Coffee Cravings May Spring From Your DNA

Genes appear to influence how much caffeine you need

Anybody up for a steaming cup of Joe? Turns out your DNA may hold the answer.

New research suggests that your genes influence how much coffee you drink.

Researchers analyzed genetic data from more than 1,200 people in Italy, who were asked how much coffee they drank each day.

Those with a gene variant called PDSS2 drank one cup less a day on average than those without the variation, the investigators found.

Research involving more than 1,700 people in the Netherlands yielded similar findings, according to the study authors.

The findings suggest that PDSS2 reduces cells’ ability to break down caffeine. That means it stays in the body longer.

The upshot: People with the gene variant don’t need as much coffee to get the same caffeine hit as those without it, the researchers said.

“The results of our study add to existing research suggesting that our drive to drink coffee may be embedded in our genes,” said study author Nicola Pirastu. He is a chancellor’s fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

“We need to do larger studies to confirm the discovery and also to clarify the biological link between PDSS2 and coffee consumption,” Pirastu added in a university news release.

By Robert Preidt


Moderate coffee drinking may be tied to lower risk of death

People who drink coffee daily, even up to four cups per day, are less likely to die from heart disease, neurological disease, type 2 diabetes or suicide than others, according to a new study.

Researchers did not test how upping coffee consumption would change health outlooks, so they cannot conclude that coffee “causes” a decreased risk of death. Rather, they looked at death trends in groups with varying amounts of coffee consumption.

“The main takeaway is that regular consumption of coffee can be incorporated into a healthy diet,” said senior author Dr. Frank Hu of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.


“There is no evidence of harm of regular consumption in terms of chronic disease risk or mortality, and consistent evidence that consumption of coffee reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Hu told Reuters Health by phone.

“People who are already drinking it should continue to enjoy it, but for people who don’t drink it or don’t like it, there’s no particular reason to start for the sole reason of health,” he said.

Hu and his coauthors studied the association of coffee intake – caffeinated, decaffeinated, or both – and risk of death based on self-reported coffee habits of more than 160,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study 2 and 40,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

Every four years, participants in these studies filled out questionnaires on lifestyle factors, including how often they usually consumed caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee, ranging from never to six or more times per day.

The researchers had data on the participants from the mid-1980’s or early 1990’s through 2012. During that time, 19,524 women and 12,432 men died.

Those who reported drinking one to five cups of any type of coffee per day were less likely to have died during follow-up than those who did not drink coffee, the authors reported in Circulation.

Death from heart disease, neurological disease and suicide was less common among moderate coffee drinkers than among others, but there was no relationship with deaths from cancer, the researchers found.

“The benefit in terms of mortality is very small,” and leveled out at four to five cups per day, Hu said.

For diabetes and cardiovascular disease, caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee seem to have similar effects, so the benefits may be due to compounds in the coffee other than caffeine, he said.

“Coffee of course is a complex beverage, it’s really difficult or impossible to pinpoint the ingredients that are responsible,” Hu said.

But for neurodegenerative disease, depression and suicide, most likely the benefits are due to caffeine, he said.


Source: Foxnews

Reaction to coffee in your genes

Caffeine affects different people in different ways—and genetics could be the reason. Scientists have previously believed there is a genetic connection between individual responses to caffeine, but singling out the specific genetic variants has been a challenge. A recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry, however, provides new insight.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston performed a meta-analysis on 120,000 regular coffee drinkers. Participants came from different ancestries–American, European and African ancestry.

Two gene variants were identified in connection to caffeine metabolism: POR and ABCG2. Two other gene variants near genes BDNF and SLC6A4 were associated with the “reward” effect of caffeine Also, the genes GCKR and MLXIPL, which play a role in glucose and lipid metabolism, were connected to the metabolic and neurological effects of caffeine for the first time.

The study is believed to be a major step forward in the research of coffee effects. It could help scientists identify subgroups of people most likely to benefit from increasing their coffee intake and those who would be better off if they cut back.

Source: health central

The Alarming Thing That’s Probably Hiding in Your Coffee

A strong cup of joe (or two) can be a trusty get-through-this-crazy-day helper—but there may be more than coffee beans and a jolt of caffeine hiding in your cup. “Fillers” like wheat, soy beans, barley, rye, acai seeds, brown sugar, corn, and even sticks are often present in coffee grounds, according to new research presented this week at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Why are these extras ending up in your cup? Since things like drought and plant disease have decreased coffee output, these unnatural additions can be used to help the coffee go further—and boost waning profits for the companies that make it.

The Alarming Thing That's Probably Hiding in Your Coffee

While these fillers are largely harmless, there is potentially cause for concern. “Wheat and soy beans are two of the major food allergens listed by the FDA,” says Joan Salge Blake, M.S., R.S., a clinical associate professor of nutrition at Boston University. The thing is, it’s not like you’re going to see a wayward stick floating in your mug; it’s all ground up together, so it can be hard to tell if you’re getting straight coffee bean or a few unwelcome extras.

Thankfully, science is on the case. Brazilian researchers are working on a process to evaluate the makeup of coffee and determine whether it’s counterfeit before it reaches consumers. They have a vested interest in this field of research since Brazil is a top coffee-producing country, making 55 million bags of it per year. (The 2014 projection stands at 45 million, which is about 42 billion fewer cups.)

