This Is the Genetic Reason Why You Drink So Much Coffee
For most of us, mornings revolve just about entirely around coffee. (A 2015 poll showed that a whopping 64 percent of Americans drink at least one cup per day!) Whether we have time to spend a lazy morning drinking out of our favorite cheeky mug or we’re rushing to Starbucks to try to snag one of the new seasonal barista faves (happy PSL season, everyone!), there’s never any question that our morning jumpstart has to include that sweet, sweet caffeine. If we were really short on time, some of us would even be cool with having it pumped straight into our veins.
Actually, it turns out there’s a genetic reason you’ll never go decaf. A recent study identified a new gene variation called PDSS2 that seems to curb coffee consumption. They believe that the presence of the variant inhibits cells’ ability to metabolize caffeine, which means that it stays in the body longer — and thus, people who have it don’t need to make return trips to the coffee cart. In an interview with Time, lead study author Nicola Piratsu explained that it’s not just that PDSS2 possessors crave coffee less; they actually don’t need as much of it to still get the positive awake-making effects.
How’d they figure it out? The research team looked at the genetic makeup of around 1,200 people in Italy and asked them to self-document their daily coffee drinking habits. The results: People with the genetic variation clearly drank less coffee, around one fewer cup per day on average. And to make sure it wasn’t just a weird phenomenon specific to Italian espresso fiends, they also replicated the study in the Netherlands and found similar results.
Since coffee offers so many health benefits (it’s been shown to lower the risk for hypertension, Alzheimer’s and Type 2 diabetes, and even relieve symptoms of depression in some people), it’s a pretty heavily studied food. And this isn’t the first study (or the biggest) that’s suggested a genetic link. But this is the first time a specific variant linked to consumption has been identified, and it proves that you really can’t help your coffee cravings. So go ahead and have another cup if you feel like it.
How much do you love coffee? Tweet us your average cup-count @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)