Sweet Victory is an Israeli start-up making chewing gum. The gum aims, when chewed, to silence sugar cravings in the consumer.
The sugar destroyer
The ingredient used by the gum is called gymnema (Gymnema sylvestre), and is an Indian natural botanical. It is known for is ‘sugar destroying’ properties.
“The "Gymnema Sylvestre" is a plant that originates in India, and is also known as "Gurmar",” Gitit Lahav, co-founder of Sweet Victory, told FoodNavigator.
“In Hindi, the name means "sugar destroyer", which reflects one of the plant's unique virtues. Gymnema Sylvestre has been used in ayurvedic medicine for over two thousand years and is considered a valuable plant due to its properties.
“In ancient medicine, Gymnema Sylvestre has been used to treat a variety of issues. It has been reportedly used for maintaining wellbeing and treating excess weight. This plant also contains active compounds that can help to reduce sugar absorption in the body.”
The plant in the chewing gum works to block the taste receptors for sweetness, as well as slowing the intestinal absorption of sugars.
Customer research company New Sense Research looked into the affect that the gum had on people. Conducting a home usage experiment on 80 people between the ages of 25 to 45, over a period of two weeks, the company tracked weight loss and sugar cravings in its subject. All of them wanted to lose weight but weren’t on a dietary programme.
They were told to chew Sweet Victory gum three times a day, either after meals or whenever they had a sugar craving. They were also told to weigh themselves each day.
The results showed that even after the first day, 53% of people had a reduced sugar craving, going up to 79% by day four. After three days, many felt they had more control over their food choices.
By the end, 87% had lost weight, an average of 1.3kg over the two weeks. Furthermore, 80% ate less sweets, and said that they felt they could control their food choices better.
The researchers also recommended that the gum should, for its full affect, be chewed until it loses its taste.
Ideas to chew over
How does the gum achieve this affect and reduce sugar cravings? “The gum works on two levels – physiological and psychological,” Lahav told us. “Physically, the product has an immediate effect on the body. After chewing the gum, the active ingredients immediately begin to take effect.
“When we eat sugary foods, our taste buds are stimulated, and we experience the sweet taste that we have come to expect and enjoy. However, when chewing our gum, the sweet taste is blocked, which means that we won't experience the same level of satisfaction from sugary foods. The effect will last up to 2 hours.”
As for the psychological aspect, “most people crave something sweet at certain times of the day, for example, immediately after having lunch. Over time, these cravings become automatic and are very hard to change. Chewing the SV gum at those most times may slowly break our bad habits and help us re-build better and healthier habits.”
The gum isn’t comparable to other chewing gums, Lahav told us, because it was made with a purpose beyond satisfying the need to chew something.
“It is a functional gum made from plant-based ingredients, and it is designed to provide a specific benefit to the user,” she said. “Unlike regular gums, our gum is active after it has been chewed for two minutes and then it can be discarded.
“The gum is not comparable to regular chewing gum, as it is formulated to provide a specific function rather than simply to freshen breath or provide a chewing experience. Instead, it is more comparable to products like Nicorette, which is designed to help people quit smoking.”
Sweet Victory’s existing flavours are peppermint, spearmint, bubble-gum and watermelon, but Sweet Victory are currently exploring adding new flavours to the range.