Tag Archives: flavors

A Miracle Fruit?

miracle-berry
Foodfacts.com recently came across this article in TIME magazine regarding a “miracle fruit” that changes sour into sweet. How? Read below to learn more!

If you have any foodie friends, you’ve probably heard of miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum), a native West African berry that looks like a cranberry, but acts like a psychedelic for your taste buds.

Eat the miracle fruit on its own and it doesn’t taste like much of anything. But let the juices coat your mouth, then consume sour foods — like lemons, limes, goat cheese, beer, vinegar, pickles — and a remarkable thing happens: they all taste sweet.
“Beer tastes like sweet juice. Lemon tastes like sweet orange,” Keiko Abe of the University of Tokyo told Discovery News.

The fruit’s effect lasts for an hour, and like other trippy experiences, it’s more fun to do it in groups. So adventuresome eaters seek out “flavor tripping parties” during which people pop a berry, then gorge on all manner of sour foods. Guinness beer tastes like chocolate. Tabasco sauce tastes like “hot doughnut glaze,” as one flavor tripper was quoted as saying in this story in the New York Times.

This week, Abe reported the key to miracle fruit’s magic. To figure it out, Abe’s research team used cell cultures to test human taste receptors at various pHs. According to Discovery News:

The key ingredient in the fruit, a protein known as miraculin, binds strongly to the sweet taste receptors on our tongues, Abe reported, but it does not activate the receptors at neutral pH.

When acid is introduced, the miraculin protein changes shape in such a way that it turns on the sweet receptors it is bound to, creating a sensation of ultra-sweet without affecting the other flavors in the food.

After the acidic food is swallowed, miraculin returns to the inactive shape, but it remains bound to the sweet receptor for up to an hour, ready to receive a new acid trigger. The strong binding explains the molecule’s lasting effect.

Abe said the sweet-making power of miraculin was stronger than nearly all other known sweeteners. Given that it’s calorie-free, of course there has been no shortage of interest in developing it into a commercially usable sweetener. Perhaps it will be in Japan, where the production of a purified miraculin extract is currently being sought. As for the U.S., however, a 1974 ruling by the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of an extract.

(TIME)

Food facts you may not know… or want to know…

Brought to you by Foodfacts.com:
hairyplates
10 The average fast food patron eats 12 pubic hairs in a given year
We’ve all got the occasional hair in our food at one point or another. Ingesting unwanted hair is more likely to occur at fast food restaurants… and it’s not just the hair that grows on the top of heads that you need to worry about.

9 The strawberry flavor in a McDonald’s milk shake contains 50 artificial flavors

Apparently, real strawberries are expensive. So fast food companies like McDonald’s choose to use a ridiculous concoction of 50 chemicals to effectively imitate the flavor of one real-world food. These chemicals include ethyl acetate, phenythyl alcohol and solvent.
chicken-mcnug
8 This is where chicken nuggets come from
Before reshaping, foods like chicken nuggets, hot dogs, bologna and pepperoni look like a disgusting sludge of pink paste. This is done through a process called mechanical separation, which is a cost-effective way to “smooth out” bone remnants left after the de-boning process. The process results in excessive bacteria, which is fixed by washing the meat in ammonia. To cover up that delicious ammonia flavor, the meat is then re-flavored artificially and dyed to resemble to type of meat it once was.

7 There are bugs and rodent hair in your peanut butter
FDA laws allow for an average of 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter. In that same half cup of peanut butter, you’ll also find at least one rodent hair (on average). Yum! Now that’s good eating!
delem_shellac
6 Shellac is an important ingredient in jelly beans

Shellac is a type of finishing product that is typically used to improve the shine of wood and furniture. However, it can also be used to improve the shine of certain foods, such as jelly beans. Where does shellac come from? Why, it’s secreted by an insect in Thailand called the Kerria Iacca of course!

5 Various viruses can be found on processed lunch meat
Food production companies have long sought ways to combat unhealthy microbes found on processed foods such as lunch meat and hot dogs. A few years ago, the FDA approved the use of bacteriophages (a.k.a. viruses) that help kill these dangerous microbes. So, basically, viruses are purposely being added to your food to improve shelf life.
anti-cokeposter
4 If not for one ingredient, drinking a can of Coke would make you vomit
While cocaine was long taken out of Coca-Cola long ago, the current formula is still formulated to get you high. Each can of Coke contains 10 teaspoons of sugar. This is 100 percent of your recommended daily intake. In normal circumstances, the extreme sweetness of this much sugar would immediately cause you to vomit uncontrollably. However, since all that sugar is addictive and keeps you coming back for more, Coca-Cola adds phosphoric acid -– an ingredient that cuts the sweetness to manageable levels.

3 Processed cheese is less than 51 percent cheese
A more accurate name for Kraft Singles and other packaged cheeses is “cheese-like substance.” Any cheese product labeled as processed or pasteurized includes additives, chemicals and flavorings that account for up 49 percent of the total product. As a result, that cheap cheese in your grocery store has just enough real cheese in it to allow companies to call it cheese.
carbomers_emulsifiers_glycerin_propylene_glycol_bees_emulsifying
2 Fast food salads contain chemicals used in antifreeze
Choosing to “eat healthy” at a fast food restaurant isn’t necessarily a good idea. To prolong crispness, packaged salads are dusted with Propylene Glycerol, a chemical commonly found in antifreeze. In its concentrated form, the chemical has been known to cause eye and skin irritation.

1 Chicken McNuggets contain beef
Many fast food chicken items contain beef additives used to enhance flavor and juke health stats. Chicken McNuggets, the Wendy’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and KFC Grilled Chicken Sandwich are a few examples. Check the ingredients, and you’ll see no sign of such atrocities. That’s because such beef additives are listed as “extract” or “essence.”

(Guyism.com)