Anopsology

Why do a lot of humans prefer cold beverages?

Recommended Posts

Water,  beer,  soda..  I prefer them cold.   Some prefer room temperature but i assume most prefer chilled.  Why is this?  Is it evolutionary? 

 

Especially water.   I don't like roon temperature water

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shedding heat is difficult in warm (especially humid) weather, so one reason we may have evolved to prefer cold beverages because it cools us down.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Anopsology said:

  Why is this?  Is it evolutionary? 

I don't think there is a single answer. As Swansont pointed out drinking a cold beer on a hot day will help cool you down. However even on a hot day I drink my coffee hot out of daily ritual/habit. I suspect the room temp water thing is just your own habit. Ones body actually has to warm the water. There isn't any additional hydration benefit to drinking cold water. One  hydrates more easily with room temp water. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cold drinks certainly feel better, but room temperature (or ideally body temperature) fluids are absorbed quicker, and are therefore better for rehydration.

However I am as the OP suggests; right now I am lying in 30 degrees Celsius’s with a refrigerated water:)!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Cold beverages are refreshing.. in the appropriate moments..

Quote

Why do a lot of humans prefer cold beverages?

I think so your question miss some details. If you would be on Alaska/Arctic/Antarctic in the middle of winter.. you certainly should prefer hot beverages...

 

Edited by Sensei

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Scott of the Antares said:

Cold drinks certainly feel better, but room temperature (or ideally body temperature) fluids are absorbed quicker, and are therefore better for rehydration.

However I am as the OP suggests; right now I am lying in 30 degrees Celsius’s with a refrigerated water:)!

Liquid temperature has almost no effect in absorption. Gastric emptying is the first step a and temperature influence on rate is very small. The liquid temp quickly equilibrates so that overall absorption in the small intestine is pretty much the same. However, gastric emptying is dependent on volume and it is possible that one can swallow a larger volume of liquid in one go that is not too hot or cold.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Body temperature control aside,there are times where you would prefer a cold beverage (or food), or maybe a hot one...but not warm or room temperature...I've pondered why, sometimes thinking freshness/bacteria count is affected, but see no consistent correlation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read temperature can effect the taste of water. That might be part of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you drink cold then you stimulate your neurons more...You feel better what you drink.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Itoero said:

When you drink cold then you stimulate your neurons more...You feel better what you drink.

If I stick a pin in my leg I stimulate neurons more, but it doesn't make me feel better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, John Cuthber said:

If I stick a pin in my leg I stimulate neurons more, but it doesn't make me feel better.

Have you tried it? Your neurons react on temperaturedifferences. When you are baking in the sun and drink  room-temperature water then you'll feel it less then when you drink cold water.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say that it's definitely an evolutionary hangover. As is virtually everything we do and think.

Our ancestors would have preferred cold water, because in Africa, that would have meant running water, which is going to be far lower in nasty bugs and parasites. Go to Africa and drink warm water from a small pool, and you will soon find out that you made a mistake. 

So those ancestors who instinctively liked cold running water survived much better, over the millions of years of our evolution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I would say that it's definitely an evolutionary hangover. As is virtually everything we do and think.

Our ancestors would have preferred cold water, because in Africa, that would have meant running water, which is going to be far lower in nasty bugs and parasites. Go to Africa and drink warm water from a small pool, and you will soon find out that you made a mistake. 

So those ancestors who instinctively liked cold running water survived much better, over the millions of years of our evolution.

Well and like many evolutionary stories they are just that: stories. I am quite certain that lower temp preferences is especially seen during physical exertion and/or high ambient heat, as others pointed out. Hot beverages (especially coffee) are the second most popular beverage in the US after water, for example. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Well and like many evolutionary stories they are just that: stories. I am quite certain that lower temp preferences is especially seen during physical exertion and/or high ambient heat, as others pointed out. Hot beverages (especially coffee) are the second most popular beverage in the US after water, for example. 

