoactive components of these drinks. People like the way coffee and alcohol make them feel. That's why they drink it. It's not the taste," wrote assistant professor, Cornelis, in a study published in the Journal of Human Molecular Genetics Scientist.
The study highlights important behaviour-reward components to beverage choice and adds to our understanding of the link between genetics and beverage consumption including the potential barriers to intervening in people's diets.
Sugary beverages are linked to many diseases and health conditions. Alcohol intake is related to why people like coffee and beer more than 200 diseases and accounts for about 6 per cent of deaths globally.
Researchers did find one variant in a gene, called FTO, linked to sugar-sweetened drinks. People who had a variant in the FTO gene also have the same variant previously related to lower risk of obesity. For this study, beverages were categorised into a bitter-tasting group and a sweet-tasting group.
Bitter included coffee, tea, grapefruit juice, beer, red wine and liquor. Sweet included sugar-sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages and non-grapefruit juices. This taste classification has been previously validated.
Beverage intake was collected using 24-hour dietary recalls or questionnaires. Scientists counted the number of servings of these bitter and sweet beverages consumed by about 336,000 individuals.