Why you drink black coffee: It’s in your genes

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In a new study from Northwestern Medicine, researchers found people who like to drink their coffee black also prefer dark chocolate. The reason is in their genes.

They found coffee drinkers who have a genetic variant that reflects a faster metabolism of caffeine prefer bitter, black coffee.

And the same genetic variant is found in people who prefer the more bitter dark chocolate over the more mellow milk chocolate.

The reason is not that they love the taste, but rather because they associate the bitter flavor with the boost in mental alertness they expect from caffeine.

The dark chocolate connection also may be related to the fact that dark chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine but predominantly theobromine, a caffeine-related compound, also a psychostimulant.

Coffee and dark chocolate consumption have been shown to lower the risk of certain diseases.

Moderate coffee consumption lowers the risk of Parkinson’s disease, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes and several types of cancer. Dark chocolate appears to lower the risk of heart disease.

In the study, the team showed these genetic variants can be used more precisely to study the relationship between coffee and health benefits.

Previously, scientists were using genetic markers for coffee drinkers in general.

The new findings suggest they are stronger markers for particular types of coffee drinkers—black coffee drinkers. This impacts the interpretation of these genetic studies of coffee and health.

Based on the findings, the person who drinks black coffee also prefers other bitter foods like dark chocolate.

The benefits of black coffee are based on moderate consumption of two to three cups a day, the team says

The current study used genetic, dietary and food preference data available from the UK Biobank and two U.S. cohorts, the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-up Study.

If you care about coffee, please read studies about drinking more coffee linked to lower heart failure risk, and findings that making coffee this way may help prevent type 2 diabetes.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies about supplement that may reduce muscle soreness after exercise, and results showing that these two COVID-19 pills may change everything.

The study is published in Scientific Reports. One author of the study is Marilyn Cornelis.

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