MealEnders ‘signaling’ lozenges CEO: 'I’m not selling miracle diet pills; this is about the psychology of eating'

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

MealEnders founder & CEO Mark Bernstein at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta, GA
MealEnders founder & CEO Mark Bernstein at the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Atlanta, GA

Related tags Weight loss Eating Obesity

Can a boiled sweet stop you from overeating? While at first glance any product marketed as a ‘signaling lozenge’ sounds distinctly dubious, the entrepreneur behind MealEnders does not try to blind consumers with science - or pseudoscience - when he makes his pitch.

This isn’t a diet pill, says San Francisco-based founder & CEO Mark Bernstein, a lawyer by training. And while his website talks a lot about gut hormones, the ingredients in his products do not promise to influence them, and there are no suspicious ‘clinically proven’ claims or stock photos of actors in lab coats.

“This is a mindfulness tool, not a magic elixir,” ​he told FoodNavigator-USA. “It’s about creating a ritual. I don’t see this sitting in Walgreens next to the appetite suppressant pills. It’s not a miracle diet pill and I'm not making any weight loss claims. It might work for you and it might not, the only way to find out is to try it."

It’s a mindfulness tool, not a magic elixir

The lozenges - at the most basic level - are simply something to put in your mouth after you have eaten a big meal to force you to pause, put down your fork, and suck on something for 20 minutes until you are better equipped to make a rational decision when the dessert menu arrives, says Bernstein.

The aim is to “cue the cessation of eating​” by keeping you occupied until “your natural satiety processes kick in and catch up”​, adds Bernstein, who says his patent-pending product draws on behavioral and sensory science, and could be used as a tool when you:

  • Feel the urge to finish a large plate of food.
  • Crave a second helping.
  • Can’t resist dessert after dinner.
  • Feel compelled to snack on junk food between meals.

The hope is that after 20 minutes of sucking on a MealEnders lozenge, the steak and fries you just wolfed down will have started to digest, you realize you are actually pretty full, and you are more likely to find the willpower to politely say no to ice cream.

Meal enders lozenges

The purpose is not just to occupy your mouth, he says, but to delight your taste buds

But isn’t sucking on a sugar-free mint or boiled sweet or chewing gum equally effective (and cheaper)?

No, argues Bernstein, who claims that “most candy and mint recipes entice people to eat more​”, but also stresses that MealEnders lozenges (which he is initially selling exclusively on his website) are performing a different function.

The purpose is not just to occupy your mouth, he says, but to delight your taste buds, so the experience is one of pleasure instead of “deprivation​” (chewing gum is no substitute for ice cream).

Indeed, this philosophy is built into the formulation of his lozenges, which were co-developed with Mattson Group and contain 2g sugar and 15 calories each, he says.

 “We started with a sweet exterior, what we call the ‘reward layer’, which is made from premium dessert ingredients. People like to end a meal with something sweet, so it has to be indulgent.”

But once you suck through the sweet exterior and get to the hardboiled interior, the sensation changes, and some rather unusual, less sweet, flavors kick in, he says.

“It’s engaging, cooling, and tingling and it clears the palate.”

Click HERE​ to read more about MealEnders.

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1 comment


Posted by Stewart Frick,

Interesting concept - but to say the big difference between a regular mint is this thrills the tastebuds seems a little ridiculous. Remember Obecalp, which was placebo spelled backwards - I think this will go the same route, which was not much as far as I know

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