Good News, G&T Drinkers -- If You Like Tonic You Have A Bigger Brain

A new study says people who love tonic water may have bigger brains.

Okay, so it's not permission to drink a million G&Ts in the name of medicine, but a new study from the University of Queensland suggests that brain size doesn’t just relate to how smart people are but also to how bitter they find tonic water.

In fact, says the study -- hold on to your (enormous) hats -- “Whether you enjoy tonic water or not, people with bigger brains typically find it less bitter.”

Get that? If you like tonic, you have a bigger brain.

UQ Diamantina Institute Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr Daniel Hwang said it was the first time brain size and taste perception had been linked.

“Everyone wants to know why we like certain foods and why individuals have preferences for bitter or sweet tastes,” Dr Hwang said.

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“It was unclear if brain size affected anything other than a person’s IQ, but now we can show it relates to how we perceive food and drink.”

In other words, he told 10 daily, "It does not mean that people who love gin and tonics are smart. In this study, we link the volume of a brain region (entorhinal cortex in the left hemisphere) to the perception of bitterness but we don't know if the same region is associated with intelligence."

Darn it.

More than 1600 participants in Australia and America rated their perceived intensities of different sweet and bitter taste solutions. Those with bigger brains found the taste of quinine  --  a key ingredient in tonic water that is commonly used to assess people’s response to a bitter taste -- more palatable.

We here at 10 daily must have enormous brains. Nuff said.

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While it may be hard to know how this translates into the every day world, Dr Hwang is confident there are many things we can learn from the study.

“Our study is a step towards understanding exactly how the brain perceives taste,” he said.

“The findings have implications for improving dietary behaviour and treating eating disorders.

“By targeting specific areas in the gustatory cortex, we could treat eating disorders using methods such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, a non-invasive treatment currently used to treat mental illness.”

We will definitely drink to that.

Feature image: Getty