Background. Gymnemic acids, from the plant Gymnema sylvestre (GS), selectively suppress taste responses to sweet compounds without affecting the perception of other taste elements. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of consuming a GS-containing mint on the desire to consume high-sugar sweet foods directly thereafter. Methods. This study utilized a single-blind, crossover design comparing the consumption of a mint (dissolving tablet) containing 4 mg of gymnemic acids with an isocaloric placebo in 56 healthy young men and women. Participants were given samples of their favourite chocolate (varied between 14-18 g; energy varied between 292-370 kJ) and were directed to rate on their hunger on 100-mm visual analogue scales 30 s prior to consuming high-sugar sweet food (chocolate). They then consumed the GS mint or placebo mint and rated their perceived pleasantness and desire for more chocolate on separate visual analogue scales immediately following consumption of the high-sugar sweet food before being offered up to five additional servings (and asked to rate hunger, pleasantness and desire to eat more chocolate between each ingestion period). Results. The number of chocolate bars eaten decreased by 0.48 bars (21.3%) within a 15-min period of consumption of the GS mint (p = 0.006). Desire to eat more of the high-sugar sweet food (p = 0.011) and pleasantness of the high-sugar sweet food (p < 0.001) was reduced after GS mint intake. Those who reported having a 'sweet tooth' had a greater reduction in the pleasantness of chocolate (p = 0.037) and desire to eat more (p = 0.004) after consuming the GS mint for the first serving of a high-sugar sweet food following the mint. Conclusion. Consuming gymnema-containing mints compared to placebo significantly reduced the quantity of chocolate eaten mainly due to a decrease in the desire and pleasantness of consuming it.
Keywords: gymnemic acids; liking; pleasantness; sweet taste; type 1 taste receptor.