How coffee can change the way food tastes and make you gain weight

By on September 11, 2017


How coffee can change the way food tastes and make you gain weight

How coffee can change the way food tastes and make you gain weight

Dr Evelyn Lewin bodyandsoul.com.au

Before you reach for your second cup of liquid gold, you need to read this. 

Photo: Getty Images

If you're anything like me, you worship the stuff.

It's what gets you through those early starts, gives you a mid-arvo pick-me-up and helps you talk in proper sentences when your brain is fried.

Yes, I'm talking about coffee.

Coffee is undoubtedly great at helping you perk up.

Plus, it has many other health benefits.

But new research may make you think twice before reaching for a cuppa.

That’s because researchers found that drinking coffee can change how food tastes, making it seem less sweet.

"When you drink caffeinated coffee, it will change how you perceive taste—for however long that effect lasts," said senior author Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science.

That means, if you have a coffee and want something sugary at the same time, you may not appreciate how sweet it really tastes.

So instead of feeling satisfied after indulging, you may continue to pine for another sugar hit.

Clearly that’s not great for your waistline.

If you crave something sweet with your morning latte, you’re better off choosing something that’s neither a carbohydrate, nor sugar based.

That’s what Accredited Practising Dietitian Casey O’Dell from Gastric Balloon Australia recommends.

She says opting for carbs or sugary foods with your coffee will only make you crave them more later.

“If coffee is making food less sweet, you are going to be craving foods that have a stronger sweetness.

“So try and trick it with a more savoury focus.”

She advises reaching for a low-carb snack like a small handful of mixed nuts, edamame beans, a boiled egg, can of tuna or slice of cheese on crisp bread.

Even better, if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake, she suggests enjoying your coffee as your snack.

After all, she says, a latte or cappuccino already contains 80-100kcal.

“That’s enough for a snack.”

But if you really want something sweet with your brew, you don’t have to deny yourself altogether.

“… Have it, but be smart about the choice.”

Rather than choosing a large muffin or generous piece of banana bread, she suggests going for a slice of raisin toast with jam or a small muesli cookie.

You could also choose a fruit-based snack, like berries or passionfruit, or even enjoy a cup of hot Milo or flavoured Greek yoghurt.

That way you can get your “fix” of something sweet without the loads of calories that accompany it, says O’Dell.

But be careful.

If you start the day by chowing down on something sweet with your morning latte, chances are you’ll find it super hard to stop – especially if you’ve got access to more of that treat.

She says coffee may also be a “contributing culprit” to your hankering for extra bikkies once you’ve ripped open the pack.

So when is the best time to actually indulge your sweet tooth?

O’Dell recommends holding off as long as you can before caving.

“I think morning is perhaps the worst time to have something sweet as it often sets up the day to wanting more.”

Besides, she says, the less sugary food you eat in general, the less you’ll crave it.

So next time you queue for your morning cuppa, try to avoid adding something ‘naughty’ to your order.

After all, coffee can change how your food tastes.

So instead of nibbling on a decadent brownie while sipping on your cappuccino, you might as well save it for a time when you can fully appreciate just how delicious it is.

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