BOSTON (CBS) — Why is it that some people love beer and coffee while others prefer soda? Turns out your preferences for different beverages may be determined by your genes.

Researchers at Northwestern University surveyed more than 300,000 people in the United Kingdom about their drink preference. Do they prefer bitter beverages like coffee, tea, grapefruit juice, and liquor or sweet ones like soda and juice? They then examined their genes.

They suspected that variations in our taste genes would determine our drink preferences, but what they found is that beverage preference has less to do with taste and more to do with how beverages made us feel. For example, preferring people like the euphoric effects of coffee and soda and the calming effects of alcohol.

Knowing this information could help scientists find ways to intervene if someone is consuming beverages in excess — whether it’s drinking too much sugar or too much alcohol.

Dr. Mallika Marshall