Everybody’s coffee drinking habits are different; some people crave several cups a day, while others limit themselves to a single shot or none at all.
Now scientists claim that they’ve found a way to explain your relationship with coffee, noting genetic variations that affect how the body breaks down caffeine could be responsible for influencing us to drink more or less of the beverage.
Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh in the U.K. have found that people with a DNA variation in a gene called PDSS2 drink less coffee. They believe the gene variation slows down the body’s processing of caffeine, inducing those with the variant to drink less.
Researchers looked at genetic information from 370 people living in a small village in southern Italy and 843 people from six villages in north-east Italy.
Each of the study participants was asked to complete a survey that included a question about how many cups of coffee they drank each day.
The team found that people with the DNA variation in PDSS2 tended to consume fewer cups of coffee than people without the variation. The effect was equivalent to around one fewer cup of coffee per day on average.
In order to test the result, the researchers replicated the study in a group of over 1,700 people from the Netherlands. The results were similar but the effect of the gene on the number of cups of coffee consumed was slightly lower. This could be because of the different styles of coffee that are drunk in the two countries, the researchers said. In Italy, people tend to drink smaller cups such as espresso whereas in the Netherlands the preference is towards larger cups that contain more caffeine overall.
“The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,” Dr Nicola Pirastu in a statement. “We need to do larger studies to confirm the discovery and also to clarify the biological link between PDSS2 and coffee consumption.”
Coffee is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, second only to tea and water.
The study is published in journal Scientific Reports.
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