According to Science, Coffee and Donuts Really are Soul Mates

There's a good reason coffee and garlic bread never took off. Okay, there are a few reasons we could rattle off, but the main one is this: science, baby! Trade that savory starch stick for a donut and you're in business. Chemistry has your back on why these two are a caloric match made in caffeinated, sugary heaven.

One Cream And Ten Sugars, Please

An August 2017 study published in the Journal of Food Science confirmed what we've all known from square one: coffee and donuts is a damn-near holy combination. The study, conducted by Cornell University researchers, found that caffeine temporarily messes with your taste buds in a way that makes food and drinks taste less sweet. Caffeine effectively suppresses adenosine receptors, which promote sleepiness and relaxation. As caffeine does its job to wake you up in the morning, the blocking of these receptors also decreases your ability to taste sweetness.

Senior author Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science, said, "When you drink caffeinated coffee, it will change how you perceive taste — for however long that effect lasts. So if you eat food directly after drinking a caffeinated coffee or other caffeinated drinks, you will likely perceive food differently." Because caffeine suppresses the sweet tastes, this could just make you want a cruller even more.

Hot, Steamy Cup Of Placebo Joe

In the blind study, participants were either given decaffeinated or regular coffee (not telling them which they were drinking) with sugar added. Participants who drank the caffeinated brew rated it as less sweet than did the ones with decaf.

In a secondary part of the study, participants had to rate their level of alertness after drinking their cup of joe and guess how much caffeine they had just consumed. They were unable to determine whether or not the drink was caffeinated, but they all reported the same increase in alertness. "We think there might be a placebo or a conditioning effect to the simple action of drinking coffee," said Dando. "Think Pavlov's dog. The act of drinking coffee — with the aroma and taste — is usually followed by alertness."


Written by Joanie Faletto September 9, 2017

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