Monday, 23 November 2015

Tuesday Food Blog - Nature's own sweetener

It is surprising that more people aren't suffering from mental illnesses with all of the 'facts' that are thrown at us regarding what we eat.

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Now we are being told about 'nature's natural sweetener - isn't that sugar cane/beet, which we humans then refine? Read on.

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Synsepalum Dulcificum

The above berry, known as the Miracle Berry, is rather clever in that it doesn't work by making the food sweeter but makes it taste sweeter. I think I get that! Or is there some hair splitting going on?

The so-called miracle berries contain a molecule called miraculin which binds to receptors on your tongue, changing their shape. This makes sour foods taste sweeter. One advantage of temporarily changing your taste buds, rather than the food itself, could be the effect this has on your gut bacteria.
That sums up the whole deal - he relationship between us and our gut bacteria. (Am I beginning to over think this issue?)

So how do you get the stuff? It is popular in Japan, but no, as pleasant as that would be for me, unnecessary. Tablets from the dehydrated mulch of the berry are being produced - they aren't cheap.

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Michael Mosley, a BBC scientific reporter (I think), decided to try the berry extract.

So what are they like? Eagerly I put one on my tongue, waited about five minutes for it to dissolve and then I was good to go. I had read enthusiastic claims that it would make foods, such as oranges, taste as if they had been 'freshly plucked from the Garden of Eden" and kill my sugar cravings stone dead.
That was not my experience. The tablet I tried certainly took the bitter edge off licking a lemon, but the after taste was flat and remarkably unpleasant. An expensive red wine was transformed by the tablet into a sweet, fizzy abomination. I tried eating a segment of orange. Far from making the orange irresistible, the tablet made it inedible. The only good thing, as far as I was concerned, is it put me off eating anything at all until the effects had worn off (about an hour).

Doesn't sound great to me. I have some second hand experience of artificial sweeteners, specifically 'aspartame' which caused someone I know suffering migraine. We would go out for a drink, I would consume beer she would drink diet orange, but it was she who woke up with the headache! A clever pharmacist suggested it could be the sweetener. Cutting it out cleared the headaches.

The fact of the matter is that all foods once doctored by flavour enhancers, colour enhancers or artificial sweeteners become adulterated and may not taste or behave as they were intended. It is a band wagon that I've leapt upon many times before but eat naturally, without chemicals, it is better for you.

God Bless