Every dieter is all too familiar with the drug-like delerium you experience when you give into your sugar cravings after denying yourself for so long. You’re a pro at this, so you figure one piece of chocolate should do it; just enough to make you feel better, but not enough to set you off track for the day. And, yes, the first bite is heavenly, but suddenly you’re six Hershey’s kisses in and wondering what happened.
The problem with sugar cravings is that they trick you into thinking about a moment’s satisfaction and weighing it more heavily than long-term happiness that comes from achieving things like your weight loss goal or better gut health. But white-knuckling through the sugar cravings certainly can’t be the best way to deal with them, right? If you’ve done more than one diet you know that willpower so seldom works, especially in the moment. That’s where Sweet Defeat claims their product comes in and gets you back on track.
What is Sweet Defeat?
Sweet Defeat is a company that makes plant-based mint lozenges that claim to stop sugar cravings in their tracks — and, yes, it sounds too good to be true. We’ve been taught to be wary about any company that claims fixing your problem is as easy as popping a pill, so I decided to try it out for you.
What I was expecting was a peppermint candy that used a non-nutritive sweetener, like stevia, to keep you occupied after a meal and away from your secret snack drawer. After all, a study published in the journal Appetite suggested peppermint can cut hanger, though that was in reference to sniffing the sweet herb. In fact, study participants who sniffed peppermint every two hours ate 2,800 fewer calories in a week than those who didn’t get a whiff of it. Since most false hunger — like those cravings for sweets you don’t actually need — disappear in a matter of minutes, I assumed a low-calorie peppermint candy would be the perfect distraction.
There is a plant behind the science of Sweet Defeat, but it’s not peppermint. It’s gymnema.
What is gymnema?
Gymnema, or the gymnema sylvestre leaf, is a woody vine that grows in tropical climates of India, Africa and Australia. It’s been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for its medicinal properties and is even called gurmar in Hindi which Sweet Defeat tells us can be translated as “destroyer of sugar.” That’s because, among other health benefits, gymnema blocks your ability to taste sweetness.
And that’s what makes Sweet Defeat so effective.
Each tiny lozenge can take out your taste buds long enough for the cravings to pass. That’s because gymnema produces gymnemic acids, which bind to taste receptors on your tongue. So while, sure, you can reach for that next serving of candy, you really won’t want to.
That’s how they tested Sweet Defeat, in fact. Participants in the double-blind study were allowed to choose their favorite candy — you know, just to make sure the cravings were really bad — and given one serving to enjoy. Afterwards, they were given a lozenge that was either a placebo or laced with those gymnemic acids before being offered a second serving of the candy. After the second serving, study participants were offered another, which neatly summarizes most of our relationships with bags of candy stashed in our desks.
People who were given the lozenge with this plant compound accepted a second serving of candy 31% less often than those who got the placebo, and overall they consumed 44% fewer calories.
My experience with Sweet Defeat
As I mentioned, I was expecting the equivalent to a sugar-free peppermint candy. Please don’t go in with that same assumption. While the tiny white pills do look a little like Altoids when you take them out of their individual packets, the peppermint flavor lasts about 10 to 15 seconds. It’s pleasant, although not that strong.
When you’re through this thin peppermint coating, what you’re left with is a pretty bitter little pill. I don’t think I managed to let any of them actually dissolve on my tongue — although I don’t even make it al the way through a Jolly Rancher without chewing, so take that with a grain of salt. I would withstand the bitter flavor as long as I could — which is a medicinal bitterness, not the bitter flavor in your morning coffee — before chewing up the rest.
But don’t let that scare you off, because they still worked, and they’re still worth it.
Yes, you can eat sweet foods after you take a Sweet Defeat lozenge — but you won’t want to. Although the lozenge itself was enough to kill my sugar cravings, I tried eating something sweet for the sake of science. It was horrible.
With your taste receptors essentially turned off, you’re left with just the texture of whatever you’re eating. I tried eating some fruit (like chewing on styrofoam), munching on some candy (gummies were like trying to eat wax) and taking a swig of a drink sweetened with artificial sweeteners. My taste receptors weren’t tricked by the chemicals. There was no sweetness.
Is Sweet Defeat worth it?
The only reason I didn’t hit subscribe right away was the price. Buying 60 lozenges at a time is the most cost-effective option on the site, but it will still set you back $49.99. Eventually I’ll probably pull the trigger since I’m not saddled with frequent sugar cravings.
You’ll have to decide for yourself, though. I used only one per day, some days of the week. The suggested use is 2 to 3 times a day, which can zap your 60 lozenge stash in less than a month. With growing evidence that diet is the larger part of the weight-loss equation, a subscription to Sweet Defeat could be worth your money. If sugar cravings are the major factor holding you back from your weight loss goals, it might be a better investment than your gym membership each month.