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A Sweet Miracle
A Reading Comprehension Passage by Common Core Texts

For those of us with a sweet tooth, healthy eating can be a challenge. Faced with the choice between a sugary slice of cake and a bitter plate of vegetables, it takes a lot of willpower to make the responsible choice. But dessert lovers, don’t despair! There is a solution…if you’re willing to travel, that is.

In the tropical climate of West Africa grows a berry called Synsepalum dulcificum. It has been called “miracle fruit” for its amazing properties. Miracle fruit is a small, olive-shaped red berry. When it is chewed, it makes sour foods taste sweet.

The flesh of the miracle fruit contains a molecule called miraculin. Miraculin sticks to the taste buds on the tongue. When sour foods enter the mouth, the miraculin molecules spring into action. They bind with the sour food molecules and make them taste sweet. The effects of miracle fruit last up to thirty minutes. That’s long enough to eat a lot of salad!

Most miracle fruit can be found in West Africa, although it is also grown in other tropical places such as Malaysia and Taiwan. Although people have used it for centuries to sweeten their meals, the fruit is not approved for sale in the United States. So at least for now, you will need to travel quite far to sample the amazing effects of miracle fruit.


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