Taste of beer triggers brain pleasure
After a long day, do you seek out a cold beer to help wind down? New research indicates that just the taste of beer helps to make it such a pleasurable experience. Researchers from Indiana University found that the taste alone was enough to cause dopamine to be released in the brain—even before there were any effects from the alcohol.
The researchers conducted two brain scans on 49 men, once after tasting beer and once after tasting Gatorade. The scans showed more dopamine activity after they tasted the beer than after they tasted the sports drink. Test subjects were given only 15 milliliters of beer over a 15-minute period, which would be enough to taste the beer, but not enough to cause a detectable change in blood alcohol level.
The results of the study were seen to be even more significant among people with a family history of alcoholism. If the brain's reward system is triggered by the mere taste of a cold one, it could help explain why some people may be biologically vulnerable to alcohol addiction.