It was hard to believe that I was eating lemon. Before this, I had placed a small, tasteless pill on my tongue, which was the dried powder of a fruit. syncepalum sweet A bush native to West Africa known as the miracle berry. When I later bit into a slice of lemon, my mouth was filled with intense sweetness rather than sourness.
In Benin, the berry has long been used to sweeten tart foods, due to proteins in its pulp that temporarily activate sweet taste receptors in the mouth in the presence of acid. Now it may be destined for global greatness as a major player in our quest to find healthier ways to satisfy our sweet cravings.
We all know that too much sugar is bad for us, leading to an epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes. So, instead, many foods and beverages contain substitutes like aspartame, stevia, and sucralose to provide so-called guilt-free sweetness. However, these products are constantly getting embroiled in controversies. In May, the World Health Organization (WHO) advised against their use for weight control and preventing type 2 diabetes – things it was previously thought they would help with.
We now have a clearer understanding of how these sweeteners affect our health, and the door has opened to a new wave of plant-derived options. Miracle berry-based sweeteners, a rare sugar derived from figs and a new type of sugar crystals are all vying for the top spot. Will they provide a healthy way to satisfy our cravings, or do we need to rethink our relationships…