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Title:
COMPOSITIONS AND METHODS FOR THE TREATMENT OF SUGAR ADDICTION
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/205300
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A chewing gum for reducing physical and psychological addiction to sugar is disclosed herein. The chewing gum preferably includes an amount of sugar and an amount of sugar substitute capable of satisfying sugar cravings while allowing a subject to reduce dependence on sugary substances. A food or beverage container and methods for reducing addiction to sugar are disclosed. The food or beverage container includes a dispensing mechanism that allows a consumer to select an amount of sweetener or flavoring to be dispensed into a beverage. The amount of sweetener or flavoring may be gradually reduced. Additionally, a fruit product and methods for reducing addiction to sugar are disclosed.

Inventors:
KANZER, Steve (8878 VALHALLA DRIVE, DELRAY BEACH, Florida, 33446, US)
Application Number:
US2017/033866
Publication Date:
November 30, 2017
Filing Date:
May 22, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KANZER, Steve (8878 VALHALLA DRIVE, DELRAY BEACH, Florida, 33446, US)
International Classes:
A23G4/06; A23G3/36; A23L33/00
Foreign References:
US20080260899A12008-10-23
US20100310751A12010-12-09
US20150201642A12015-07-23
US20100068339A12010-03-18
US5480657A1996-01-02
Other References:
YANG: "Gain weight by 'going diet' Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings", YALE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, vol. 83, no. Issue 2, June 2010 (2010-06-01), pages 101 - 108, XP055448884
GARDNER ET AL.: "Nonnutritive Sweeteners: Current Use and Health Perspectives", THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION AND THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION- CIRCULATION, vol. 126, no. Issue 4, 24 July 2012 (2012-07-24), pages 509 - 519
SWITHERS: "Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements", TRENDS IN ENDOCRINOLOGY & METABOLISM, vol. 24, no. Issue 9, September 2013 (2013-09-01), pages 431 - 441, XP055448887
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SOLOWAY, Norman P. et al. (HAYES SOLOWAY P.C, 4640 E. SKYLINE DRIVETUCSON, Arizona, 85718, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A system for reducing an addiction to sugar, comprising

at least first and second chewing sum packets having decreasing amounts of sugar and increasing amounts of sugar substitute; and

a plan for consuming said chewing gum packets with decreasing amounts of sugar, over time.

2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the sugar is made with one or more compounds selected from the group consisting of sucrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, of aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, sorbitol, maltitol, and xylitol.

3. A method for reducing an urge to consume products containing sugar, comprising administering, over time and in sequence:

a) a first chewing gum packet having a first amount of sugar, and a first amount of sugar substitute;

b) a second chewing gum packet having a second reduced amount of sugar, and a second increased amount of sugar substitute; and

c) optionally further comprising repeating steps (a) and (b) over an extended time period, using chewing gum containing gradually lower sugar amounts.

4. A conditioning system for obtaining a reduction of the urge to consume products containing sugar, comprising

first and second chewing gum packets as claimed in claim 1 or claim 2;

an effective amount of sugar substitute to satisfy a subject's psychological craving; and

a device for providing audio and/or pictorial, images for enhancing or reducing sugar cravings.

5. The conditioning system of claim 4, wherein the device provides positive conditioning, or negative conditioning, and optionally, wherein the device is a virtual reality headset.

6. A. method for losing excess body fat comprising:

eating and drinking food and beverages according to an eating plan, and chewing first and second chewing gum packets as claimed in claim 1, with reducing amounts of sugar, when cravings for sugary substances arise.

7. The method for losing excess body fat f claim 6, further comprising the step of using a device for providing audio and/or pictorial images of enhancing or reducing sugar cravings.

8. A gum that contains a sugar substitute and a fructose-containing sweetener, and wherein there preferably is a set rat io of fructose to the artificial sweetener indicated on the package.

9. A kit comprising multiple consumable units of fructose-containing

consumables together with sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners.

10. A device for reducing the urge to consume sugar, comprising:

a food or beverage container;

a dispensing mechanism including a store of a sweetener or flavoring;

and a selection indicator adapted to allow a selected amount of said sweetener or flavoring to be released from the store into the food or beverage container.

11. The devi ce of claim 10, characterized by one or more of the following features:

(a) wherein the food or beverage container is a can;

(b) wherein the selection indicator includes a dial;

(c) wherein the dispenser is adapted to permit a user to adjust release of a ratio of two or more sweeteners or flavorings;

(d) wherein the dispenser is adapted to permit a user to select from a plurality of sweeteners or flavorings; and

(e) wherein the food or beverage container is a bottle having a cap, and wherein the dispensing mechani sm preferably is disposed on a cap of the bottle, and/or wherein the cap and the dispensing mechanism are child- resistant.

12. A method for reducing a consumer's desire for sweetened foods and beverages, providing a container having a dispensing mechanism as claimed in claim 10, and adding reducing amounts of sugar to the food or beverage, over time, to condition the consumer's perception of sweetness.

13. A fruit product prepared to resemble a food stuff having a higher sugar content than the fruit.

14. The fruit product of claim 13, wherein the resemblance is at least one of:

visual, olfactory, and gustatory, and optionally further comprising an amount of at least one of: sugar, sugar substitute, sugar alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.

1 5. A method of reducing a consumer's desire for products containing sugar, comprising providing a fruit product as claimed in claim 13, with reducing amounts of sugar, over time, to reduce the consumer's perception of sweetness.

