A new study by researchers at Cornell University, New York has revealed that caffeine could in fact heighten sugar cravings.
The paper, published in the Journal of Food Science, found that in suppressing receptors in the brain caffeine reduces the ability to taste sweetness. This can lead to an increased desire for sugar. “When you drink caffeinated coffee, it will change how you perceive taste,” says co-author and Associate Professor of Food Science Robin Dando. “So if you eat food directly after drinking a caffeinated coffee or other caffeinated drinks, you will likely perceive food differently.”
Dando and co-authors Ezen Choo and Benjamin Picket asked two groups of people to drink a single cup of coffee, one with caffeine and the other without. Despite both groups having equal amounts of sugar added to their drink, the group that consumed the decaffeinated coffee rated it significantly sweeter.
The researchers claim that, while drinking coffee doesn’t lead to a definite consumption of more sugar, the way it alters taste perception could result in a temporary desire for sweetness.