HomeDiabetesI Tried the “Miracle Berry,” the Fruit that Turns Sour Flavors Sweet

I Tried the “Miracle Berry,” the Fruit that Turns Sour Flavors Sweet

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Have you ever heard concerning the flavor-flipping “miracle berry,” the fruit that turns bitter into candy with out including any sugar in any respect?

The fruit of a West African shrub, synsepalum dulicicum, the miracle berry can modify our sense of style in order that acidic meals style candy.

Munch on one in all these little pink berries, and even the sourest of lemons turns to lemonade in your tongue. A minor miracle, maybe, however one in all curiosity to these of us watching our blood glucose ranges and attempting to restrict sugar consumption.

Freeze-dried miracle berries

It’s a wild declare, and one I needed to put to the check. As a chef, I’ve spent my profession tasting issues with consideration. I’ve but to be fooled by any type of sugar substitute. So once I discovered that the miracle berry can bypass the pretend stuff and provides me a candy sugar hit with none extra carbohydrates, I used to be skeptical. 

I ordered a pack of freeze-dried miracle berries, and gathered a collection of high-acid meals to place this “miracle” by way of its paces. I laid out my acidic buffet in my restaurant’s kitchen, and requested my kitchen crew to affix me for a really unusual tasting. 

The way it Works

Miracle berry, or miracle fruit, incorporates miraculin, a glycoprotein, consisting of a protein hooked up to a carbohydrate. When this candy protein coats the tongue, it briefly binds to our style receptors. By itself, miraculin really dulls candy flavors, not what we wish. However acids tweak the molecule in such a method that as a substitute of bitter, we style candy. Vinegar tastes like honey—taste flipped, thoughts blown. 

The miracle berry works its witchcraft on the tongue itself. It’s not obligatory to totally ingest the berry. As soon as the miraculin is in your tongue, the spell is forged, and for the subsequent hour or so, nothing will style the identical. Miracle berries are extremely perishable and gained’t develop in most climates. However freeze-dried berries and chewable tablets can be found on-line. 

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The Acid Check

I chew up half of a freeze-dried miracle berry and smoosh it round my tongue to get these style buds good and altered. The berry itself has a gentle candy and bitter style, like a freeze-dried strawberry you would possibly discover in your granola. On to the tasting…

Tangy fruits prepared for the style check


My saliva response kicks into excessive gear as I brace myself to chomp a slice of lemon. What the satan?! As promised, it’s as candy as lemonade, if not sweeter. Like lemonade powder sprinkled on my tongue, however with out the bitter twang. My stinging lips remind me that is nonetheless an actual lemon. My sous chef Justin is cracking up, “That is insane. I may eat a complete lemon like this, no downside.” 


The lime’s sharper acid interprets into a good sweeter punch. All of the inexperienced limey aroma is there, so it nonetheless tastes like lime, simply candy as a substitute of bitter. And it tastes like actual sugar, not the skinny chemical taste of synthetic sweeteners, or the slight bitter aftertaste of stevia and monk fruit. It’s like my tongue is having a bizarre dream. For this reason the youngsters name it “taste tripping.”

Ardour fruit

Ardour fruit is an intensely flavorful fruit with searing acidity. Pastry cooks like it, as a result of they will add numerous sugar which supplies one thing like a sorbet its silky texture. Consuming a spoonful of ardour fruit pulp is generally a jolt to the tongue. However now it’s a jammy tropical deal with, like pineapple, kiwi, and mango having a celebration in my mouth. 

Cara Cara orange

The Cara Cara is a singular number of orange with beautiful salmon-colored flesh. It’s comparatively low in acid. Keep in mind, acid is what makes the candy occur. So the Cara Cara, like different oranges, tastes washed out and watery when dulled by the miracle berry. Massive shrug from the tasting panel.

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This one’s my favourite. With the grapefruit’s standard harsh acid on mute, pretty floral notes and delicate flavors reveal themselves. My tasters agree—if a fruit tasted like this usually, it might be the king of the citrus aisle. 


Probably the most acidic flavors round, tamarind is utilized in south Asian cuisines to steadiness wealthy and spicy dishes with its tang. Usually, a style of tamarind will pucker the bravest of palettes. After the miracle berry, the razor-wire acidity is gone. My mouth is confused, and thinks it could be peanut butter. 


I grossed out my line cooks by taking a swig of straight buttermilk. Tasted like a mildly candy smoothie, all yum, no yuck.

Goat cheese

Following a tip from a fellow explorer, I attempt a spoonful of chevre. Certain sufficient, it’s candy and creamy with a gentle lemony tang. I may frost a carrot cake with this.

Apple cider vinegar

My hippy buddies promote apple cider vinegar as a common well being elixir. May the miracle berry make this miracle treatment palatable? Truly, no. The acid is gone, however what stays tastes like a juicebox unnoticed at recess. The fermenty flavors come by way of in a gross method.

Balsamic vinegar

I’m not hopeful after the apple cider. However sous chef Justin tastes a spoonful, closes his eyes, and mmm’s blissfully. That is one other must-try. It tastes nearly like chocolate syrup. I have to restrain myself from taking one other swig.  

Dry Riesling

I ask our sommelier to pour me our most acidic wine, a bone-dry Riesling. The miracle berry transforms it right into a lush dessert wine. I’m amazed by its steadiness and construction, gently candy with spicy notes and tropical vibes. Should you like sweeter wines however not the judgment of wine-snobs, simply pop a miracle berry and order one thing dry.

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Everybody was blown away by how profoundly the miracle berry modified our sense of style. We had been tasting true sugar the place there was none. It even prompted some deep ideas concerning the nature of notion and actuality. Whoa.

The Way forward for Sugarless Sweetness?

May miraculin supply a viable various to sugar and different sweeteners? Biochemist Robert Harvey made a valiant effort with the Miralin Firm within the Seventies. However he confronted obstacles. First was the issue that miraculin should first coat the tongue to work. You possibly can’t simply add a pinch to your recipe. So he created a miraculin-coated popsicle. Child-testers authorized, and truly most popular the miraculin popsicle to the sugared “management” popsicle.

The Miralin Firm hit resistance from the FDA which refused to categorise miraculin as a Typically Acknowledged as Secure (GRAS) ingredient regardless of research suggesting its security, and its historical past of consumption as meals in West Africa. The Miralin Firm folded with out bringing any merchandise to market, and miraculin nonetheless awaits FDA approval.

However with surging diabetes charges, and widespread curiosity in decreasing sugar consumption, miraculin could but have a future. Genetic engineering has made it attainable to mass-produce miraculin in tomatoes, though public resistance to GMOs will doubtless stay an impediment. 

There may be even some preliminary proof that miracle berries include compounds which will improve insulin sensitivity. Perhaps the miracle berry cannot solely bypass the sugar downside, however may additionally supply pathways for future diabetes therapies?

For now, the miracle berry stays principally a curiosity. For adventurous culinary explorers, miraculin gives a mind-expanding alternative to style flavors that solely exist below its affect. And for these of us on the lookout for a candy deal with with out the sugar, miraculin will flip these lemons into lemonade. Maybe it’s not essentially the most sensible sugar various, but it surely’s actually essentially the most enjoyable at events.

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