Your Pumpkin Spice Latte Craving Is Genetic
Pumpkin Spice lattes are almost here and you probably want one. As a matter of fact, your genetics might dictate your PSL cravings.
A new study found that people with a coffee habit have a genetic variant that makes them crave their caffeine-riddled drink of choice.
Italian villagers who carry a specific variant of the PDSS2 gene consume about one less cup of coffee per day compared to non-carriers.
The gene variant affects people’s coffee intake by slowing the metabolism of caffeine in the body. When caffeine is broken down more slowly, the stimulant stays in the blood longer, giving people a more enduring energy. They then went to the Netherlands and found similar results, but in lower numbers.
What does this mean and why does this matter?
Nicola Pirastu, the geneticist who led the study told The Guardian that they hope to learn more about how coffee affects humans.
“Coffee is protective against some types of cancers, cardiovascular diseases and Parkinson’s,” he said. “Understanding what is driving its consumption may help us understand what the effects on these diseases are, and so open new lines of research.”
Does this mean if we drink all the pumpkin spice lattes we won’t have to worry about these crippling illnesses? Not necessarily. Pumpkin spice lattes are very heavy in sugar and would most likely counteract positive effects. Darn.
More caffeine-centric studies could lead to bigger and better things in the medical field, though.
Just ask Piratsu:
“Many of the genes that have a role in the breakdown of caffeine also metabolize certain medicines. So unraveling the genes could help scientists understand why some patients respond differently to their drugs than others, and so help doctors to personalize their treatments.”
Marnie Slater is a freelance writer for Weekend Collective and performs stand up comedy in Kansas City. Follow her @marnieslaterkc for upcoming gigs and a whole lot of shenanigans.