Health Team

Sweet 'Miracle Berry' makes healthy food tasty

Posted August 25, 2008 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 25, 2008 10:11 p.m. EDT

In the midst of the country's obesity epidemic, a little berry might hold the key to getting people to eat healthier.

Some people are obese partly because they don't eat enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The reason, they say, is those foods just don't taste good.

The Miracle Berry, however, makes everything else you eat taste sweeter.

"It's just a new experience in eating for your taste buds," said Curtis Mozie, the only major U.S. grower of the Miracle Berry.

For two hours after eating a Miracle Berry, cheese tastes like cheesecake; grapefruit and lemons taste as sweet as candy.

The secret lies in the pulp of the berry, officially named Synsepalum dulcificum and native to west Africa. The pulp contains proteins that coat the taste buds and react to acids.

Children reluctant to eat their vegetables said that after eating a Miracle Berry, their broccoli "tasted more sugary and was sweeter."

Scientists are studying the berry and hope that one day, the fruit can be used on a wide scale to help people eat healthier.

However, developing those products will take some time. The Miracle Berry is only available through special order and sells for more than $2 a piece.

The Miracle Berry is also known as the Magic Berry or Flavor Berry.

An attempt was made in the 1970s to commercialize the fruit. But, the running theory goes, the sugar industry sabotaged the move.