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HomeLatest News“It tastes sweet, but it's actually protein, like meat”: Russian scientists have...

“It tastes sweet, but it’s actually protein, like meat”: Russian scientists have created a superfood for weight loss

Date: June 25, 2024 Time: 12:14:45

You can experience the pleasure of eating sweets without consuming extra calories.

Photo: Shutterstock

How do we imagine healthy eating? More vegetables, fruits, vegetables. Of course, proteins (the main building material of the body). And less sweets. Sugar, or rather its abuse, which is extremely difficult to resist, is recognized as one of the main enemies of health. In particular, an excess of sweets drastically accelerates aging, both of the skin and of the entire body. But… soon those ideas seem to come to an end. A new development from Russian scientists promises to revolutionize the classic healthy lifestyle. And also help those who lose weight to lose weight safely, without losing one of the main sources of pleasure – sweets (by the way, the love for them is inherent in us by evolution, say anthropologists). A journalist from Komsomolskaya Pravda attended a meeting with researchers who participated in the creation and testing of know-how: the amazing substance brazzein, which is thousands of times sweeter than sugar, but is essentially… a protein .


…Ice cream in small bowls seems completely normal. And the flavor is no different from the traditional one. But the body does not perceive it as a sweet dessert. And what… well, like a piece of meat. Or cottage cheese, fish, cheese. In general, I like protein foods. Because instead of sugar or a classic sweetener, the sweet protein brazzein was added to the ice cream.

– In Africa there is a plant called Pentadiplandra brazzeana (it grows as a shrub or liana in Congo, Angola, Gabon. – Ed.). During evolution, she randomly “learned” to synthesize a protein that turned out to be sweet. [в то время, как традиционно сладкий вкус имеют углеводы], says Doctor of Chemical Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Director of the Research Institute of Physical and Chemical Biology that bears his name. Petr Sergiev, Belozersky Moscow State University. – This protein is about 2 thousand times sweeter than sugar.

First of all, the sweet taste is perceived through special receptors in the mouth, explains the expert. In addition, classic sweets (based on “fast” carbohydrates, such as sugar) cause an increase in blood glucose levels. In response, the hormone insulin is actively released. Various processes are set in motion, the result of which, with a passionate love for desserts and an aversion to sports, is excess weight. Next come obesity, diabetes, problems with blood vessels, heart, skin and much more.

A vine that produces the sweet protein brazzein grows only in certain areas of the African continent.

Photo: Shutterstock

But this is not the case with African vine protein. “Once in the gastrointestinal tract, it behaves exactly like a protein. That is, after digestion, it is broken down into amino acids (the basic components that make up our muscles, skin, all organs, etc. – Ed.). Exactly the same thing happens as when eating, for example, a steak,” describes Professor Sergiev. A sudden increase in blood glucose, which triggers insulin production and the risk of fatty tissue accumulation – all this simply does not exist. “For us this is practically manna from heaven. Because you can experience the pleasure of eating sweets without consuming extra calories,” concludes the chemist. It would seem: plant plantations of the wonderful Pentadiplandra yourself and rejoice. But it’s not that simple.


The vine, which produces the sweet protein brazzein, grows only in certain areas of the African continent. And in any case, you won’t be able to get enough for a massive sugar replacement, experts say. In addition, such a sweetener will have a “golden” price. Therefore, scientists did the same as with vitamins, some medications and food ingredients. That is, they observed nature’s recipe and synthesized a substance similar in structure in the laboratory.

The created product was sent for testing. They were attended by researchers from leading Russian scientific and medical centers – the Research Institute of Physical and Chemical Biology (FCHB), named after him. Belozersky Moscow State University, Federal Scientific and Clinical Center for Physico-Chemical Medicine (FNKTs FKhM) named after him. Academician Lopukhin FMBA of Russia, Moscow State Medical and Dental University (MGMSU) named after him. Evdokimov.

“Together with our colleagues, we have conducted numerous studies in various mammal species. Toxicity and safety tested according to internationally recognized standards. [браззеина], says Doctor of Biological Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Head of the Federal Scientific Center for Physics and Chemistry named after him. academic. Lopukhina Maria Lagarkova. – We observed what would happen to the different organs and systems of the animal body if we ate a lot of sweet protein at once. They did blood and urine tests and behavioral tests. The second question is what will happen if you eat that protein for a long time. The animals received doses of brazein equivalent to 50 g of sugar per day for humans (the WHO limit). And also – 10 times more. Among other things, they checked for allergies and performed skin tests.

The results of the study were published in the prestigious international scientific journal Foods. Additionally, scientists in a separate project discovered how brazzein affects the microbiota (microflora) of the animals’ intestines. “This is important because the community of bacteria in the intestines determines the state of health. [всех млекопитающих], mood and behavior,” explains Professor Lagarkova. “We analyzed the composition of the intestines of rats that consumed sweet proteins for more than six months (in terms of human life, this is more than 15 years. – Ed.).” By the way, it is the negative impact on the microflora that is “punctured” by most of today’s sweeteners.

