If you can't start your day without that usual morning cup of joe, it looks like you may actually be harming your chances of dropping the pounds. A study recently published in the Journal of Food Science delved into the effects of drinking coffee and found that it can actually trigger cravings for sweets. So if you always seem to have an unquenchable hunger for doughnuts after sipping some java, this may be why.
Researchers at Cornell University divided 107 participants into two different groups: one that was given decaffeinated coffee supplemented with 200 milligrams of caffeine (aka a pretty strong cup of coffee) and a second group that just drank plain ol' decaffeinated coffee. Both groups had sugar added to their brews. The panelists who consumed the caffeinated drink rated it as tasting less sweet during a sensory test.
So why exactly does this happen? Caffeine can dampen down your taste receptors temporarily, which makes food and drink taste less sweet than they actually are. This, in turn, may trigger the temptation to indulge your sweet tooth, since it's not feeling fully satisfied.
Robin Dando, one of the study's authors, explained the findings in an official press release, stating, "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."
It's certainly important to note this is just one study, and you shouldn't make drastic changes to your diet without first consulting a doctor. But considering that one of our editors actually had a pretty positive experience while giving up coffee for a week, you may want to consider going cold turkey for a bit to see how it affects your overall health.