Miracle Fruit: The Psychedelic Berry That (Legally) Rewires Your Senses
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June 02, 2008

Miracle Fruit: The Psychedelic Berry That (Legally) Rewires Your Senses

523pxtongue_rolling_stonessvg_5 Imagine drinking Tabasco sauce and thinking it tasted like a sugary glaze, or drinking a bitter beer that your taste buds are certain is chocolate. Imagine having a magic pill that could turn lemons into candy. Well, you don’t have to imagine. Like a magical treat straight out of Willy Wonka’s candy factory, the berry known as “miracle fruit” has the odd ability to rewire the way the tongue perceives bitter and sour flavors for up to two hours after consumption. The fruit has been growing in popularity in the US as the guest of honor at bizarre soirees known as "flavor tripping parties" where tasters eat the strange little fruit and then consume sour and bitter foods to experience the oddity of how their tongue transforms the flavors in a reality-defying fashion.

While miracle fruit is practically unheard of in the US, it is quite common in other countries. In Japan some restaurant will serve patrons low calorie desserts made from healthy (though unappetizing) ingredients. After diners pop a single miracle fruit, these yucky dishes become sumptuously divine. The miracle fruit is a dieters dream come true, and now the US is starting to catch on.

Although in the US, the miracle fruit has so far been more about experimental fun than health. The New York Times recently reported on a “flavor tripping” party in their dining and wine section. Held in Queens last week, partygoers “tripped out” on strange flavors rather than on narcotics. The popularity of this “taste bud teasing” berry is steadily growing a cult following. The base flavor of the food remains, but all bitterness and sourness is removed. A lemon still tastes like a lemon, for example, but like a sweet candy version of lemon without the pucker inducing sourness. Linda Bartoshuk, a scientist at the University of Florida’s Center for Smell and Taste says there are no known dangers associated with eating miracle fruit.

So, where does this strange fruit come from, and how does it work?  The Miracle Fruit plant (Synsepalum dulcificum) was first documented by an explorer during a 1725 excursion to West Africa, where local tribes picked the berry from shrubs and chewed it before meals. The berry itself is lightly sweet with an unremarkable flavor, but what gives the berries its strange flavor twisting property is an active glycoprotein molecule, with some trailing carbohydrate chains, known as “miraculin”. This molecule binds to the tongue's taste buds, causing anything bitter and sour that is consumed afterwards to taste sweet. This effect generally lasts between thirty minutes to two hours.

Technically the Miracle Fruit is not a sweetener, it’s a simply a “taste-bud tricker”. Attempts have been made to create a sugar substitute from the fruit, particularly with diabetics in mind, but those attempts have ended in failure amid accusations that the FDA was catering to the sugar industry, which supposedly feared a loss in business that could potentially be caused by a drop in the need for sugar. Similar arguments are noted for FDA's regulation on the natural sweetener stevia, which is required to be labeled as a "dietary supplement" instead of a "sweetener" in spite of the fact that it works well as a sugar substitute.

Controversy and conflicts of interest over sugar substitutes is nothing new for the FDA. Aspartame (also known as Nutrasweet or Equal) is perhaps the most famous example of blatant special interests overriding science. When Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle, the conglomerate that manufactured aspartame, he was frustrated that the FDA wouldn’t approve his sugar substitute. So what did he do? He fired the FDA Commissioner. Conveniently, Rumsfield was on President Reagan's transition team, where he only waited a single day after the new president was in office to oust Jere E. Goyan from his position as FDA Commissioner. Goyan had refused to approve the use of aspartame due to studies documenting increase of cancers in rats. Rumsfeld appointed Arthur Hull Hayes in his stead, who in spite of the FDA’s Board of Inquiry (which found aspartame to be unsafe), overruled Goyan’s ban and approved Aspartame. Hayes then embarked on a lucrative career working for the PR Agency of the manufacturer. Aspartame is now used in Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, tabletop packets, and countless other foods in spite of reputable studies linking it to serious health risks including the development of cancerous tumors.

Miracle fruit, on the other hand, is considered completely safe to eat, with no known side effects, other than the “flavor tripping” ones, of course. While it’s anyone’s guess if miraculin will eventually be converted into a commercial sugar substitute, there are ways to experience its naturally transforming effects in the meantime. Small vendors sell the berries directly over the Internet in original form, or as freeze-dried granules/tablets, which gives it a longer shelf life than the fresh fruit. The tablets and granules must be sucked on, since the effect comes only from direct contact between miraculin and the tongue. To get the effect from fresh fruit you place the berry in your mouth and scrape the pulp off the seed with your teeth, and then swirl the paste around in your mouth for about a minute. Then voila, all that is bitter becomes sweet.

Bon apetit!

Posted by Rebecca Sato

Related Galaxy posts:

Adios, Banana: Why Future Generations Will Likely Never Taste One of Our Favorite Fruits
Space Food: China is Growing Giant Food with Seeds from Outer Space

Miracle fruit suppliers:
*The Daily Galaxy is not affiliated with any of these sites and does not confirm or guarantee their product or service.

http://www.miraclefruitman.com/
http://flavortripping.wordpress.com/
http://www.miracle-berry.net/shop.html

Sources & related articles:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7367548.stm
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/28/dining/28flavor.html
http://www.cspinet.org/new/200706251.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/25/japan.foodanddrink

Comments

I've been reading more about these berries lately. Its incredible to me that so many people in the US haven't even heard of the miracle berry. Hopefully word will get out. Miraculin can really help people with diabetes and obesity eat healthier and still enjoy flavorful treats and desserts.

