It's no secret that too much sugar can make you die early from heart problems, cause you to gain weight, develop insulin resistance or diabetes, and basically ruin your life from the inside out. Thankfully, artificial sweeteners offer a low- or no-calorie alternative, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth safely… right?
Sorry, folks, those have potential negative health effects, too. That they can cause the same crappy effects as the regular old kind is a cruel joke -- "tastes worse, isn't better for you" isn't exactly an appealing promotional slogan.
Does this mean you have to relegate yourself to a teaspoon of sugar in our coffee, and avoid soda? While the answer is probably "yes" to both of those, scientists have been working on a curious fruit protein that could be the natural, no-calorie sweet substitute that usually only exists in our collective imagination.
The future of sweet might just be a protein called brazzein
Brazzein is a protein that comes from the fruit of a tropical West African plant called oubli, more formally known as Pentadiplandra brazzeana. Natives and wildlife have consumed oubli fruit on the regular for as long as they've been around, but since Western scientists rediscovered the fruit in the mid-'80s, it's drawn considerable attention for its protein-based sweetness.