Description:
COMPOSITIONS AND METHODS FOR THE TREATMENT OF

SUGAR ADDICTION

Compositions and methods are provided by which individuals may overcome addiction to sugar and other substances utilizing combinations of pharmacologic, actual and simulated sensory stimulation means. The invention provides a system, i.e.. compositions and methods by which individuals seeking to overcome sugar addiction can achieve their goals with far less symptoms of sugar withdrawal and cravings as well as resulting in a higher percentage of persons ultimately successful in achieving and maintaining a sugar free lifestyle. The invention is useful for the treatment of modern epidemics including obesity, diabetes and mental disorders, including, depression, low self-esteem, bipolar disorder, manic depression, binge eating disorder as well as other eating disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, general lethargic inability to concentrate and potentially Alzheimer's disease. The invention may also have utility in treating other addictive behaviors including addiction to betel nut, alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs of abuse. In a preferred embodiment, the invention relates generally to a system, i.e., method and product for reducing sugar cravings and for aiding weight loss. The invention has particular utility in connection with a chewing gum system capable of delivering sugar combined with one or more sugar substitutes to a subject for sugar craving reduction and also will be described in connection with such utility, although other utilities arc contemplated.

Sugar is consumed in many forms. Many of the foods we cat contain natural sugars, such as sucrose and fructose, while some foods contain added sugars. Sugary beverages, such as sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks, are common during meals and snack times. Table sugar, or sucrose, comprises a molecule containing glucose and fructose. Fructose, either as a component of sucrose or in its other forms commonly added to foods and beverages, such as high fructose corn syrup or fruit juice concentrate, is believed to provide the highest addiction potential among sugars, as well as the damaging health affects at the heart of our modern epidemics. Unless otherwise noted, the phrase "sugar" as used herein shall refer in general to sucrose and in particular fructose.

Consumption of high amounts of sugar can lead to weight gain, excessive amounts of body fat, and health complications associated with obesity. Additionally, sugar consumption can lead to dependency that hampers efforts to observe proper dietary guidelines. Sugar dependency is a physical and psychological addiction that stems from both the pleasurable taste of food and increased dopamine production following heightened blood sugar levels. The addi ction/ reward system generally involves three phases, each of which is results in a neurotransmitter release. The first phase, eye cue, begins when a sugary substance such as a dessert is seen. Following that is the second phase, smell and taste, when the substance is ingested by the body. Finally, the third phase, availability to the brain, is when the substance is made available to the brain by way of absorption into the bloodstream.

Many who attempt to overcome their addiction to sugar consumption find it difficult to achieve success over any long-term period. Current efforts to curb the consumption of sugar rely on the implementation of eating plans, surgical procedures, weight-loss pharmaceuticals, or food therapy. Eating plans require willpower to follow, and often dieters are tempted away over time.

Weight loss drugs do not counteract the physiological effects of sugar addiction. And food therapy is costly and requires significant dedication to be effective over time.

Thus, there remains a need for a product which can assist a subject in reducing sugar intake while providing a means to overcome the physical and psychological aspects of sugar dependency.

The present invention provides additional devices, systems, and methods which allow people to wean themselves of their sugar dependency in a manner that is, consistent, less onerous and debilitating and therefore more attractive.

The state of the art of treatment plans for persons seeking to reduce their daily consumption of sugar is only recently and controversially to treat sugar consumption as an addiction. Based on this approach, the standard of care is to advocate and/or describe the immediate and complete elimination of fructose consumption on a "cold turkey" basis. See for example, the books; Sugar Addiction, 13 Steps Action Plan, Forest R. (2015), The Sugar Addict's Total Recovery Program, DesMaisons, K (2000), Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies, DeFigio, D. (2013), Sugar Detox for Beginners, Crawford, G. (2014), The Sugar Detox, Alpert, B, Farris, P. (2013), Sugar Less, Matthews, I. (2015), That Sugar Book (Gameau, D. (2015), Sugar Blues, Duffy. W. (1975) and Year of No Sugar, Sehaub, E. (2014). There are many issues and inadequacies with the standard of care as described, including, the serious sugar withdrawal process that involves both physical and mental effects, including, extreme cravings, lethargy, low blood sugar levels and atypically low dopamine levels as the brain no longer receives the levels of sugar to which it has become accustomed.

These issues make it difficult for persons to ever defeat their sugar addiction nor even begin. The typical person may find only those rare days if ever when they would make the decision that today is the day that they will never consume fructose again for the rest of their lives having knowledge that "today " and the following 10-14 days will involve considerable suffering and hardship and it is very easy to push off that decision another day and another day especially when a person doesn't feel that there is any urgency.

The invention takes a different approach and provides a standardized system by process by which a person can be weaned from sugar addiction utilizing some fairly advanced technology that we currently have and that is a combination of several things. The first is the availability of various sugar alternatives, sugar alcohols, for example, in particular, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, all of which provide a very, very high sweet sensation to mimic actual sugar, and they also have low calories due to either their calorie content or just simply their absorption or lack thereof, is just simple fiber, so there are a number of different alternatives to sugar and when we talk about sugar we are really talking about the glucose but also importantly fmctose, the sugary component of sugar, which is also utilized in various forms in high calorie, high glycemic index drinks, and so forth, and so in either case herein when we talk about sugar, we mean sugar as in normal table sugar, sucrose, comprising a glucose molecule and a fructose molecule, or fructose, or any other similar sugar which might provide high glycemic index, and that of course is relative to everything, but maybe start with the high glycemic indexes first and then move down from there, or take them all at once, so the question is how to go about this, and everyone has really proffered nothing but recipes and offering people alternative recipes to their "going cold turkey" decision and these books are just cumbersome to read, and who has the time to read one of these books, and at the end of the day, it is telling one to basically just quit cold turkey, and odds are that a person is just going to not make that choice on any given day and, instead put it off another day and another day.