The researchers hope to use liquid chromatography, a powerful process that identifies the different elements of a liquid, to suss out how many fillers are in coffee. Based on the prevalence of impurities, scientists will have a better idea whether they’re dealing with small amounts that occur in nature and slipped through the sorting process—or large amounts that were purposely introduced to add to the bottom line.

“With our test, it is now possible to know with 95 percent accuracy if coffee is pure or has been tampered with,” Suzana Lucy Nixdorf, Ph.D., lead researcher at University of Londrina in Brazil, said in a statement.

So, what to do until the test is perfected? “Unless you’re very allergic to one of the fillers, there isn’t too much cause to worry,” says Salge Blake. If you are allergic, you may want to steer clear of coffee until researchers have more information to report. And if you’re not allergic but are still concerned about fillers, it stands to reason that you’d be better off buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself (either at the grocery store or at home) since you’ll avoid the potential for anything extra being mixed in without your knowing about it.

Source: women’s health

Do coffee and tea really dehydrate us?

Every day people around the globe drink 1.6 billion cups of coffee and around twice as many cups of tea.

They enjoy the taste and the fact that the caffeine wakes them up. But when we’re exhorted to drink six or eight glasses of water a day (a disputed figure that I’ve discussed previously), it’s usually emphasised that drinks like coffee and tea don’t count towards your daily liquid total because they’re dehydrating. Or so we’re told. What’s the evidence?

Although tea and coffee contain many different substances the one on which most research focuses is caffeine. Even then there is so little research on the topic, that one of the most frequently mentioned studies was conducted way back in 1928 with a sample of just three people. The three men were studied over the course of two winters. Sometimes they were required to drink four cups of coffee a day; sometimes they drank mainly tea and at other times they abstained or drank water laced with pure caffeine. Meanwhile the volume of their urine was measured regularly. The authors concluded that if the men consumed caffeine-laced water after a two month period of abstinence from both coffee and tea, the volume of their urine increased by 50%, but when they drank coffee regularly again they became inured to its diuretic effects.

Very large doses of caffeine are known to increase the blood flow to the kidneys and to inhibit the absorption of sodium which explains why it could act as a diuretic, dealing with the sodium which hasn’t been absorbed. But the exact mechanism is still a matter of debate.

But when you look at the studies of more realistic quantities of caffeine, the diuretic effect is not nearly so clear. A review of 10 studies by Lawrence Armstrong from the University of Connecticut concluded that caffeine is a mild diuretic at most, with 12 out of 15 comparisons showing that people urinated the same amount, regardless of whether the water they drank contained added caffeine or not.

So why do so many people think they need the loo more often when they’ve been drinking tea or coffee? As the review indicates, most studies give people pure caffeine added to water, rather than cups of actual tea or coffee as you might drink at home. Is there something about the combination of substances contained in coffee and tea that make the difference?

In a rare study where people drank nothing but tea for the 12 hour duration of the trial, there was no difference in hydration levels between them and the people who drank the same quantity of boiled water. When it comes to the consumption of coffee, one study did find a 41% increase in urine, along with a rise in the excretion of sodium and potassium. But these participants had abstained from caffeine before the study, so this doesn’t tell us what would happen in people who are accustomed to drinking coffee.

Source: BBC news

9 foods that boost metabolism naturally

Your metabolism is partly ruled by genetics, but you can rev it up naturally by eating right. Fill up on the following nine foods to increase your body’s fat-burning power.

Egg whites

Egg whites are rich in branched-chain amino acids, which keep your metabolism stoked, says Chicago nutritionist David Grotto. Eggs are also loaded with protein and vitamin D.

Lean meat

Lean meat is full of iron; deficiencies in the mineral can slow metabolism. Eat three to four daily servings of iron-rich foods, such as chicken or fortified cereal.


If you’re even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down, says Dr. Scott Isaacs, clinical instructor of medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine. Tip: Drink water cold, which forces your body to use more calories to warm it up.

Chili peppers

Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a chemical compound that can kick metabolism into higher gear, Isaacs says. He suggests adding a tablespoon of chopped chili peppers to a meal once a day. Chili peppers are also an unexpected source of vitamin C.


A study published in Physiology & Behavior found that the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16% higher than that of those who drank decaf.
Green tea

The brew contains a plant compound called EGCG, which promotes fat-burning, research suggests.


Studies conducted by Michael Zemel, former director of The Nutrition Institute at the University of Tennessee, suggest that consuming calcium may help your body metabolize fat more efficiently.

Whole grains

Whole grains help your body burn more fat because they take extra effort to break down than processed grains, like white bread and pasta. Whole foods that are rich in fiber, like brown rice and oatmeal are your best bets.


About 20% of women are iron deficient, which is bad news for your waistline — your body can’t work as efficiently to burn calories when it’s missing what it needs to work properly. One cup of lentils provides 35% of your daily iron needs.


Why chocolates, olive oil and tea are healthy for you

Researchers are focusing on the healthful antioxidant substances in red wine, dark chocolate, olive oil, coffee, tea, and other foods and dietary supplements.

Researchers are focusing on the healthful antioxidant substances in red wine, dark chocolate, olive oil, coffee, tea, and other foods and dietary supplements.

The American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, is holding a symposium on those substances during its 246th National Meeting and Exposition.

Reports in the symposium involve substances that consumers know best as ‘antioxidants,’ and that scientists term ‘ phenolic derivatives.’

These ingredients, found naturally in certain foods and sold as dietary supplements, have been linked with health benefits that include reducing the risk of heart disease and cance