Diet-Burst Gum, a peppermint sugar-free chewing gum entered health stores and tanning salons in the US last October, and a 2-piece pack is planned for convenience stores.
Arco Health developed the formula which is produced under contract by Tab Labs, a Canadian division of Danish firm Gumlink.
Reduces calorie intake
Speaking to ConfectioneryNews.com, Walter Lamb, president of Arco Health, said: “It’s about reducing caloric intake…The key is that people continue to eat what they like. They just feel fuller.”
Lamb said that anyone could lose weight by partaking in a strict course of slimming milkshakes, but people would lose the enjoyment of food.
The active component in the gum is Slendesta, a natural protein Proteinase Inhibitor II (PI2) produced by Kemin Industries.
It is derived from potato skins and helps the body release cholecystokinin (CCK), a natural factor used by the body to signal the brain that food has been eaten.
There have been 11 clinical trials on Slendesta – but the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently said that a cause and effect relationship between the ingredient and weight loss had yet to be established.
Slendesta is used in combination with another active ingredient, African mango. Lamb said it may be this combination that gives the gum its effect.
African mango is also used by US functional chocolate firm Good Cacao for its Weight Loss Mandarin Orange product.
According to Lamb, it will take some time before Diet-Burst Gum enter major retailers.
Development and supplement levels
Acro had looked at many ingredients but found itself unable to incorporate enough of many active ingredients to have the desired effect.
Gum pieces weigh 1.7g, so the company was limited to incorporating 170mg of any active ingredient into each piece (10% of the weight of the gum). For example, Arco tried pinolenic acid but 4,000 mg was needed per dose.
Lamb added that a lot of other ingredients were not backed by clinical human trials, where as Slendesta had 11.
Each piece of Diet-Burst Gum contains 38 mg of Slendesta and 75 mg of African mango and has 2.5 calories, which is similar to regular sugar-free gum.
Lamb said that it took four pieces of the gum to get full doses of the active ingredients. He said that chewing for around 10 minutes would release 95% of supplements from the gum.
The EU and export markets
Arco is currently preparing a bilingual English/French label for the Canadian market and has an interested exporter for Brazil. Lamb said the company would rely on exporters for international markets.
“We’ve had several people looking at Europe,” he said, but added that it was too early at this stage.
If the product does enter Europe, it will be manufactured by Gumlink in Denmark, said Lamb.
Slendesta has EU novel foods approval, but no application has been filed for African Mango in the EU to date. Lamb said that Arco would consider different active ingredients, if regulations prevented Slendesta or African mango from sale or claim-making.
Asked if the active ingredients harmed the flavour of the gum, he said: “It is very difficult. The first product we made tasted terrible.” But he said the finished gum was very soft and on-par on with sugar-free gums on the market.
Lamb said peppermint was the only flavour that worked well but was confident Arco could develop spearmint and fruity varieties in future.