July 14th, 2011
Teens “learn” to love caffeinated drinks
Teenagers develop more of a liking for unfamiliar fizzy drinks over time when they include significant doses of caffeine, according to research presented at this week’s meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) in Florida.
Dr Jennifer Temple and her team at the State University of New York in Buffalo set out to test claims by drinks manufacturers that the primary function of caffeine in sweet, carbonated beverages is to enhance flavour or whether it might play another role.
The researchers found that the amount of caffeine added to an unfamiliar beverage was correlated with how much teenagers liked that beverage.
Although the children increasingly preferred the caffeinated drinks over time, they showed none of the signs of tolerance or withdrawal that would suggest a developing caffeine addiction.
“Because there were no differences among kids who consume caffeine at different levels, and because these kids showed little or no evidence of tolerance or withdrawal, we believe that most of the effects of caffeine in this study are due to positive, stimulating effects,” Temple told FoodNavigator.com
Adolescents aged between 12 and 17 visited the laboratory multiple times. During each visit, they sampled an unfamiliar drink and rated their preference for that beverage.
The sodas contained varying amounts of caffeine, and the caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions were varied across participants. Over repeated testing days, participants increased their liking of the soda with the highest levels of caffeine, whereas there was no change in preference for sodas with low or no caffeine.