So, starting this plan is easy. This plan is made for the whole process to be very easy and gradual and have very little impact on the user's caloric intake and withdrawal. Hopefully it should lead to zero withdrawal symptoms, in the ideal sense. So let's talk about the first plan, which really involves gum. So really the idea is to first identify the levels of fructose that someone is consuming, and looking at it as an addiction to fructose. So the beginning of the invention is to first guesstimate the amount of sugar or carbohydrate intake a person is currently reliant on each day and then preferably match a level that the persons are at that they can start from that matches their daily caloric intake of sugars from other means such as soda or whatever their sugar of choice is. So once they start on the plan, the gum contains 100% sugar, so it provides a full sugar experience comparable to the item, and those items preferably take the various forms in which we take in sugar which is, sugary beverages, so there is actually a beverage to go along with the gum, which is actually a step-down sugar soda for different flavors and then, in addition to that, the gum provides the sensation of chewing, and our overall plan is to trick the person into thinking they are getting the sugar experience that they are used to, but instead they are not, so they barely notice the changes that are taking place as we slowly bring their glucose and fructose dependency lower and lower, so the gum will be 100% sugar and, if a person goes through that course, it will provide 100% of what they would normally take in, and that can take various forms. And desserts are very good, especially for sugar, so we have various flavors of various desserts that people like, and this is virtually creating the feeling that this person is actually manifesting their eating in a virtual capacity and so, of the five senses that we have (touch, taste, smell, sight), we are going to try to utilize all of those. So the gum provides both taste and smell and can be sort of associated with a sort of aromatherapy that will smell like the thing they are eating to further enhance the experience, and that can be made by distilling oils from various foodstuffs and so forth, or sugars, and so we are going to first transfer the person's sugar dependence, of whatever product it is, onto the gum.

So they should be getting 100% of their regular sugar caloric intake now from the gum, so there shouldn ' t be any sense of sugar withdrawal and then now, over time, and as labeled on the packages, the gum is going to be a step down in terms of the amount of fructose and. at the same time, compensated for by other sugar alternatives, such as sugar alcohols, which provide little caloric intake, so the gum still tastes the same, the sugar does not fall off dramatically, and hopefully the person barely notices, and then hopefully after a period of say 14 days, maybe longer, given that it is a taper, and depending on how quickly the person wants the taper, then what happens is that persons are now sugar free and they will just eventually lose the desire for sugar and the reason for this, is that once the body is no longer receiving downstream high glucose levels to which it has become accustomed and likes, one that starts to happen and these experiences happen with eating the gum and it doesn't result in that, then the body will alter the desire for things to compensate, so after a person has not eaten sugar and has been off of sugar (fructose) for a long period of time, then the smell of a glazed donut, or the smell of a Cinnabon®, no longer has appeal. So what happens is that things don't taste as sweet, and a person need them to taste as sweet when he or she puts them in his or her mouth because he or she is not craving them as much, so that dims down, and then he or she is also just even the eye cues of seeing these things really are no longer attractive. So when we see the visual images f the product and all its various forms that we are forced to see every day, it doesn't really have the appeal and strong urgency. In fact, one might even be repulsed by it. So that is how the therapy works and it is very effective, and gum, by virtue of its taste, and there is a virtual reality component to this as well which allows persons to select from which, so at the end of the day they are off their sugar and the eye cues so it is that sugar addiction of t he brain that drives the train and once that goes away, the person's excitement over seeing the cue, or tasting or smelling it, no longer has very strong impact on those receptors are toned down. So that is how it is taken care of.

One issue is that people might want to taper at various paces, and they will want to know what level they are at, and there is not reason that we shouldn't tell them what level they are at. So there might be a grading system in which, for example, the color red is the highest sugar containing substance, yellow is

intermediate high and green is below (zero), maybe double green is below that, and that can affect the ratio, and a table might tell what is the perceived sweetness of this thing, because after a while one doesn't want to taste things with even a perceived sweetness, high sweetness, because there is no point and the person shouldn't have a desire for it and he or she should just avoid it, if possible. So there is perceived sweetness, there is the actual sugar content, the amount of sugar in there, in terms of being high, medium or low as part of a person's required intake, where there is really no required intake for added sugar, but there is other, so if somebody gets an entire package and they are on a certain number of calorics per day, we can figure out the number of calories per day and then taper them on that slope, or they can say that they would like to go with one pace. Some people may want to taper over 10 days, a month, 2 days or 3 days. So we can provide labeling on that which would be similar to what one sees on the ski slopes, where a green circle is a slow taper (easy), slow scale, the blue square is intermediate (a steeper drop) and then diamond (steep drop) and then double diamond, which is very, very steep, and then those will indicate the level and rate at which they wish to start.

So one of the issues that arises is that the user may have all these gums and a person may not want to eat an entire pack. They may eat a certain amount, but maybe it is not what they want, so one option is to use blister packs. One nice thing about blister packs is that it has the ability to individually label each of the items, so there is a big individual picture of the whole thing which might allow for interaction, it might have an FC tag on each one, or an RHD tag that people might have on their cells phones. As the package gets broken out and the drug or the gum is taken, out, then it breaks a circuit and the blister pack is also a circuit board, so it knows when and where things have been broken out. So that information goes to a central processor that is on the blister itself, which can be just a small, simple, computer date stamping the times in which each of the blisters has been broken... a time and date stamp. The blister pack could then be inserted into a Bluetooth communicator, or gets swiped, or maybe it is embedded with a chip, and then the chip gets read, or it emits a Bluetooth signal to a cell phone app and the app is recording and updating the amount and type of sugar that the person is taking. Then individual blister packs can be made for people that is warranted and maybe they like a certain flavor. One problem is there are so many different flavors and different desserts that someone can be addicted to, and there is also the number of levels of sugar for each one of those to be manufactured, the relative sugars are not easy, and then the final one is that one doesn't know how much this person wants. It could be a small or large quantity that the person is consuming, so one gives them a bottle or one gives them a stick, knowing how much quantity to give. So another invention is to make this sugary gum at home using, e.g., a simple machine that gets a sugar mix and a flavor and then drops it into the gum-making machine, which takes regular guar gum and then mixes the flavors into it and then it is for chewing, and this can be programmed from somebody's cell phone and the person would just get various cartridges to make their own gum. So the consumer make his or her own gum, and this would allow us to cover multiple people in the family, and this would allow each person to the machine would know each person and where they are on the plan, and then the app would track what their intake has been, and then ultimately we take down the sweetness altogether. So first we taper the sugar and then we taper the xylitol or sucralose. So this machine could have a special unit of gum such as an absorbant that can be put into the machine, or the machine may inject the flavoring into the core of the gum as a liquid, and then as soon as the user chews the gum, the flavor bursts out and mixes in their mouth and then maybe they can control the amount that comes out. This also allows users the flexibility to change the parameters of their sugar weaning process to suit change things to their own needs. Ingredients and parameters may be altered and different flavors can be added to the device, and each cartridge would make a certain number of pieces of gum, so it would make a number of servings and those could be either frozen, or put into a bottle, and there would be some preservatives involved.

