Dieting with the Sugar Destroyer

Posted on March 13th, 2020 by

Written by Amelia Bjorklund, Alma Jorgenson, Kelly Heffley, and Ginger Valentine

Before coming to college, we all feared the ‘freshman fifteen,’ and would be lying if we didn’t admit to this. At Gustavus, we have such easy access to all you can eat sweets, from the soft serve ice cream in the cafeteria to the sugar and milk drinks that we like to call ‘lattes’ in the Courtyard Cafe. Giving into sugar cravings may or may not have left us all with jeans that are just a little too tight… Luckily, we may have found a treatment for our utter lack of self-control, a supplement called Gymnema Sylvestre. It can be taken orally or in a pill form, and eradicates sugary sweet flavors in your mouth, hence the more common name, “sugar destroyer.” Need to binge on sugary love after your boyfriend breaks up with you? Sorry, the ice cream melts away, tasting like nothing more than frozen water, adding to the liquid water already on your cheeks. Without the hankering to binge on ice cream in an emotional crisis, we all stand a chance against the ever-persistent freshman fifteen. 

If you would like to experience the strange effects of Gymnema Sylvestre on your own, you can buy the liquid extract from Amazon for around $13. Once you have acquired the extract, gather an assortment of foods that have some sweetness to them. We would recommend desserts like ice cream and chocolate, as well as fruits that have natural sugars. Artificial sweeteners also produce an interesting result. Once you have gathered your supplies, pick a time to do this experiment. Make sure that you do not have plans to eat a lovely meal within 30 minutes to an hour of using the Gymnema tincture, because the lingering effects could ruin the taste of the food. Place one to two drops of the liquid on your tongue, and swirl it around so that it coats the surface of your tongue. It tastes horrible, but you must hold it on your tongue for long enough to get an even layer on your tongue. If you don’t have the strength for this, you may want to go the route of taking a quick and easy pill. Once you have done this, go ahead and taste the foods that you have gathered. We would recommend tasting them all before you ingest the Gymnema so that you can compare how it tastes before and after.

This phenomenon is made possible because of a compound that is derived from leaves of the Gymnema Sylvestre plant. The plant is often used in traditional medicine, most notably to control blood sugar and to curb the appeal for sweets when dieting. In one sense, Gymnema sylvestre physically blocks receptors in the intestine which lowers blood sugar levels. This means that gymnema shouldn’t be taken at the same time as blood-sugar-lowering medications. It has reported health benefits in lab animals, like the improvement of blood sugar and insulin levels because the gymnema sylvestre has a similar structure to sugar molecules (Kanetkar, 2007). This occurrence forces the sugar molecules to pass through the body, preventing all the health-related problems that sugar facilitates as it flows through your body (Komalavalli, 2000). On the other hand, Gymnema Sylvestre is able to block sweet flavors. The component that blocks sugary flavors on your tongue is a component called “saponin,” and works by dissolving oily substances (Yazdi, 2020). Without the sugary relief that intense cravings may call for, there is no appeal in eating mass amounts of unhealthy foods. A popular food that was greatly impacted from the sugar destroyer was milk chocolate. The otherwise sweet-tasting treat turned tasteless, and it had a chalky texture that overpowered any other flavor. This flavor and texture is not something that we would ever binge on.

Unfortunately, there are no clinical data to show that the sugar destroyer works as well, health-wise, on humans as it does on lab animals, if at all. While on the surface the sugar destroyer sounds pretty great, we wouldn’t waste your money on Gymnema-based supplements for weight loss. Personally, we love our M & M’s and life isn’t nearly as fun if you cannot taste the sweet shell dissolving on your tongue, before enveloping it in creamy and rich chocolate goodness. Sometimes chocolate love is the only kind of love that a girl needs.

 

References

Kanetkar, P., Singhal, R., & Kamat, M. (2007). Gymnema sylvestre: A Memoir. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 41(2), 77–81. 

Komalavalli, N., Rao, M.V. In vitro micropropagation of Gymnema sylvestre – A multipurpose medicinal plant. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture 61, 97 (2000). 

Saneja, A., Sharma, C., Aneja, & Pahwa, R. (2010). Gymnema Sylvestre: A Review

Yazdi, P. (2020, January 6). Gymnema Sylvestre Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects. Retrieved from https://selfhacked.com/blog/gymnema-sylvestre/ 

 

 

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