Foods of the fu­ture clev­erly turn mat­ters of taste in­side out

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODEATING -

COLIN FER­NAN­DEZ

BRUS­SELS sprouts that taste like sher­bet lemons and cake that isn’t fat­ten­ing? Wel­come to the food of the fu­ture.

In fact, these and other foods – in­clud­ing a plant that grows toma­toes and pota­toes at the same time – are al­ready re­al­ity.

Other de­vel­op­ments, in­clude pizza that can stay fresh for up to three years. A sub­stance named mira­c­ulin, de­rived from berries of the plant synsepa­lum dul­ci­fi­cum, makes ev­ery­thing from Brus­sels sprouts to lemons taste as though they have been sugar-coated.

The pre­sen­ter for the BBC show, To­mor­row’s Food, Chris Bavin, asked a group of mar­ket traders to bite into a lemon be­fore and af­ter eating a berry from the plant.

“Af­ter the berry they were tast­ing lemons as if they were sher­bet lemons,” Bavin said.

The berry grows only in west Africa, and sci­en­tists are now try­ing to find a way to syn­the­sise the mira­c­ulin in tomato plants.

Mira­c­ulin is not sweet in it­self, so it does not add calo­ries to foods with which it is eaten.

Although it has been eaten in Africa for cen­turies, it is await­ing reg­u­la­tory ap­proval in Europe and the US.

It has been given the all-clear in Ja­pan, where it is used to help treat peo­ple ad­dicted to sweet foods.

Another di­eter’s dream is eating cake with­out pil­ing on weight. To achieve this, pills made from al­gi­nate – a sub­stance de­rived from brown sea­weed – are eaten be­fore a meal. Re­search found that truck­ers who took a pill be­fore eating fat­laden meals lost weight.

Bavin said they lost an av­er­age of 1.4kg, adding: “They all said that if any­thing, they had in­dulged them­selves more.

“The sub­stance is nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring, and ap­pears to be com­pletely healthy and safe.”

Drugs with a sim­i­lar ef­fect, which pre­vent fat be­ing ab­sorbed, can have un­pleas­ant side ef­fects.

The Tom­tato – a plant that grows toma­toes above the sur­face and pota­toes be­low it – has taken Ip­swich firm Thomp­son and Mor­gan 15 years to de­velop.

The Tom­tato is the re­sult of graft­ing the two dif­fer­ent plants to­gether and works be­cause toma­toes and pota­toes are mem­bers of the same fam­ily.

Pizza de­vel­oped by the US mil­i­tary that can stay fresh for three years was also looked at by the pro­gramme.

The se­cret comes from com­bin­ing glyc­erol – a colour­less, odour­less, vis­cous liq­uid that re­pels bac­te­ria – with dried moz­zarella and pres­sure-cooked meat.

Chef An­gela Hart­nett tried it for To­mor­row’s Food. She said: “It tasted like a high street chain pizza the day af­ter you bought it. If you were in the mid­dle of the desert it would be an ex­tremely com­fort­ing taste of home.” – Daily Mail

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