In another embodiment, to include all of the artificial sweeteners, including sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, aspartame, saccharin, etc., in each embodiment.

A preferred embodiment in which the perceived thing is accomplished with augmented or virtual reality. In virtual reality, whatever the gum is that one is tasting, whether it is a strawberry pie or other thing, visualizes one eating a strawberry pie with the virtual reality goggles as one chews the gum. giving one almost the experience of doing it and then, even further, the unit can include a plate and placing a 3D object on it, and the table in the background can be changed to just about anywhere, and one can choose the place that one wants to go to enjoy strawberry pie or other thing to make it particularly enjoyable. In yet another embodiment the food is in a 3D object form by, for example, using an MRI to MR I a piece of cake and filling in what type of consistency or substance that particular material would have and then, given its texture, then the person can, in virtual reality, be using their hands to cut the cake and the cake will fall and can go into their mouth in the same way and, as such, is further augmented. So an idea is to use augmented reality for sitting and eating, so the user may put on goggles, and the goggles display the food and what i going on in front of the user, so say the user are eating on a. green screen and at the same time the user is using his or her cell phone camera. So there can be a camera on the end of the VR goggles specifically for augmented reality, with some type of lenses there, one would want to have two eyes and sit back a little bit. So it is a VR concept. Now the user is eating the food that they are really eating, and one is changing the background of where they arc eating it at by virtue of a green screen and the table is the same scene over and over again, and then the image of the food is presented directly on the screen in front of the user.

A further embodiment is a plate that comprises a Bluetooth scale so that when the user eats something the scale will allow the app to figure out what the user is eating and how much one is eating. Another embodiment is that maybe there arc foodstuffs that is not exactly what the person eats, but it just looks and tastes similar, and then another embodiment is bringing the location to one while one eats.

In another and preferred embodiment, intolerance to various sugar substitutes, such as sugar alcohols, is taken into account. Many persons suffer from gas, bloating and diarrhea after consuming sugar alcohols. This is likely due to their low absorption from the small intestine compared to fructose and hence high

bioavailability to microorganisms that line the large bowel and in some cases the small bowel as in the case of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SLBO) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It is believed that certain bacteria, such as those that convert lactulose generating hydrogen may also be capable of converting sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. A hydrogen breath test at multiple time points such as utilized in the lactulose breath test may be administered to persons to determine their personal tolerability and/or presence of SIBO. A course of antibiotics, such as the intestinal specific antibiotic, rifaxamin, may be administered in advance or together with the sugar-weaning - sugar alcohol program to reduce or eliminate such bacteria and improve tolerance.

In still a further embodiment it is recognized that once weaned off of sugar, it will be beneficial to also reduce the intake of foods and beverages having a perceived taste of high sweetness, altogether. To assist in this second step, levels of perceived sweetness are lowered as well over time. To assist consumers in choosing the product and level that might be appropriate for them at that time, a (able may be employed on the packaging or even on the foodstuff, itself, such as a stick of gum. An example of such a table is depicted as Figure 1, in which a table system is employed for four parameters in this example.

The present invention also is directed to system which can be used alone or in combination with diet, exercise, and other weight loss strategies to reduce sugar cravings in a subject. More particularly, a chewing gum system in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention includes a series of chewing gum packets including a core, an amount of sugar, and an amount of sugar substitute. The chewing gum core is similar to chewing gum known in the art. However, in accordance with the present invention, the chewing gum system contains a tapering amount of sugar along with an increasing amount of sugar substitute for consumption by a subject. The combination of sugar and sugar substitute is capable of satisfying a subject's physical and psychological craving for sugary substances. Additionally, the gum is manufactured to have a satisfying taste, aroma, chewability, and mouthfeel, so as to satiate the other sensory elements that accompany the consumption f sweet substances.

In one embodiment, a chewing gum system in which the gum contains gradually reduced amounts of sugar is described. Subjects utilizing the chewing gum system may chew gums having a reducing level of sugar, while still satisfying sugar cravings.

In another embodiment, the chewing gum systems comprise two or more types of sugars, such as glucose, sucrose, fructose, or lactose. In such embodiment, as the level of one type of sugar decreases, while the levels of the others may increase to compensate for taste, sweetness, aroma, chewability, and mouthfeel. In yet another embodiment, a method for reducing the urge to consume products containing sugar is described. Subjects utilizing the method may begin by chewing gum with a sugar level corresponding to the intensity, frequency, or nature of their sugar cravings. Over time, subjects may chew gum with sugar levels which are gradually reduced while levels of sugar substitutes are gradually increased, in order to lessen the effects of their cravings in a manageable way. Subjects may repeat this over several iterations, chewing gum with lower and lower sugar levels and higher levels of sugar substitutes, until their sugar cravings are sufficiently reduced. In one embodiment, subjects may repeat the iterations using gum with decreasing levels of one kind of sugar, but increasing or maintained levels of another kind of sugar or sugar substitute.

