Friday, November 25, 2005

Miracle African berry lets Japanese dieters get sweet from sour

West African fruit offers low-calorie sugar option
Taste buds tricked into liking sour and bland desserts

The berries have barely registered outside their native habitat because they rot quickly, making them near-impossible to export. The breakthrough came when a Japanese food importer said it had found a way to freeze-dry the berries while retaining their sweetness-inducing properties. The effects of a single berry are said to last between 30 minutes and an hour.

The berries contain miraculin, a rogue glycoprotein that tricks the tongue's taste-bud receptors into believing a sour food is actually sweet. People in parts of west Africa have been using the berries to sweeten sour food and drink for centuries.

More on miraculin and wikipedia:miraculin. Added - very interesting long article.

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