Is Caffeine to Blame For Your Sugar Cravings?



Ever wonder why after your daily coffee you’re craving that added sweet treat?

Caffeine could be to blame for your sugar cravings.

A new study from the University of Cornwell in the UK has found that having food with or shortly after coffee may temporarily irritate taste buds. Which ultimately makes these foods seem less sweet than they actually are.

Caffeine works as a powerful fighter against adenosine receptions, the receptors which are responsible for promoting relaxation and sleepiness. The study found that although caffeine awakens people, it decreases an ability to taste sweetness. Which ironically, makes people crave it more.

Another reason you should just stick to getting enough sleep at night.

When asked about the study and its findings, Robin Dando, Assistant Professor of Food Science at the university 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.”

The study measured two groups. One group sampled 200 milligrams of caffeine as a strong cup of coffee and the other sampling plain decaf.  Both groups had sugar added to their samples. The group with caffeine had rated their coffees less sweet than the ones without caffeine.

The other interesting result that came out of the study was that both groups reported having the same increase in alertness’ after drinking the samples. Although they were not told which group had caffeine.

So, is having caffeine all a placebo effect to help us get through a long day at work?

Professor Dando believes for some people, the effects all lie in the act of drinking the coffee, rather than actually having the caffeine.

“We think there might be a placebo or conditioning effect to the simple act of drinking coffee. Just the act of thinking you have done things to make you feel more awake, makes you feel more awake” he says.

Alas, stick to your morning coffee with a friend if you wish, but maybe pass on the added muffin.

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Jasmin Singh-brar


Jasmin is a final year Journalism student at UTS. As well as a lover of all things coffee, health, fitness and beauty, Jasmin is addicted to seeking out the best lookout spots in Sydney and finding the next best story.

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