Official: Beer tastes good

Why do we drink beer? Because we like it seems to be the answer. Yes, in a study that will gladden the hearts of imbibers everywhere, researchers at Indiana University have come to the same conclusion that I reached a long time ago. Beer tastes good which makes me feel good, so I drink more of it.

This being a scientific study, some empirical evidence was required. So they scanned the brains of two groups. One group was given 15ml of a sports drink and the other was given 15ml of their favourite beer. They found that the group that drank the beer released far higher levels of Dopamine into the brain than those that drank the sports drink.

It seems that Dopamine, known as the reward hormone, brought feelings of pleasure and then cravings to the beer lovers, unlike the sports drink group. This is down to the beer’s taste, not its alcohol content. As Professor David Karaken, who led the study, explained: “The mere flavour of beer can provoke this Dopamine response.”

So next time you try a sip of a beer you like, don’t be too surprised if you’re later seen rolling home after consuming a gallon of it. It's only nature in action


py0 said…
Ah, but ss it the flavour that causes the dopamine release, or is it a pavlovian response caused by the learnt association between the taste of beer and the soon-to-be-realised physiological effects of mild inebriation?
Martyn Cornell said…
Indeed. I believe heroin addicts start to show dopamine release as soon as they fill up the syringe ...
py0 said…
I comment because I notice that even when I drink a beer I don't particularly enjoy the taste of, I still feel a dopamine buzz kick in about half way down the first pint. It can't be the alcohol, its too quick, so it must be Pavlovian.

Never mind the silly research, they should have just asked me.

I notice that this story is being reported elsewhere under the rather hysterical and frankly dishonest headline of "just one taste of beer enough to get you hooked".
RedNev said…
I think "the soon-to-be-realised physiological effects of mild inebriation" may be a valid point, but it has to be the taste too, otherwise we'd drink any alcohol, or at least any beer: smooth, lager, etc. I drink only certain draught real ales - not even RAIBs.

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