The results of the experiments are impressive. On the one hand, the health of the experimental animals was not affected in any way even with extreme doses and prolonged use of brazzein. On the other hand, in the intestine the number of the Faecalibaculum rodentium bacteria has not increased, which multiplies strongly during sugar abuse and which, according to scientific data, is associated with obesity. In general, “long-term consumption of sweet proteins did not cause significant changes in the microbiota or the appearance of opportunistic microflora,” the authors of the second study concluded. It was published in another prestigious scientific journal, Frontiers in Nutrition.


It is no worse than the sensational “weight loss injections”

According to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, effective as of December 2022, the consumption of no more than 8 kg of sugar per person per year is considered a healthy diet. But in reality our people eat much more.

– According to Rosstat for 2021, Russians consume an average of 30.2 kg of sugar per person per year, or 83 g per day. And according to Rospotrebnadzor, 39 kg per person per year, or 107 g per day, says the academic director of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Department of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine, Moscow State Medical University named after. Evdokimova, member of the scientific and technical council for the study of metabolism and safety of innovative products Igor Mayev. – In 2016, the proportion of overweight citizens in our country was 62% and the proportion of obese citizens was 26%. Obesity and related diseases are expected to increase by 2025.

Replacing sugar with safe, calorie-free sweet proteins will be a very powerful contribution in the fight against excess weight, academician Mayev is sure. It will also be of great help for people with diabetes and prediabetes. Because brazzein does not cause an increase in glucose and does not participate in insulin metabolism in the body. It is likely that in terms of importance, the protein sweetener is not inferior to “weight loss injections” – a new class of anti-diabetes and obesity drugs, which has now become a bestseller. This forecast was given by an expert in a comment to Komsomolskaya Pravda. And he did not even rule out that the invention of brazzein would receive the Nobel Prize.

According to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, effective as of December 2022, the consumption of no more than 8 kg of sugar per person per year is considered a healthy diet.

Photo: Shutterstock


When will the supersweet protein appear and how accessible will it be?

An interesting fact: the development and production of sweet proteins was “blessed” by President Vladimir Putin. This happened at the III Congress of Young Scientists held in Sochi last fall. Next, Rostislav Kovalevsky, candidate of physical and mathematical sciences, innovation director of the EFKO group of companies, which in collaboration with scientists developed a technology for producing brazein, spoke about the know-how to the Head of State.

For a new biotechnological product to appear on the market, it is necessary to confirm its safety for human health, experts explain. Therefore, after the successful results of animal tests, human clinical trials were organized. “We are now in the final stage, preliminary results also indicate the safety of the sweet protein. And in the near future we expect its certification in Russia,” says Kovalevsky. – By the way, our development has already been certified in the United Arab Emirates. This is very relevant there, since the incidence of diabetes in the population reaches 35-40%.”

– Rostislav, what are the differences between supersweet protein and current sweeteners? They are also non-caloric.

– Now there are two groups of sweeteners: chemical ones, which are used, for example, in drinks labeled “Zero” (zero calories. – Ed.). They are the result of chemical production. The WHO classifies these sweeteners as potential carcinogens. Several studies show that they can have serious side effects. There are also natural sweeteners, for example, stevia. To date, there are no studies that demonstrate its harm. But it is obtained from plants that grow in South America in a very limited climatic zone. Therefore, stevia cannot be produced in large quantities. And it is expensive: a sweet product with it costs about 4 times more than with sugar. Additionally, stevia has a metallic aftertaste, which may not be to everyone’s taste.

– When will people be able to try brazzein?

– We hope that sweet protein products will be available in one or two years.

As Kovalevsky clarified to KP, brazzein will be registered as a food ingredient. This means that it will end up in the food industry. And on store shelves we will see products prepared with sweet proteins instead of sugar. The first will be drinks, ice cream and sweets. As for the price, they should not be more expensive than the normal ones (the ones with sugar), because the technology to produce brazein is quite cheap.


A promising product, but not a panacea for those with a sweet tooth.

With all the advantages of super sweet and calorie-free protein (one gram can replace several kg of sugar), it can hardly be considered a panacea. At least for today.

First of all, we still have to wait for the final results of the human studies. So far, satisfactory results have been obtained in tests with mice, rats and guinea pigs.

Secondly, brazzein does not currently appear to be a complete sugar substitute, as there are no plans to sell it alone, in powder or even syrup form. That is, you will not be able to add it yourself to tea and coffee; You will not be able to prepare homemade desserts.

Thirdly, many store-bought confectionery products, even replacing sugar with sweet proteins, will probably still be high in calories, due to white wheat flour, high fat content, etc.

At the same time, we will definitely have healthier, safer and at the same time delicious desserts. Overall, leading a healthy lifestyle will definitely be easier for those with a sweet tooth. But, of course, you won’t be able to eat cakes alone and with impunity.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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