 

Hot food also has an evolutionary history, it has long been a way of making food more digestible, and also kills bugs. So there really isn't a problem there. We've evolved to like hot stuff, as well as cold water. Although the cooking era is a lot briefer than what went before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, CharonY said:

Well and like many evolutionary stories they are just that: stories. I am quite certain that lower temp preferences is especially seen during physical exertion and/or high ambient heat, as others pointed out. Hot beverages (especially coffee) are the second most popular beverage in the US after water, for example. 

 

If you plot bacterial growth rates vs. temp, you find that the slowest rates are at low temps and high temps, with the range most people would consider "tepid" being where the highest growth rate occurs.

Plot_growth_rate.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Janus said:

If you plot bacterial growth rates vs. temp, you find that the slowest rates are at low temps and high temps, with the range most people would consider "tepid" being where the highest growth rate occurs.

Plot_growth_rate.png

Yes, it does make sense that we might be evolved to prefer cold over warm for that reason. We would have looked for running water over still water and the former is cooler, more aerated and  safer bug-wise.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Janus said:

If you plot bacterial growth rates vs. temp, you find that the slowest rates are at low temps and high temps, with the range most people would consider "tepid" being where the highest growth rate occurs.

Plot_growth_rate.png

And yet it is still conjecture. Just because some connections make sense, does not mean that there are evolutionary origins. That is why we need actual research. So what does that say? So let's start slow. In rats a commonly observed effect is that mice prefer warmer water. So, at least we can assume that bacterial growth is not a major determinant in all mammals. So let us concentrate on humans. What does data say? In fact, the literature shows quite a range of values, most obtained from people after physical exertion.

The interesting trend you will find is that most find colder temps more pleasurable. However, actually ingestion rate peaks at 12-16C. I.e. at values at which bacterial growth actually occurs. While it may be slower, in most waters you will assume that they had plenty of time for bacterial growth. 

There are far more relevant aspects at play. For example, in warm water minerals and other deposits have a much stronger taste and depending on what is in the water (such as chloramines) it may be less pleasurable than at lower temperatures. Moreover, if we talk about beverages in general, we also find that taste preference is strongly connected to expected taste. For example, red wine was more pleasurable at RT than cold, whereas for soft drinks the opposite was the case. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you're putting the cart before the horse. Our brains evolved a liking for some things because they helped us survive, not because they make us feel good. The reason we find things pleasurable is because we inherit genes that make it so. The temperature of the minerals in the water is irrelevant to survival, and so a taste for colder water for that reason would not be selected for.

The only reason we have an inherent liking for cold water, is that it helped our ancestors to survive in greater numbers than warmer water. Most of those ancestors were tree living fruit eaters, for a big part of our recent past. They get a lot of their water from their food, so they don't have to drink water as much as some. Also, for most of the time human ancestors were rain forest dwellers, until about six million years ago, so they would have had plenty of clean flowing water to choose from, and wouldn't need to drink from any stale water source they could find, like animals on the dryer plains do. So we haven't evolved as robust an immune system as some other animals, and actually need cleaner fresher water to stay healthy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Look, what you describe is in a nutshell the issue the whole field of evolutionary psychology (and some other disciplines such as sociobiology) have and which is much research in that area is discredited. It is easy to weave evolutionary stories but it is much more difficult to find evidence to support those notions. In this case, I am still waiting to see any study that found a link between temperature preference and bacterial avoidance. 

Even worse, what is being ignored are pretty obvious cues that others already mentioned: the preference shifts depending on environmental temperature and exertion. Or the the preference of temperature based on expectations. If bacterial avoidance was a deeply ingrained evolutionary behaviour why did we develop all the other patterns? And if those behaviours are indeed that fluid, how would you identify the evolutionary component?

The fundamental issue is that behavioral traits are highly malleable and massively influenced by individual experience as opposed to evolutionary history. As such it is incredibly difficult (as researchers found out) to separate those aspects. As such in the absence of rather intricate research these evolutionary stories have proven to have little explanatory value. 

Edited by CharonY

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never seen evolution discredited. And I doubt that it ever will be. All of our instinctive behaviour HAS to be there because of evolution.

I wouldn't regard a preference for room temperature red wine as instinctive. It's fashion. People are told that it's the right way to drink it, and that they are ignorant if they go against it. Peer pressure and fashion are powerful influences.

