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Calorie-Free Sweetening Compound Eludes Commercial Development

February 8, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
A compound produced by a “miracle berry” native to West Africa may provide the solution to an age-old puzzle. Is it possible to create a dessert that contains no sugar or artificial flavors but tastes as sweet as the real thing? Miraculin could provide the answer, though it may be years before a commercial product is developed. It works by distorting the taste receptors on the tongue, making them super-sensitive to sweet signals from even sour foods. High-end restaurant patrons have experienced the sensation by eating the berries before consuming other foods, a fairly inconvenient process. But chef Homaru Cantu is working on a way to integrate the berry powder into foods by creating a heat- and refrigeration-stable version. So far, the goal is elusive.
David Cox, "This miracle berry could replace sugar", The Atlantic, February 08, 2015, © The Atlantic
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