One of the most difficult things for many people to do is not overeat. We were taught as kids to not leave food on our plates, and this mentality has stuck with us over the years. Or, something just tastes so good that you can’t imagine leaving a bite behind (I’m a repeat offender). To help tackle this problem head on, a company called MealEnders came up with a pretty interesting idea: suck on a candy-coated lozenge when you’re 75 percent done with your meal and it will make you not want to eat any more. I saw the product on ABC’s Shark Tank and had to give it a try. Here’s the inside scoop.
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Designed to help you manage your weight and become a master at portion control, MealEnders lozenges help rid you of pesky cravings. How they work: Each lozenge has two layers that serve different purposes to achieve the overall goal. The first layer, a sweet candy coating (it contains 2 grams of sugar), gives you the taste of a dessert, which is what many people crave after a meal. The four flavor options—cinnamon, mocha, citrus and chocolate mint—actually taste yummy like a real treat.
Once the outer layer dissolves (don’t chew it), you tastebuds get an entirely different experience: a tingling, cooling sensation that mimics more of what you’d expect from a sore throat lozenge. According to the company, this inner layer (the Active-Taste layer) “engages the trigeminal nerve, clears the palate and creates a 20-minute eating pause, enabling the brain to recognize the body’s natural transition from hungry to full.” MealEnders does not provide a full list of ingredients used to achieve this effect, but it attributes it to its “proprietary blend of natural and artificial food flavors that it calls the Actissert Blend.”
The science behind the product has to do with the “overeating zone.” If you stop eating three quarters into your meal and pop in a MealEnder, by the time the lozenge dissolves in close to 20 minutes, you will feel full.
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“It’s an interesting product,” says celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson. “It is true that satiety signals don’t kick in until approximately 20 minutes into the meal. That is why you hear nutritionists suggesting you chew your food 15–20 times before swallowing it. The mechanism of appetite control is based on reliable scientific evidence. However, I wouldn’t expect it to work the same for everyone.”
According to Tami Lyon, chief nutrition officer for MealEnders, with repeated use, users accept MealEnders’ sensations as a cue to stop eating, which results in sustainable and healthy eating habits. “The more you use MealEnders, the sooner you will associate the active-taste sensations with the end of eating.”
In my opinion, it reminded me of how I don’t like to eat anything else at night after I brush my teeth (sometimes I brush them earlier on purpose so I won’t eat a late-night snack). The taste the lozenges leave behind in your mouth makes me think of that just-brushed effect, so I can see this being a method to help keep people from taking that next bite they don’t need. It’s also smart to coat it in something dessert-like because each flavor is really good and it does give you that “something sweet” you crave after consuming savory foods. Overall, I give it two thumbs up.