They used to say the same thing about beer in England. Mainly because they didn't have chillers. Then the Americans came over for D day, and started the fashion for chilled beer. Now, brewers find that most people prefer their beer chilled.

Edit :

It would be pretty easy to find out if a preference for cold water was instinctive. Just do a study with chimps or bonobos, in the wild, offering them a choice of room temperature or chilled water, and see which they choose.  I would be willing to bet that they would prefer the chilled, whatever the circumstances.

Edited by mistermack

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/30/2018 at 2:40 PM, Endy0816 said:

I read temperature can effect the taste of water. That might be part of it.

That’s where my thoughts went, too.

I have no idea whether or not the idea is valid, but I’d heard that lower temperature slows the volatile compounds that give water an off taste.

Seems likely that this could be a stretch, but I do know that the same water out of the tap that tastes horrible when warm is far more palatable when ice cold. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

8

2 hours ago, iNow said:

That’s where my thoughts went, too.

I have no idea whether or not the idea is valid, but I’d heard that lower temperature slows the volatile compounds that give water an off taste.

Seems likely that this could be a stretch, but I do know that the same water out of the tap that tastes horrible when warm is far more palatable when ice cold. 

Yeah, I'd heard the same. Use the same trick for making tap water more palatable too for that matter, lol.

 

Thinking on it some warmer more stagnant water will naturally have tannins from fallen leaves too. Be like a weak tea. Know tannins can inhibit microbial growth, so either one might be fine to an extent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, mistermack said:

The only reason we have an inherent liking for cold water, is that it helped our ancestors to survive in greater numbers than warmer water.  

Citation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read an old friend's facebook post yesterday that suggested you should never give a dog an ice cube, ice cream or very cold water in hot weather.  It sounded like rubbish to me but I didn't challenge it as I do not know for sure. It sounds like the old wives tale that you should drink a hot drink in hot weather rather than cold.

Anyone know if this is true about dogs?  I would have thought an ice cube would lover it's temperature. I wouldn't let it eat a bucket of ice though - it's brain would freeze for sure!

Sounds like an extension of the old wives tale about hot drinks in warm weather - anyone know for sure?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, mistermack said:

It would be pretty easy to find out if a preference for cold water was instinctive. Just do a study with chimps or bonobos, in the wild, offering them a choice of room temperature or chilled water, and see which they choose.  I would be willing to bet that they would prefer the chilled, whatever the circumstances.

Two things, even assuming preference for cold water, you would not know whether it was due to microbial avoidance or some other aspect that makes us enjoy it (either directly the temperature or taste). Second, as I mentioned in other mammals such as rats it is known that they prefer warmer water. Except when they are overheated, then they prefer cold and after sufficient hydration prefer warm again. The general preference, however, is below body temp (which has room for much simple speculations). Even so you seem to have a lot explanations that do not add up. E.g. if bacterial avoidance is the only or main reasons, then why is the preferred temp at 12-16 rather then lower, where we have more effective bacterial inhibition? If certain taste preferences can be learned why do you think is it only true for certain cases and not for others? Why do you think that there must be a overriding evolutionary mandate, if on the other hand simple peer pressure can eliminate it? As a rule of thumb, simple explanations without evidence have to face scrutiny and should not be taken at face value. Otherwise it is too easy to make some overarching just so stories, sometimes with rather nasty consequences (though arguably not in this case). 

 

9 hours ago, DrP said:

Anyone know if this is true about dogs?  I would have thought an ice cube would lover it's temperature. I wouldn't let it eat a bucket of ice though - it's brain would freeze for sure!

Yes eating or drinking cold helps lower body temperature. The hot drinks in hot temperature is not complete rubbish, but works only in certain circumstances and it does not work for dogs. The basis is this, increasing temperature by drinking hot beverages (or soup) can cause a disproportionate amount of sweating (relative to ambient temp increase). Provided that the resulting sweat can evaporate effectively it can lower your temperature more than drinking cold beverages. However, if sweating is not effective in cooling  (e.g. high humidity or having lots of clothing) it won't work. Likewise, dogs do not cool down by sweating and hence, would not have a positive effect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now