Israeli food manufacturer Matok V’Kal Ltd. says it has developed a new energy product to give a boost to sports enthusiasts by tricking their brain into thinking their body has just consumed carbohydrates.
“We fool the mind,” said Noam Kaplan, the CEO of Matok V’Kal, by phone. “They are not really consuming the carbohydrates,” but are getting the energy boost anyway.
The company has already started selling its product in Israel. It is now looking to launch its product globally, starting at a food exhibition in Chiba City, Japan, next month.
The new product is a spray that comes in a reusable clip-on package that can be accessed during running or any other sports activity. Users spray the liquid into their mouth to get a boost of energy, according to the firm.
Called Fit4style, each unit of the energy spray delivers 1.3 grams of simple and complex carbohydrates in the form of water with dextrose, fructose, an acidity regulator and mint extract that coats the mouth.
The six-calorie caffeine-free spray can help maintain stamina for up to 75 minutes, the company said. Standard gels used by runners provide 25 grams of carbohydrates and 100 calories, Kaplan explained. The spray, he emphasized, is for a 75-minute exercise boost and not for longer periods of time, like for a marathon.
The concept is based on studies that have shown that the presence of certain carbohydrate compounds in the mouth can help mimic the ingestion of caloric energy, fooling the body into generating a short burst of extra energy.
The Fit4style Energy Spray was created by Matok V’Kal together with food-tech innovation consultants Practical Innovation Ltd.
“Fit4style Energy Spray offers a new solution for short-duration, high-endurance workouts and sport activities,” said Kaplan in a statement released by the firm. “The innovation is backed by a growing body of research and recommendations by global sports groups that found that, in a workout of up to 75 minutes, there is no need to consume carbohydrates; it is sufficient to have their presence in the mouth. By tricking the mind into believing it is being nourished — relying on the sensation of food energy without actually providing it — the information is converted into actual energy.”
Carbohydrates are the body and brain’s main source of energy.
Researchers have shown, in a 2014 study published in Elsevier, that just by having carbohydrates in their mouth people are able to improve physical performance. The researchers showed that simply rinsing the mouth with certain carbohydrates improved physical performance, by activating areas of the brain that control movement. How this works is still unclear, but the effect has been called the “carbohydrate mouth-rinse effect.”
This explains the practice of some sport professionals to take a swig of liquid and swish it around their mouth before spitting it out.
Fit4style, the company said, provides the same effect without the need to spit out the solution.
The new product contains peppermint extract that contributes to increased energy while adding a refreshing flavor, the company said in a statement
A study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, also in 2014, showed that the oral ingestion of peppermint oil has effects on physiological parameters and exercise performance after five minutes, with incremental improvement after one hour.
Matok V’Kal was founded in 1975 It produces sugar substitutes under the brand names Matok V’Kal and Sucra Diet.