Sweet Victory over sugar cravings

An Israeli start-up, Sweet Victory, has created a botanical-infused gum that abates sugar cravings within two minutes by blocking the sugar receptors on the tongue, for the chronic cravers among us. It can last up to two hours, during which sugary foods taste bland or even sour as the tongue is unable to detect the sweetness in the treat. The company claims that the impulse for sugar can be allayed even beyond the end of the physical effects.

Innova Market Insights’ global health and nutrition survey, revealed that, as a population, we are aware of and actively trying to limit our sugar intake. 37% of consumers said they had decreased their sugar intake over the last year, and for good reason too, whilst sugar is known to activate the reward centres of our brain to exacerbate the compulsion, it is also a widely held view that sugar consumption is a contributory factor for a number of ailments, from dental, weight, and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugar to no more than six teaspoons per day (24 grams), and men limit added sugar to no more than nine teaspoons per day (36 grams).

Gihit Lahav, a psychologist who spent almost a decade researching links between nutrition and psychology, and the co-founder of Sweet Victory, said, “Even as awareness of the impact of overindulgent sugar consumption on personal wellbeing 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.”

Both Lahav, and her co-founder, Shimrit Lev, a professional nutritional instructor, have backgrounds in botanicals, leading them to an ancient Indian botanical gymnema, (Gymnema sylvestre), known in India as “gumar,” Hindi for “sugar destroyer,” which is shown to have positive effects on glucose metabolism, inhibiting sugar absorption in the body in addition to its gustatory effects on the tongue. “The atomic arrangement of bioactive gymnemic acid molecules is actually similar to that of glucose molecules,” explained 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.”

In India, gurmur leaves are chewed to elicit the same effect. “We were startled by how quickly this works,” noted Lev. “We sought a more effective, fun, and convenient delivery method for this herb, and so set out to overcome its characteristic bitter flavour.” They experimented with homemade gum at first, adding a few natural sweeteners, courtesy of their nutritional knowhow, perfecting the formula with the help of a leading Israeli confectionery manufacturer. Today, their plant-based gum is manufactured in a facility in Italy approved for providing functional supplements, and is available in both peppermint, and lemon and ginger.

The gum has undergone a successful pilot study at the Obesity Research Center of the Sheba Medical Center in Israel. One of the participants stated, “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!”

“The gum works on both a physical and a psychological level,” added 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 better, healthier habits.” Further clinical trials to determine its effect on blood sugar levels in people with diabetes are in the pipeline.

Sweet Victory is available commercially in Panama, France, and Israel and will shortly make its way to the USA. From there, the start-up hopes to gradually proceed with a global roll-out.

For more information, visit www.sweetvictory-gum.com

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