it have much of a taste of its own. Instead its appeal lies in its transforming powers. The bright red berry contains a molecule that temporarily rewires the palate's perception of sour flavours, coating the tongue with a sweet aftertaste and tricking you into thinking that the food in question is sugary. Unpalatably sharp but healthy fruits, such as English blackberries, lose all their bitterness. Lemons and limes are suddenly delicious raw.
Yet this is a food that doesn't punish waistlines. ''The miracle fruit contains no fat,'' says Japanese scientist Mitsuharu Shimamura, who has lectured audiences worldwide on the berry's potential. ''And the calories are negligible.''
However, I became rather disquieted when I read this paragraph:
Long term it's impossible to overestimate the fruit's potential. With obesity levels at epidemic proportions and our western diet dangerously high in sugar, this small African berry could revolutionise the way we eat, giving us that sugar fix we crave without the calorific penalty, or the side-effects, that often accompany it. Although the berry has yet to be officially sanctioned as a health food or taken up in a major way by the food industry, perhaps it's only a matter of time.
Our civilization is all about the easy, quick "fix". We have sugar junkies, so instead of teaching them to break their addiction, let's give them a berry that tricks them into thinking their addiction is being satisfied. I wonder if it won't make them crave even more sweetness. I know that if I eat a lot of fruit, I crave sweetness, but if I eat a lot of greens I find most fruits too sweet.