One of the biggest hang-ups in meeting fitness goals is not sticking to portion control. That’s why former lawyer-turned-entrepreneur Mark Bernstein came up with MealEnders, a 15-calorie lozenge that allows your brain to catch up to your body after a meal to signal fullness without overeating.
“I would finish my plate of spaghetti and immediately go for that second plate even though I knew I didn’t need it,” says Berstein, who has no prior experience in the health industry. “When I realized I needed to lose weight and learn to just stop overeating, I came up with MealEnders, to help create new habits and make a conscious act to stop eating when you are full.”
The lozenges cost about 60 cents each and do not act as a drug or supplement—which is one of their main selling points. “MealEnders are more about what you are not getting,” says Tami Lyon, MPH, RD, who was hired by Bernstein to put the science into context for users. “There are no stimulants, no hormones, no drugs, and it is not a stimulant. We are using a person’s natural hormonal response to a sensory experience to help change habitual behaviors.”
MealEnders come in four flavors: mocha, cinnamon, chocolate mint, and citrus. The idea is to pop the lozenge in your mouth when you feel about 80 percent full. The outer coating of the candy is sweet and dissolves into a second layer that cools and tingles for 20 minutes—the amount of time it takes for your body to register fullness to the brain.
“It is great that MealEnders aren’t making any scientific claims and that they are just to help someone create a new habit,” says Keri Gans, RDN and author of The Small Change Diet. “I like the idea of having something that gives you something a little sweet, slows you down and gives you that ritual of signaling that you are done eating before you overeat—whether that is a small piece of chocolate or this lozenge.”
Bernstein and Lyon are using the specific purpose of MealEnders to end a meal (just like the name says) and take more time to consume, to hold people more accountable than a piece of chocolate, which can quickly turn into three pieces or more in 20 minutes. “You can take these anywhere and use them discretely—whether that’s in the office, at a restaurant, or at home.”
Great idea, but it’s only going to work if you know when to use it. “The MealEnder, or any other product won’t serve any purpose if you had a huge meal already,” says Gans. “So, no matter what you use to hold yourself accountable to not overeat, you have to know what 80 percent full is and to stop there.”