Sweet Victory’s botanical-infused chewing gum blocks sugar receptors and curbs cravings
18 Jan 2022 --- Israeli start-up Sweet Victory has unveiled a line of botanical-infused chewing gums designed to stop sweet cravings by blocking the sugar receptors on the tongue. “As we see in the last years, there is a clear trend of sugar reduction. For example, consumers choose sugar-free (or reduced sugar) products, producers that make efforts to reduce sugar in F&B, and governments that legislate laws for labeling sugar-rich products,” Gitit Lahav, co-founder of Sweet Victory, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
With their background in botanicals, co-founders of Sweet Victory, Lahav and Shimrit Lev used the gymnema botanical (Gymnema sylvestre), known from Ayurvedic tradition for its positive effect on glucose metabolism.
“The atomic arrangement of bioactive gymnemic acid molecules is similar to that of glucose molecules,” says Lev.
“These molecules fill the receptor locations on the taste buds and prevent activation by sugar molecules present in the food, thereby curbing the sugar craving.”
This product line comes at a time when 37% of global consumers indicated they decreased their sugar intake over the past 12 months, according to data from Innova Market Insights’ global 2021 Health and Nutrition Survey.
The company says that the blocking of sugar receptors on the tongue lasts two hours. During this time, F&B products that would normally “excite the senses will taste bland or even sour, and the impulse for a sweets binge can be abated, lasting even longer than the physical effect.”
Formulating Sweet Victory gum
While producing the botanical-infused gum, Sweet Victory co-founders “sought a more effective, fun and convenient delivery method for the gymnema herb.”
The botanical has a naturally bitter flavor. Therefore, the duo experimented with homemade chewing gum recipes, using home gum-making kits. Then they combined the techniques with their nutritional knowledge to derive an “ideal” formula using a few select natural sweeteners.
“The gum is highly safe and beneficial for you. A growing body of research shows that gymenma is a very safe plant,” adds Lahav.
Currently, the plant-based gum is available in peppermint as well as a lemon and ginger flavor.
Reducing sugar cravings
The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugar to no more than six teaspoons per day (24 g), and men limit added sugar to no more than nine teaspoons per day (36 g).
Previous research has suggested a role for sugar in activating the reward centers in the brain, which could explain its attractive nature.
“Most of us battle with sweet cravings daily,” states Lahav, a psychologist and co-founder of Sweet Victory.
“Even as awareness of the impact of overindulgent sugar consumption on personal well-being grows, kicking the sugar ‘habit’ is a real struggle for most of us. This is what spurred us to seek a solution that would help consumers take better control over their nutritional choices.”
These efforts reflect the widely held view that high sugar consumption is a causative factor for various conditions, including dental caries, weight gain and diabetes.
Investigating the efficacy of the gum
The Sweet Victory gum has undergone a pilot study at the Obesity Research Center of the Sheba Medical Center in Israel.
According to the company, one of the participants observed: “I chew the gum twice a day when I get the urge for something sweet, and I feel that the sweet I eat is tasteless. I even tried a chocolate mousse and it tasted sour. Most surprising is that I have no desire to eat.”
“The gum works on both a physical and a psychological level,” adds Lahav.
“Most people crave something sweet at certain times of the day, usually after lunch and at night. Over time, it becomes an automatic instinct that makes the habit even harder to break. Chewing Sweet Victory gum at those challenging moments can slowly break bad habits and help build healthier habits.”
Further clinical trials to determine its effect on blood sugar levels in persons with diabetes are in the pipeline.
Sugar reduction moves
Sugar reduction and sugar alternatives have increased in industry due to consumer demand and government regulations.
In response to reformulation demands, BT Sweet unveiled Cambya, a sugar-reduction platform used in hazelnut and chocolate spreads.
In 2021, sugar reduction continued to be “a crucial theme for industry as consumers and governments sought out healthier F&B options.” Additionally, the UK was chosen by the World Health Organisation to lead a Sugar and Calorie Reduction Network to lower sugar and calorie intake across Europe.
Innova Market Insights highlighted that a “naturally sweeter approach” is essential for NPD featuring reduced sugar.
By Nicole Kerr
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