Study says coffee lovers don't actually like coffee, they're just addicted

For lots of us, a cup of coffee is an important part of our daily routine – but how much do we actually like it?

A new study suggests that coffee lovers don’t actually like the stuff, it’s just their dependence on caffeine talking.

As part of an investigation into caffeine addiction, German researchers tested both heavy coffee drinkers and low to moderate consumers of coffee. 

They found that coffee drinkers had a stronger desire for it without liking or getting more satisfaction – the classic signposts of an addiction.

Researchers monitored 24 heavy consumers – who drank coffee at least three times a day – and 32 individuals who either didn’t drink coffee much, or didn’t drink it at all. 

As expected, the regular coffee drinkers showed a higher level of desire for the beverage, but results found these heavy caffeine drinkers displayed an increased wanting, but not liking, for coffee. 

Researchers, from Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany, said: ‘This data confirms that heavy coffee consumption is associated with strong wanting despite low liking for coffee, indicating that wanting becomes independent from liking through repeated consumption of caffeine.

‘This dissociation provides a possible explanation for the widespread and stable consumption of caffeine-containing beverages.’

Like other drugs, those who drink coffee excessively can become addicted.

In their paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researchers added: ‘Dissociations of wanting and liking have been observed with a wide range of drugs in animals.

‘The main difference between highly addictive drugs (eg, alcohol or cocaine) and substances with lower addictive strength (eg, caffeine) may mainly be a quantitative rather than a qualitative one.’ 

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