In still yet another embodiment, a conditioning system for reducing the urge to consume products containing sugar is described. The system comprises chewing gum containing an amount of sugar and an amount of sugar substitute for consumption by the subject, as well as a device for providing audio and/or pictoral images including, video, or both to the subject. The audio and/or pictoral images may provide positive or negative conditioning to the subject. For example, positive conditioning signals may comprise pictures, and/or video of sugary foods and pleasant music associated therewith, to help the subject imagine he or she is actually experiencing the foods. Or, positive conditioning may comprise uplifting themes, messages, images, and music, to enable the subject to make emotionally positive connections to chewing the gum even as the amount of sugar is reduced. Negative conditioning may comprise, for example, picture or video which makes the subject uncomfortable, or audio associated therewith, so as to condition him or her to make emotionally negative connections to the desire to consume sugary substances. The device may be any type of photo, audio or video device generally known in the art. Examples include, but are not limited to a computer, smartphone. tablet, television, radio, digital media player, or virtual or augmented reality device.

In yet another embodiment, a method for losin excess body fat is described. Subjects utilizing the method will consume food and beverages according to an eating plan. By way of example, common eating plans include the USDA Dietary

Guidelines and commercial weight loss plans by Weight Watchers®, Jenny Craig®, and the like. When subjects exhibit signs and symptoms of sugar cravings, they may chew one or more pieces of gum in accordance with the intensity, length, or severity of their cravings. Alternatively, subjects may chew gum according to pre-defined sugar intake levels.

The present invention is also directed to an embodiment which works with food or beverage containers to control the amount of sugar or sweetener ingested. More particularly, a food or beverage container includes a chamber for holding supply of a sweetener or flavoring, and a dispensing mechanism for adding a selected amount of sweetener or flavoring to the food or beverage. Hereinafter, the term "sweetener or flavoring" may also be used interchangeably with the term "substance" to refer to the sweetener or flavoring within the cartridge. The container may be any shape or form factor generally used to transport and hold food or beverages, including cans, bottles, cartons, travel mugs, and the like. The food or beverage container may contain any type of beverage, including water, tea, soda, coffee, milk, juice, and the like.

The dispensing mechanism includes a selection mechanism that allows a consumer to select an amount of sweetener or flavoring to be released into the container. In a preferred embodiment, the selection mechanism is a dial. Other mechanisms are also contemplated within the scope of this disclosure, including buttons, sliders, switches, and the like. In the dial embodiment, the dial is affixed to the outside of the beverage container on any part of the container. When the container is a can, the dial may be affixed to the side of the can. near the top. Alternatively, the dial may be affixed to the top of the can. When the container is a bottle, the dial may be affixed to cither the side of the bottle or the cap. In one embodiment, the selection mechanism is part of a child-resistant or child-proof cap to prevent young chi ldren from easily using the selection mechanism or opening the cap.

The dispensing mechanism also includes a selection indicator that indicates to a consumer what amount of sweetener or flavoring is to be released into the beverage container. Several forms of selection indicator are contemplated, including a numerical scale, text notation, volume indicator, sweetness level indicator, and daily sugar intake indicator. A numerical scale may provide a range of numbers, such as 0- 10 or 1-5, to indicate the amount of substance being dispensed. Te t notation may indicate the presence of a flavoring or sweetener by use of word labels, such as "Stevia" or "Glucose." A volume indicator may display the volume of sweetener to be released in appropriate units, such as teaspoons (tsp.) or milligrams (mg). A sweetness level indicator may indicate how sweet the beverage will become upon absorption of the substance. And a daily sugar intake indicator may allow a consumer to track their daily sugar intake and add an amount of the substance according to a desired level. The selection indicator is preferably near to the selection mechanism to facilitate selection choice by the user. When the selection mechanism is a dial, the selection indicator is preferably positioned in a circle or portion of a circle around the dial. When the dial is on a bottle cap, the selection indicator may be a stationary portion of the cap around which the dial turns. Conversely, the selection indicator may be a movable portion of the cap which turns around the dial.

In one embodiment, the selection indicator may indicate a ratio of two or more sweeteners and/or flavorings. For example, a dispensing device according to the present invention may contain an amount of sucrose and an amount of stevia. The selection indicator may allow a consumer to select ratios of both sweeteners they desire to dispense into the beverage. For example, a consumer may select 100% sucrose and 0% stevia, or 50% sucrose and 50% stevia, or any like combination. This selection may be based on preference for taste, targets for sugar or calorie

consumption, or as part of a program to taper sugar usage.

in another embodiment, the selection indicator may allow a consumer to select from a plurality of sweeteners and/or flavorings. For example, a device according to the present invention may contain 2 types of sweetener and 2 types of flavoring. A consumer may manipulate the selection mechanism to select an amount of one of the sweeteners or flavorings, or to select multiple sweeteners or flavorings. The substances may be released into the beverage individually or at the same time.

A consumer may use the selection mechanism and selection indicator to make a selection by aligning the selection mechanism with the desired indication. In the dial embodiment, a consumer may turn the dial until it aligns with the desired amount or type of substance to be released. Selection may further require engaging the mechanism, for example, by pushing on the dial, in order to release the substance into the beverage. Within the dispensing mechanism is a cartridge or the like for containing a supply of sweetener or flavoring. The cartridge may take any shape and size that is useful for containing and dispensing the sweetener or flavoring within the beverage container. In a preferred embodiment, the cartridge will be small and of simple design. This will reduce manufacturing costs and maximize the amount of a beverage the container will be able to hold. The cartridge may be attached to the dispensing mechanism through the side or top of the beverage container. For example, when the beverage container is a can, the can may be manufactured such that the cartridge connects to the dispensing mechanism through one or more holes in the side of the can. When the beverage container is a bottle, the bottle or the cap may be cast around the cartridge. When the beverage container is disposable, the cartridge may be designed for single-use with the volume of the container. When the beverage container is reusable, such as a plastic bottle or travel mug, the cartridge may be designed for multiple uses. In this embodiment, the cartridge may be removed and replaced, or removed and reloaded. I the bottle embodiment, the cartridge may be attached to the cap. The cartridge may be removable by twisting or snapping mechanisms. In another embodiment, the cartridge may be part of a drinking straw included with the beverage container.

