Artificial sweeteners be damned; these naturally occurring, safe proteins are thousands of times sweeter than sugar


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/02/22/thaumatin-monellin-brazzein.html


#2

safe proteins are thousands of times sweeter than sugar

Now how do we mass manufacture them and make money, said Corporate America.


#3

It would be interesting to know how these would work in applications like baking. Sugar doesn’t just make things sweeter–it carmelizes and browns, which affects taste, texture, and appearance. In ice cream, it acts as anti-freeze, to control the formation of ice crystals. Normally, in ‘diet’ products that use sugar alcohols or other sweeteners, gums, stabilizers, and other additives are needed. In sodas, let’s face it, no substitute tastes as good as plain old sucrose.


#4

“SCIENCE? From KANSAS? It’s more likely than you’d think.”

Go Wildcats!


#5

Now I’m not sure where I read it, but there has been a study which showed that no matter what sweetener you used, there were always negative effects on your metabolism.

The principle was that your brain/body is used to ‘sweet’ meaning ‘sugar’ and so when you taste sweet your body will prepare itself for the digestion of sugar. When you break this correlation, these mechanisms get confused.

Now I’m not completely sure what the effect was, but it was not good. Pity I can’t find the study atm, maybe someone else has better google-fu?

Instead of people (food makers/sellers mainly) trying to cheat your/their senses with ‘fake’ sweetness it would probably be better to just get used to eating less sweet stuff. This can be done, the preference for sweetness is somewhat influenced by culture. Of course most people like the taste of sweet, but american food is often too sweet for my dutch tastes, for example.


#6

Also, how do we not make them taste like ass, a la stevia?


#7

Here’s what’s pretty good, fuchsia berries.


#8

I’m sitting here wondering how these things work long term in the amounts we use as sweetening.


#9

And a hypersensitivity to sweet isn’t just healthier. It also makes aromatic foods like Asian pears and roasted hazelnuts taste absolutely decadent.

american food is often too sweet for my dutch tastes

The ubiquity of sugar in American packaged food is ridiculous. Everything from bread to tomato sauce is tainted with the stuff. I understand adding a pinch of sugar to homemade marinara when the tomatoes aren’t all that great but the whole point of that compensating measure is to achieve only the level of sweetness of good, ripe tomatoes. You’re not making chutney here.


#10

That really is the problem. Individually it isn’t a big deal, but it all adds up.

The other problem is, they do do taste tests and the sweeter stuff tends to score higher. So what do you do, make the LESS popular version?

I guess you do if you market it as “healthy”, but it would help all of us if they cut back some.


#11

This might be the rare case where homeopathic style giga-dilution imparts an actual effect


#12

[quote]and can be expressed in GMO corn.[/quote]Sounds like the setup for a distopian sci-fi story. While the detrimental health effects of excess carbohydrate consumption are mitigated, sweetness takes over, and foods which are actually bland are only available to the rich as products of extensive refining processes or meticulous horticulture. The wearing of noseplugs among the lower classes becomes fashionable.

(But then, a tale painting GMO plants in a negative light reeks of the irresponsible in this age.)


#13

Last I heard, and it has been a few years since I did hear it, there was one guy who had two experiments with rats that suggested a mild insulin release when given water with some artificial sweeteners. But, at best, it was very preliminary research and there is plenty of research in humans that did not find such a reaction. Hence why diabetics don’t get insulin spikes from drinking diet soda.


#14

Sometimes these protiens break down with heat in a way that sugar does not.


#15

sugar isn’t that bad. moderation is key


#16

Some protein occurring in small quantities in a plant that is “generally regarded as safe” does not mean that extracting that protein and consuming it in much larger quantities doesn’t have negative long term effects. Lots of plants and animals that are considered safe for consumption have trace amounts of toxic substances that do not pose a problem for most people when eaten in the naturally occurring quantity, not to mention the ordinary stuff like salt, sugar, and fat which are certainly not healthy if consumed in excess.

Also, there isn’t much evidence to show that the current artificial sweeteners, synthetic or natural, have serious negative affects with the possible exception of messing with your insulin response and changing your psychological expectations for sweetness in your diet-- problems that to whatever extent they exist would presumably plague any sugar substitute.

So the real question is, do these compounds provide a better substitute for sugar? Do they have less of the off tastes with the current crop of substitutes or perform better in some other way?


#17

I’ve heard this before but it was from a co-worker suggesting that diet sodas make you gain weight because he once lived with a fat guy who drank diet soda. I countered with “Well maybe he would have been even fatter if he didn’t”. He wasn’t convinced.

Anyway I’ve never found any evidence to support it but who knows. I think it’s more likely that people who like diet soda (which is usually very sweet tasting) probably eat lots of other sweet stuff that isn’t sugar free.

Disclaimer: I am a Diet Coke addict.


#18

I bet you say that to all the girls.


#19

This. My reaction in these cases is always “you first”.

Especially when it’s something called Thaumatin.


#20

I suspect the sugar is there to make it somewhat addictive, so people buy buy buy. But sometimes a little sugar helps tomato sauce, as it can counter the acidity, IMO. Not enough to prevent heartburn if you eat a whole lot of it. Right before bedtime. As I’ve found out.