MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Robin Dando, PhD
Director, Cornell Sensory Evaluation Facility
Department of Food Science
Ithaca, NY 14853
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The study arose from a previous paper I authored in the Journal of Neuroscience, where we found Adenosine receptors in taste. We managed to prove that they were there to amplify sweet signals. This led us to wonder, what about the foods we consume, that would come into contact with these receptors in taste buds. It just happens that a lot of us habitually consume a powerful blocker of adenosine receptors every morning. Caffeine. So is our coffee impairing sweet signals? It turns out when we gave people sweetened coffee containing caffeine, they judged it as less sweet than the same coffee without the caffeine, sampled on a different day. Interestingly, this persisted, and sweet solutions they tested afterwards were still a little less sweet. Finally, just for kicks, we asked them to rate how much caffeine they thought was in either coffee, and how much more alert it made them feel. Turns out, there was no difference. They couldn’t tell which was deacf, and either coffee gave them just as much of an alertness boost.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: Readers should consider that they may be altering how their food tastes when consuming coffee. And perhaps also, they could be drinking decaf, and getting just as good a jolt from it (as long as someone else was preparing it for them, so they didn’t know).
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: We’re interested in how many factors we encounter in our every day lives change our perception, from the foods we’re consuming themselves, to our own bodies. We’re currently looking into how obesity, pregnancy and sleep can change our sense of taste, and the foods we crave.
If you’d like to hear more about what we do, you can follow our work on twitter @DandoLab.
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1. Citation: Ezen Choo, Benjamin Picket, Robin Dando. Caffeine May Reduce Perceived Sweet Taste in Humans, Supporting Evidence That Adenosine Receptors Modulate Taste. Journal of Food Science, 2017; DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.13836
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