The cartridge may be made from any materials suitable for prolonged contact with beverages, including glass, aluminum, and plastic polymers. The mechanism by which the substance is released into the beverage may be any suitable mechanism, including magnetic compartments, springs, sliding compartments, and the like. In one embodiment, the cartridge comprises an outer shell with a spiral opening along the length of the shell. An inner shell blocks the opening when the selection mechanism is not activated. Upon activation, the inner shell slides away to reveal chambers within the cartridge containing an amount of sweetener or flavoring. Depending on the amount selected, the inner shell may open some or all of the spirally configured opening, with stacked compartments becoming exposed to the beverage allowing the sweetener or flavoring to release into the beverage.

In a preferred embodiment, the beverage is a nutritional drink providing protein and other nutrients in addition to sweetener to provide caloric and nutritional intake from ingredients other than sugar. A method of controlling diabetes and obesity via such product concept is envisioned. Optionally, sweetener consumed may be measured and recorded as part of a diabetes and weight loss plan.

hi a further preferred embodiment the dial comprises a magnetic component which is in magnetic communication with an a ferrous or magnetic metal inside the beverage container thereby eliminating or reducing the need for a physical puncture of the beverage container for the dial.

In a. further preferred embodiment, the dial and cartridge may contain a syringe and stopper mechanism to deploy the sweetener or flavoring.

In a further preferred embodiment, more than one dial is provided and may control release of other additives, such as caffeine and taurine, for example. Such a container might be useful for sweetening or flavoring caffeinated beverages such as coffees, colas, energy drinks and tea drinks.

In a preferred embodiment, the beverage container and cartridge system may be electronically controlled and recorded with battery power provided in the can or preferentially external to the can. such through power derived from a smart phone battery interface. The beverage container may have a wireless capability such as Bluetooth to make it easy to record sugar intake, especially for parental oversight which may integrate and app to track consumption sugar history and graphical information for the consumer or parental guardian

An amount of sweetener or flavoring substance is housed within the cartridge. The sweetener aspect may comprise sugars, sugar substitutes, sugar alcohols, or artificial sweeteners as described above. The flavoring aspect may comprise extracts, syrups, oils, or other compounds for adding flavor to a beverage. The sweeteners or flavorings may be formed as liquids, dry powders, dissolvable substrates, capsules, and the like. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the substance is formed into units of dissolvable tablets which fit neatly within the several chambers of the cartridge. In a reusable embodiment, the units may be replaced after they are used, for example, on a daily basis.

Additionally, the invention is not limited to sweeteners or flavorings. Other substances may be stored and released into beverages including caffeine, vitamins, medicine, and the like. The invention may be used in combination with these substances to decrease dependence on them. Alternatively, the invention may be used in combination with these substances to form desired habits by slowly increasing consumption.

In one embodiment of the device, the dispensing mechanism and selection indicator may comprise electronic means. The cartridge may comprise a wireless communication component such as Wi-Fi©, Bluetooth®, or Near Field

Communication, which may be in communication with a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, computer, or other device. A consumer may select a desired amount of sweetener or flavoring by way of an app using the smartphone or other device, and the wireless communication component may release the substance upon command from the app. This may give allow additional features, such as tracking of beverage consumption or timed delayed release. The wireless communication component may require a battery to provide power to the component.

Further features and advantages of the present invention will be seen from the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein

FIG. 1 illustrates a sugar taper table in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 illustrates a consumer adjustable flavor treatment beverage container in accordance with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 shows an alternative adjustable container in accordance with the present invention:

FIG. 4 shows yet another alternative adjustable container in the form of a relillable water bottle:

FIG. 5 shows yet another alternative adjustable container with a dial on the cap;

FIG. 6 shows a child proof adjustable container in accordance with the present invention;

FIGS. 7A-7C show a product made in accordance with the present invention; and

FIGS. 8A-8C show another food product in accordance with the present invention. FIG. 2 shows a consumer-adjustable beverage container according to one embodiment of the present invention. The container is shown in the shape of a can 20 having side 21 and top 22. On the side 21 of the can there is provided a dial 23 with two indicators 24 and 25 of flavoring and/or sweetener. The first indicator 24 is located at one side of the dial 23. while the second i ndicator 25 is located at the opposite side. The indicators 24 and 25 are labeled to indicate to a user what sweeteners or flavors are contained within the can 20. For example, indicator 24 may be labeled to indicate that stevia or glucose is contained within the can, while indicator 25 may be labeled to indicate that fructose or aspartame is contained on the opposite side. The dial 23 may be adjusted between the first indicator 24 and second indicator 25 to allow a container (not pictured) within the can 20 to release amounts of the sweetener or flavoring as indicated by the dial position. For example, if the dial is pointing directly horizontal at the first indicator 24, then only an amount of the first sweetener or flavor may be released into the beverage. If the dial is pointing directly horizontal at the second indicator 25, then only an amount of the second sweetener or flavor may be released into the beverage. If the dial is pointing directly vertical between the first and second indicators 24 and 25, then equal amounts of both sweeteners or flavors may be released. Once the desired configuration is set, the user may implement the release of sweeteners or flavorings by pushing the dial 23 inward toward the can 20.

