Someone once said that the human tongue is not a blank state.
It feels, it tastes, it tells you what the food is like. The reality of our tongue sensation couldn’t be any simple: what you've just eaten can change the flavour of what you are about to eat or drink next – for better or for worse.
It's all because your taste buds respond differently when the environment around them shifts – an effect you can use to go on a little mouth-hacking tour.
Let’s do a fun and quick experiment. For starters, try eating an artichoke. Then drink a glass of water. You will begin to notice that liquid tastes sweet - strangely enough. On a different day, drink a glass of lemon juice after brushing your teeth with toothpaste. The normal blend of sour and sweet taste in this drink may taste foul instead.
But for taste-bending parlour tricks, nothing beats the miracle berry. Lo and behold, these red West African berries have the power to turn anything sour into sweet. On top of that, this miracle fruit has no added calories - just pure, fun sweetness.
How does the miracle berry work?
To understand how the miracle berry plays the good tricks on your taste buds - think about your tongue. They’re covered with these clusters of taste-sensitive cells. Now each cell has a membrane covered with proteins that function like your doorbells.
When a trigger, say a molecule in the food that you just ate or the drink you just drank - hits these doorbells, a message is sent from these cells to your brain. From that point, it’s a sensation of madness. You are bound to taste either the sweetness, bitterness, sourness, saltiness or for some - umami.
And what of the miracle fruit? There is a substance responsible for this weird effects and it is the glycoprotein that is aptly named as miraculin.
This miraculin attaches itself to your tongue like a leech does to the wall or a caterpillar to a leaf. This protein is initially imperceptible or difficult to distinguish taste-wise until something acidic enters your mouth. It can be a slice of lemon, a sunkist or salt-and-vinegar chips.
Here goes the interesting part: the PH drop that this acidic food causes changes the shape of the miraculin. This is the ultimate secret that activates your tongue’s sweet receptor by changing the shape of these very receptors. This is why instead of the expected sourness, you taste the sweetness instead. That’s the taste-bending experience you have come to know with the miracle berry.
A study showed that the tongue still registers the sour taste in food even after you have chewed the miracle berry. But this signal is drowned out by the strength of the sweet avalanche.
Experience this incredible phenomenon with Richberry. You first taste-bending experience begins here.
Witty, Michael. (1998). New technologies for taste modifying proteins. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 9. 275-280. 10.1016/S0924-2244(98)00048-X.