09:19 17 April 2013
Based on the study involving 49 men, the taste of beer releases a chemical that excites the brain and makes people want to drink more. Researchers from Indiana University also found that beer’s taste triggers the production of dopamine in the brain.
Researchers scanned the brains of 49 men after drinking beer and Gatorade, a sports drink. Results revealed that dopamine activity in the brain is much higher following the taste of beer than Gatorade although many thought that the latter tastes better.
Dr David Kareken, deputy director of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center, said: 'We believe this is the first experiment in humans to show that the taste of an alcoholic drink alone, without any intoxicating effect from the alcohol, can elicit this dopamine activity in the brain’s reward centres.'
On the other hand, Dai Stephens, professor of experimental psycholody at the Univesity of Sussex described the study as the ‘first convincing demonstration in humans that a drink’s flavour has such effects on the brain.’
However, he added: 'While suggestive, the findings cannot with certainty be ascribed to conditioning. However, more provocatively, the study also suggests that not all beer drinkers show the same effect.'
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