Caffeine and Sugar: An Unexpected Link

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Did you know that caffeine reduces our perception of sweetness? Researchers found that if they took the caffeine out of a sweetened beverage, they could then remove about 10% of the sugar without altering the taste.  I had no idea!  The researchers  go on to suggest that removing caffeine from sweetened beverages could allow manufacturers to lower the amount of sugar in those products, thereby reducing the amount consumed by the general population and aiding in the fight against obesity.

That doesn’t seem terribly likely. First of all,  people who consume caffeinated beverages are usually looking for that caffeine bump.  (See also: Benefits of Caffeine) Secondly, we already have caffeine-free versions of many sweetened beverages.  And interestingly, caffeine-free Coca-Cola and Sprite both contain the same amount of sugar as regular Coca-cola.

Nonetheless, it’s an interesting finding.   Have you ever noticed this effect? For example, does caffeine-free Coke taste sweeter than regular? (I find both types to be unpleasantly sweet so I’m not a good judge.)  If you drink sugar in your coffee, does it take less sugar to sweeten decaf to your liking?

About Monica Reinagel

A licensed nutritionist, noted author, and trained chef, Monica Reinagel, MS, LN, CNS, is creator of the #1-ranked Nutrition Diva podcast (, author of the Nutrition Over Easy blog (, and is a frequent contributor to leading health and lifestyle websites and magazines.
Monica's books include Amazon best-seller The Inflammation Free Diet Plan, as well as The Life Extension Revolution: The New Science of Growing Older without Aging (with Philip Miller, M.D.) and The Secrets of Evening Primrose Oil. Her latest book is Secrets for a Healthy Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid, and What to Stop Worrying About (
Monica holds a Master's Degree in Human Nutrition and is a board-certified nutrition specialist. She's the creator of the IF Rating system, a scientific method of predicting the inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects of foods. Professional affiliations include the American Dietetic Association, the American College of Nutrition, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She makes her home in Baltimore, MD. Connect with Monica on Facebook (

  • Weloveitworks

    This would be interesting to test out…we could all certainly use less sugar in our diets!