New research suggests that people who like bitter foods are more likely to have negative personality traits

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Love a Friday evening G&T? How about a double espresso to get you going on Monday morning? Perhaps a few squares of 80% chocolate after dinner?


Then we're really sorry, but you might have a distinctly bad side to your personality. Maybe.


Scientists from Innsbruck University in Austria have discovered a link between the enjoyment of bitter tastes and people who exhibit sadistic and narcissistic tendencies.​


In the study of 500 men and women across two experiments, the academics found that those who expressed a preference for these types of foods were more likely to be vain, self-obsessed, lacking in empathy and enjoy the pain of others. Oh dear.


The participants were shown a list of foods with equal numbers of sweet, salty, sour and bitter items. They were asked to rate how much they liked each entry on a six-point scale from dislike strongly to like strongly.


Then they were asked to rate how much they agreed with a series of personality-based queries, such as "I tend to manipulate others to get my way", "I tend to be callous or insensitive" and "I tend to want others to pay attention to me". They were also asked to complete the Comprehensive Assessment of Sadistic Tendencies, which rates how we respond to statements like: "When making fun of someone, it is especially amusing if they realise what I'm doing".


Writing about their findings in the scientific journal Appetite, the researchers observed that: "General bitter taste preferences emerged as a robust predictor for Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism and everyday sadism." 


So why is this the case? 


The research didn't delve into that question, but the academics do give a possible reason. We usually experience bitter tastes as negative, because in the wild it often indicates that a food is poisonous. In eating something that our bodies are trying to make us reject, we may get a sort of thrill. Our brains are saying no, but we know there isn't any real threat. 


Time to stop bragging about not needing milk in your Americano, then? 



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