FIG. 3 shows a consumer-adjustable beverage container according to another embodiment of the present invention. The container is shown in the shape of a can 30 having side 31 and top 32. On the side 1 of the can there is provided a dial 33 with four indicators 34, 35, 36, and 37 of flavoring and/or sweeteners. As described in FIG. 2 above, the indicators 34, 35, 36, and 37 arc labeled to indicate the presence of four different sweeteners and/or flavorings contained inside the can 30. The dial 33 may be adjusted between the indicators 34. 35, 36, and 37 to release amounts of the sweetener or flavoring based on the dial position. For example, if the dial 33 is pointing directly at the first indicator 34, a maximum amount of the associated substance may be released. If the dial 33 is pointing 45 degrees above the first indi cator 34 at position 38, an amount of half the maximum may be released. This follows for each of the other indicators and sweeteners or flavorings. The user may implement the release of sweeteners or flavorings by pushing the dial 33 inward toward the can 30. If a user desires to add multiple sweeteners or flavorings to the beverage, the process may be repeated as desired for each additional sweetener or flavoring.

FIG. 4 shows a consumer-adjustable beverage container according to another embodiment of the present invention. The container is shown in the shape of a bottle 40 having side 41 and cap 42. On the side 41 of the bottle there is provided a dial 43 with an indicator 44 of flavoring or sweetener contained within the bottle 40. The indicator shown is a number scale indicating a number of units to be dispensed. However, other indicators are contemplated, including, volume indicators, sweetness scale indicators, daily recommended intake indicators, and the like. Within the bottle 40 is also a liquid 45 such as water. The liquid is filled to an initial fill line 46 indicating a volume within the bottle 40. The position of the dial 43 can be adjusted between the ends of the indicator 44 to release an amount of the sweetener of flavoring as desired. A user may implement the release of sweetener or flavoring by pushing the dial 33 inward toward the bottle. A dispenser 47 is affixed to the inside of the bottle 40. The dispenser 47 is shown at the initial fill line 46 so that unused sweeteners or flavorings are not unnecessarily exposed to the liquid 45.

FIG. 5 shows an alternate embodiment of the beverage container in FIG. 4. The container is a bottle 50 having a side 51 and cap 52. On the cap 52 there is provided a dial 53 with an indicator 54 showing an amount of sweetener or flavoring 56 that will be released into the liquid 55 contained within the bottle 50. As in the embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the dial 53 may be adjusted between the ends of the indicator 54 to release an amount of the sweetener or flavoring 5 as desired.

FIG. 6 shows a child - proo f b everage container according to the present invention. The container is shown in the shape of a bottle 60 having a side 61 and cap 62. The cap 62 uses child-proof or child-resistant packaging to make it difficult for young children to open the bottle and access the sweetener or flavoring within. The cap 62 also contains a dial 63 with an indicator 64 of flavoring or sweetener contained within the bottle 60. The child-proof or child-resistant packaging also make it difficult for young children to adjust the dial 63. On top of the cap 62 is a child- friendly spout 69 to enable young children to drink easily from the bottle 60. Within the bottle 60 is an amount of liquid 65 a d a cartridge 66. The cartridge 66 is shown as a cylindrical t ube attached to the cap 62 and extending much of the length of the bottle 60. Within the cartridge 66 are several chambers 68 containing units 70 of sweetener or flavoring. A spiral opening 67 travels up the length of the cartridge 66. In a default or zero position, the spiral opening 67 remains closed. As a user adjusts the position of the dial 63, portions of the spiral opening 67 twist away within the cartridge 66. exposing a number of chambers 68 and units 70 of sweetener or flavoring based on the position of the dial 63.

In another embodiment, a method for reducing the urge to consume products containing sugar is described. Consumers utilizing the method may begin by drinking beverages with a sugar level corresponding to the intensity, frequency, or nature of their sugar cravings. The beverages may be prepared by using the beverage container device described above to select desired sweetener and/or flavoring levels in the beverage. Over time, consumers may drink beverages with sugar levels which are gradually reduced while levels of sugar substitutes arc gradually increased, in order to lessen the effects of their cravings in a manageable way. Consumers may repeat this over several iterations, drinking beverages with lower and lower sugar levels and higher levels of sugar substitutes, until their sugar cravings are sufficiently reduced. In one embodiment, consumers may repeat the iterations using beverages with decreasing levels of one kind of sugar, but increasing or maintained levels of another kind of sugar or sugar substitute. In another embodiment, consumer may repeat the iterations using beverages with decreasing levels of sugar, but increasing levels of flavoring.

In another embodiment of the invention, fruit products made to look like sugary foods are described. One way to reduce dependence on sugary foods is to substitute low-sugar content foods for high-sugar content foods. However, low-sugar foods do not engage the addiction/ reward system as effectively as high-sugar foods. Since the first phase of the addiction/reward system is eye cue, the visual indication of sugary foods can trigger neurotransmitter release and influence a person to consume the food. This phase may persist even when a food only resembles a sugary food, and it may continue to the second phase if the food resembles a sugary food in smell, texture, and mouthfeel. Therefore, one way to reduce dependence on sugar is to substitute low-sugar foods resembling high-sugar foods in one or more ways.

A fruit product as taught by the invention is a food made primarily of fruit, but prepared in such a way as to resemble the appearance, smell, and/or taste of a sugary food. Examples of sugary foods include sweets such as candy, cakes, cookies, brownies, muffins, breads, granola bars, donuts and the like. The fruit product of the present invention may comprise a portion of one or more fruits, depending on the size, texture, and appearance desired. For example, a fruit product created to look like a cake may require the bright colors of fruits such as strawberries, grapes, cherries, and oranges to appear festive. Likewise, a fruit product created to look like a cookie may only require an apple or a pear. The fruit product may contain other ingredients, including preservatives, colorings, artificial extracts, and the like in order to better appear to be a sugary food. The fruit product may also contain added sugar, sugar substitutes, and artificial sweeteners as described above. Such sweeteners may be used to achieve a desired sweetness or sugar level as taught above. For example, a fruit product resembling a cookie may contain 5 teaspoons of added sugar as part of a program to taper sugar content down to no added sugar. The fruit product may contain a mixture of sugar, sugar substitutes, and artificial sweeteners to achieve a desired sweetness level while reducing sugar content.