Of course, the fresh berries are probably much better than any commercial concoction, but it would be nice if there were tablets and such available in grocery stores for convenience.

Yum yum - sounds well cool.

do a search for taste trips for the latest miracle berry stuff

or click here if it's not removed http://www.miracleberrytablets.co.uk

The miracle fruit now available in tablet form. The tablet work as good as the fresh miracle fruit. You can get it at www.miraclefruittab.com . They have it available in stock and ready to ship out.

Miracle Fruit is not enough, You need the right set of foods to try, visit http://www.miraclefruitworld.com for a complete list of foods to try! This is where I got my Miracle Berry tablets as well (excellent customer service!) and the pills DO WORK!

They work great, try them with beer one day and you'll get a real shocker! :D

Visit http://www.miraclefruitworld.com/ for special offers and an updated list of foods and recipes to go with your Miracle Fruit! Have fun :)

hey everyone I finally decided to order some tablets/pills from this site called www.miracleberrypill.com and got them today (2 days it took , not bad ) and there absolutely amazing and there just so worth it, its a sensation and confusing worth trying !!! I handed over 30 tablets out today alone.. people do not believe intill they try . lol

hey everyone I finally decided to order some tablets/pills from this site called www.miracleberrypill.com and got them today (2 days it took , not bad ) and there absolutely amazing and there just so worth it, its a sensation and confusing worth trying !!! I handed over 30 tablets out today alone.. people do not believe intill they try . lol

hey everyone I finally decided to order some tablets/pills from this site called www.miracleberrypill.com and got them today (2 days it took , not bad ) and there absolutely amazing and there just so worth it, its a sensation and confusing worth trying !!! I handed over 30 tablets out today alone.. people do not believe intill they try . lol

Hello, this really is one amazing berry :) Excellent stuff! Got mine from http://www.miraclefruitworld.com It was fun. Ate grapefruit, lemons, limes, lemon yogurt, tonic water. Orange juice was almost too sweet. You'll have fun.

Anyone inside the USA can order from our company based out of Scottsdale, AZ. We ship miracle fruit tablets free :)

http://www.buy-miracle-fruit.com

Hello, Thank you for all positive comments. Our customers infact always come first. Please visit our site for special offers and an updated list of sugar free recipes! Thank you!

http://www.miraclefruitworld.com

These are Great! I tried the berries and as much fruit as i could find.

I'm looking to get myself shortly a large plant for the living room. I have found a supplier offering great

prices based in the U.S.

there website is http://www.Miraclefruithut.com

Its also a shame the FDA also ignore this as being used as a sweetener.

helps with cancer sickness and helps you lose weight!

It's a berry that changes all sour tastes to sweet. I've read about it on CNN. It's good for Tasting Parties, but also great for diabetics (a friend of mine realy got a kick out of it) and chemo patients.

I've tried it in all forms – berries, powder and tablets (from 2 different producers). Well, I won't say we didn't have fun with it – it was on a party i organised and it was great! The one that I prefer, because it lasts longest, has the best effect and is most practical (berries perish in a matter of days) are Miracle Frooties tablets (Large). That's the verdict of most of us at the party.

If it were up to me, I'd have the berries, but they are really expensive and unpractical – can't carry them around, can't wait until the weekend to have a party or buy in stock if you need to take a few every day (diabetics). That's why the winners for me are Miracle Frooties.

I found a list of retailers from the producer's website ( http://www.miraclefruitworld.com/miracle-fruit-usa )– this is for the US. What I really like is that you can check out which one's your nearest and see the prices, so very transparent. I ordered from http://www.sour2sweet.com/ , they have great customer and shipping service – got mine in only 3 days.

Here is what they say about Miracle Frooties:

- Made according to ISO 9001 - HACCP standards
- Contain NO fat, colorants or preservatives!
- Can be stored for up to 18 months

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As a seller of Miracle Fruit and long time experiencer with hundreds of customers weekly i can tell you this is not true.

The best way to try and experience miracle fruit is in its natural original form.

The Miracle Fruit Plants are Available in All Stages of Growth With berries on and the Berries themselves available on our website with discounts on amounts over 10 and the Miracle Fruit tablets all from one of the Largest Miracle Fruit Suppliers based in Houston, Texas.

We are Experienced Growers and Enthusiasts of the Amazon Rainforest supplying other products from there also.

Buy Miracle Fruit

This stuff blows my mind, and I have a lot of fun with it. I am hoping, though, that the miracle will be used to it's fullest extent. It was poised to become a big hit in the US back in the 70's. That fell to pieces. I really do hope that all this buzz and talk about it brings much more attention to it...and commerce. Miracle Fruit Revolution everyone.

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I really do hope that all this buzz and talk about it brings much more attention to it...and commerce. Miracle Fruit Revolution everyone.

Really great post. You do a good job. Thanks a lot for posting and keep it up with the good job.

thanks admin for sharing this cool thing with us.


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