How Miracle Berries Alter Your Taste Buds (feat. @Physics Girl @PBS Eons @Two Cents @PBS Space Time)

published on July 13, 2020

These lemons they're completely normal but we did alter the taste buds of these PBS hosts lemon just a little bit all right I love lemon so that's the other good today on reactions were investigating the sweet and sour secrets of the miracle berry whoa whoa oh my god

It tastes like it is covered in sugar there's coated in sugar not it tastes like lemonade like straight eliminated that's so intensely sweet just like a super-sweet kumquat you've probably seen videos like this this extremely

Extremely spicy noodle in which people eat increasingly ridiculous things to see if miracle berries change their flavor and that got us wondering do miracle berries have limits as it turns out the answer is yes yes they do that

Tastes pretty normal and we think we might know why first things first this is your tongue this is a taste bud these are GU shtetl he says gustatory cells also known as taste receptor cells every taste bud contains taste receptor

Cells for all of the basic tastes sweet sour bitter salty and umami so that tongue map that you learned about in middle school in which every taste is limited to a specific region of your tongue that's wrong

Each of these gustatory cells has proteins that detect its specific taste this is the protein that lets you taste sweet when sugar or other sweet things bind to the outside part the protein changes shape yes on the inside of the

Cell – and that starts a signal cascade which ends by telling your brain dude sweet miracle berries hijack this process scientists think it works like this first you have to eat a miracle berry or miracle berry pill both of

Which contain a protein called miraculin we gave your favorite PBS hosts miracle berry pills can I go okay as you let the pill dissolve in your mouth miraculin binds to the sweet taste receptor and then

Nothing happens because miraculin by itself doesn't change the shape of the receptor protein so you taste basically nothing but when you eat something sour like this lemon the acid in the lemon interacts with the sweet receptor

Protein and the miraculin causing the protein to change shape just like when sugar binds so you taste sweet it's like a lemon gumdrop very sugary humans have known that miracle berries plus sour things equals sweet for hundreds of

Years but in 1969 a few scientists tried to get a more specific handle on exactly which sour things tasted sweetest after eating miracle berries so they had people taste a bunch of different acids Blackduck which is in sour milk oxalic

Which is in rhubarb acetic which is what makes vinegar sour but also formic acid which is in bee and ant venom and hydrochloric acid which is the same acid that's in your stomach just a little safety note from us here at ACS please

Do not put hydrochloric acid in your mouth 1969 was a different time I guess anyway they discovered that hydrochloric acid the strongest acid they tested didn't taste nearly as sweet as acetic acid weak acids like the citric acid

Found in lemons tend to work better than strong acids like hydrochloric which is good for the health of your mouth more recent research has revealed that miraculin somewhat blocks sugars from binding to the sweet receptor which

Means that sweet things that have no acid in them taste kind of flat it's like less sweet Oreo like it's like the cream just disappeared and all you have is cookie as far as we know miraculin only binds to the sweet receptor and

Because you have taste receptor proteins for a wide variety of tastes most other flavors remain the same the food might just taste a little sweeter but it's sweeter it's like it's like a honey mustard the spiciness of capsaicin is

Still there for example definitely still say spicy you still get the heat it's still kind of hot it's like a sweet chili sauce mmm and the tomatoey ness of a tomato oh my god I can't believe I'm doing this

So unless you actually like the taste of the food to begin with don't expect an actual miracle Oh still tomato still gross sorry if you want to learn exactly why have 15 packets of red hot spiciness is so spicy we've got you covered

Happy eating and we'll see you next week

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