Reduction in sugar content corresponds to the third phase of the

addiction/reward system. In one embodiment of the invention, the fruit product may also comprise varying levels of triggering for the first and second phases of the addiction/reward system. For instance, the second phase is smell and taste, when the substance is ingested by the body. Thus, the fruit product may be prepared to resemble the smell and taste of a sugary food to various degrees in order to reduce the effect of this phase on a consumer. For instance, one version of the fruit product may smell and taste exactly like a piece of candy. Another version may smell and taste less like candy. Yet another version may smell and taste nothing like candy. The consumer may use these di ITcrent versions of the fruit product to reduce physiological dependence on taste and smell of a food. In another embodiment of the invention. different versions of the fruit product may visually resemble a piece of candy to various degrees in order to reduce physiological dependence on the appearance of a food. Different versions f the fruit product may combine reductions in any of phases one, two, or three for optimal effectiveness.

The fruit product according to the invention may be received by a consumer in a prepared state. For example, the fruit product may be packaged and sold in commercial retail spaces such as markets and grocery stores. Additionally, the fruit product may be delivered to a consumer to retain freshness. Alternatively, the fruit product may be prepared by a machine in the consumer's home according to preprogrammed or downloaded recipes. In one embodiment, the machine may customize the fruit product according to the consumer's desired size, taste, or appearance. The machine may be a smart machine, capable of connecting to the internet via wireless network such as Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, and the like. A smart machine may be controlled by way of a smartphonc or tablet application ("app"), which may download recipes, start and stop production of fruit products, reorder ingredients as necessary, and track consumption of fruit products. Additionally, the machine may operate automatically or with minimal manual input.

As an example, a fruit product product resembling a chocolate chip cookie could be made using a large honeycrisp apple, grapes, cookie flavoring, and coloring. The machine would comprise separate storage areas for the apple, grapes, cookie flavoring, and coloring, a food processor, a mixer, and an assembly area. The apple would be processed to resemble the cookie dough base, while the grapes would be processed to resemble chocolate chips. The cookie flavoring and food coloring would be mixed with each component, then the processed fruits would be assembled in the shape of a cookie. The finalized fruit product would resemble chocolate chip cookie in appearance, smell, and flavoring. Thus a consumer seeing, smelling, and tasting the fruit product would satisfy the first two phases of the addiction ' reward system using less sugar.

FIGS. 7A-C show a fruit product according to the invention. In FIG. 7A, a version o the fruit product 71 is made to resemble a chocolate chip cookie by appearance and smell 76. The fruit product 71 is made primarily using apple 74 and grape 75. In F IG 7B, a version of the fruit product 72 resembles a cookie less by appearance and smell 76. In FIG 7C, a version of the fruit product 73 resembles only the apple 74 and grape 75 elements comprising the fruit product. FIGS. 8A-C show another fruit product according to the invention. In FIG. 8 A, a version of the fruit product 81 is made to resemble candy by appearance. The fruit product 81 is made primarily using strawberry 84 and kiwi 85. In FIG. 8B, a version of the fruit product 82 resembles candy less by appearance. In FIG. 8C, a version of the fruit product 83 resembles only the strawberry 84 and kiwi 85 elements comprising the fruit product.

In still another embodiment, a method for reducing the urge to consume products containing sugar is described. Consumers utilizing the method may begin by eating fruit products resembling sugary foods as the intensity, frequency, or nature of their sugar cravings requires. Over time, consumers may eat fruit products in which the resemblance to sugary foods is gradually increased, in order to lessen the effects of their cravings in a manageable way. Consumers may repeat this over several iterations, eating fruit products that gradually resemble sugary foods less and less, until their sugar crav ings are sufficiently reduced. In one embodiment, consumers may repeat the iterations using fruit products with decreasing visual resemblance, while maintaining olfactory and/or gustatory resemblance to sugary foods. In other embodiments, visual resemblance may be maintained while olfactory and/or gustatory resemblance is decreased. Consumers may combine the steps of this method with other eating programs to improved results.

Further features and advantages of the invention will be seen from the following non-limiting example.

Example 1 :

A chewing gum packets (8 grams each) are prepared with varying amounts of sugar (sucrose) and a sugar substitute (sorbitol) as follows:

Days 1 -3 - sucrose 4 grams - sorbitol 1 gram

Days 4-6 --- sucrose 3 grams - sorbitol 2 grams

Days 7-9 ~- sucrose 2 grams - soribtol 3 grams

Days 10-12 - sucrose 1 gra - sorbitol 4 grams

Days 1 - 15 - sucrose 0 grams - sorbitol 5 grams

Example 2:

Example 1 was repeated, however, replacing 50% of the sugar substitute (sorbitol) with lactose sugar. Embodiments alternative to chewing gum are also contemplated to be within the scope of this invention. For example, beverages such as juices, soft drinks, and shakes may be created which contain reducing or tapering amounts of sugars and increasing amounts of sugar substitutes to aid subjects in reducing addiction cravings for sugary substances. Additionally, foods including breads, pastas, nutrition bars, and ice creams are contemplated within the scope of this disclosure.

Still another possibility is to incorporate Adigam herb, which is known to bind to sugar receptors in the mouth, into a gum or beverage, etc. Another possibility is to incorporate Marcel a herb.

Furthermore, assistance with other forms of addiction is contemplated within the scope of this invention. For example, gums, beverages, and foods may be created to assist subjects with caffeine or betel nut addictions.