All posts by Remy

Chocolate: when health meets pleasure!

Luscious and decadent, chocolate is a guilty pleasure that children and adults alike enjoy for it embodies pleasure, warmth and joy. Dark or white, powder or rectangles in neat rows of four – chocolate is much like wine. Everyone has their favourite type, individual taste and brand preferences, and ones they really dislike. But did you know that the earliest documented use of cacao dates back to the ancient Mayan civilization? It was consumed for nutritional and therapeutic purposes and it’s no wonder it was referred to as “Food of the Gods” by the Mayans.

Chocolate has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system mainly attributed to the compound theobromine and to a lesser extent, its chemical cousin, caffeine. Theobromine possesses bronchodilatory (ability to relax respiratory muscles to increase airflow to lungs) and vasodilatory properties (ability to widen the diameter of blood vessels). Take heed asthmatics and hypertensives! It’s also the substance that gives dark chocolate its typical bitter taste.

Polyphenols are organic molecules, ubiquitous in the plant kingdom which play a vital role in plants. They are products of plant secondary metabolism and participate in the defensive mechanisms of the latter. These are the compounds that confer therapeutic properties to plants. The main classes of polyphenols present in cacao are flavonoids, catechins, anthocyanins, among others.

Like theobromine, the polyphenols present in cacao, especially flavonoids, exert cardioprotective effects. They enhance the production of nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator which, as its name suggests, helps to dilate blood vessels thereby lowering blood pressure and improving blood circulation. Moreover, the polyphenols found in cacao are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, i.e., they help fight against oxidative stress, which is the root cause of most chronic diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, etc.

Indeed, the long-term consumption of polyphenol-rich cacao has been associated with a reduction in insulin resistance in many clinical studies. More surprisingly, INSERM researcher Astrid Nehlig claims that these polyphenols have the potential to improve cognitive functions (such as memory and speed of treatment) and delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. According to Magrone et al. (2017), they can also reduce intestinal inflammation and modulate gut microflora composition, including Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, which help to maintain gut ecosystem stable through their immunomodulatory properties.

Last but not least, cacao is an excellent source of magnesium, a trace element essential for the proper functioning of the body. Magnesium is referred to as an anti-stress mineral as it promotes relaxation (including muscle), facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses and reduces fatigue. Half a cup of cacao powder provides about 214 mg of magnesium, which is more than half of our daily requirement for magnesium (about 300 mg for women and 400 mg for men).

Choosing the right chocolate…

The numerous virtues cited above are attributed to unprocessed raw cacao powder. However, most of us consume chocolate which is a mixture of cocoa powder, cocoa butter (to give it a silky texture) and sugar (to reduce bitterness). Not to mention that fermentation and roasting, two processes necessary for the development of flavors, reduce the percentage of cacao polyphenols. Yet chocolate can actually be good for you, if properly chosen and moderately eaten (as even dark chocolates with high cocoa content can be caloric!). The higher the cocoa content, the better!  Eating chocolate imparts pleasure, but as with all good things, it’s best in moderation! For maximum health benefits, choose dark chocolate made with at least 70% of cocoa.

Discover our 3 scrumptiously healthy vegan chocolate recipes!

3 scrumptiously healthy vegan chocolate recipes!

A feeling of guilt overwhelms you as you bite into a bar of chocolate or as you allow a chocolate truffle to melt in your mouth? But here’s how health can meet pleasure. Read more

You want chocolate? Here is our selection of 3 scrumptiously healthy vegan recipes you won’t forget!

Orange avocado chocolate truffles


  • 120 g avocado flesh, a small avocado
  • 180 g dark chocolate 70%
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
  • 5 drops of organic sweet orange essential oil
  • 20 g candied orange peel cut into small cubes


  1. Cut the avocado in half, discard the pit and gently remove the flesh with a spoon.
  2. Mash the avocado until a homogeneous mixture is obtained. Add 5 drops of essential oil of organic sweet orange.
  3. Melt the chocolate in a water bath, i.e. in a Pyrex or stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water.

Tips: Chop the chocolate into pieces so that it melts easily and quickly and stir it continuously to avoid it getting burnt.

  1. Add the avocado puree and candied orange to the chocolate. Usually it should set pretty easily, if that’s not the case, chill the mixture for 10 minutes (don’t forget to wrap the bowl with cling film as we don’t want our chocolate truffles to collect fridge odors).
  2. Use a spoon to scoop chocolate balls. Roll them between the palms of your hand to create a smooth surface and roll each truffle in cacao powder to coat them and voila!

Source: Rose and Cook

 Vegan chocolate milkshake


  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 220 ml of vegan milk (a mixture of coconut milk and oat milk)
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder (or according to your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla powder
  • small chunks of dark chocolate 70%,
  • Ice cubes (optional)


  1. Blend together the vegan milk, frozen bananas, cacao and vanilla powder.
  2. You may add some ice cubes if you want it cold.
  3. Pour the milkshake into a tall glass and add a few pieces of dark chocolate on top. Enjoy!

Source: L’appartement living

Quinoa coconut cacao bar


List A
  • 6 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut butter
  • 4 heaped tbsp of raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder if you don’t have cacao)
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of salt
List B
  • 1 cup puffed quinoa cereal
  • ¼ cup cranberries
  • ¼ cup pistachios


  1. Melt together the list A ingredients.
  2. Stir in list B ingredients.
  3. Pour uniformly into a lined loaf pan and chill until set.

Source: wholeheartedeats

NASH: A silent killer disease!

When we talk about liver diseases, what immediately spring to mind are viral hepatitis, cirrhosis or even cancer. But there is another disease still largely unknown, called NASH, which has taken on frightening proportions in Western countries. DietSensor explains it all for you.

What is NASH?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases (NAFLD) represent a spectrum of disorders ranging from simple steatosis to more severe NASH or even cirrhosis and liver cancer. But what is rather surprising is that these diseases are not linked to excessive alcohol consumption or viruses. They are only associated with diet!

Simple steatosis is characterized by an accumulation of fats in liver cells (just like duck foie gras). It is the first stage before NASH and is generally benign. However, in a subset of individuals, the liver cells develop inflammation, and that’s when we talk about non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, also known as NASH. According to experts, NASH is very closely linked to the global epidemic of obesity and diabetes, and like other chronic hepatitis, it can potentially progress to cirrhosis and even cancer!

What causes NASH?

The evolution of simple steatosis to NASH is a complex process, caused by the interaction of several genetic and environmental factors. Insulin resistance together with pro-inflammatory mediators are believed to play a major role in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. Here are the different stages in the evolution of NAFLD. Stages 1 and 2 are reversible, but stages 3 and 4 are not; and that’s when it becomes dangerous as there is no treatment to date other than a liver transplant.

A growing phenomenon…

In 2015, the number of NAFLD cases in the Unites States alone, is estimated at around 80 million, with more than 15 million NASH cases. According to senior epidemiologist Chris Estes, the number is expected to rise even more, based on his forecasting model.

Since the disease has no symptoms, there are many cases go undetected!

Here are a few helpful tips

Weight loss through a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity, remains the cornerstone of NAFLD management.

  • Avoid sugary drinks especially sodas, industrial juices (contain high fructose corn syrup), and even iced teas!
  • Choose low GI carbohydrates. Read our article Spotlight on the glycemic index: A good guide to good carbs
  • Choose your fats wisely. Reduce intake of red meat, deli meats, pastries, etc. Oily fish, however are excellent as they contain omega-3 fatty acids (which is anti-inflammatory). Look for good fats such as avocado, nuts and seeds in general (Watch out the portion as well as they are caloric).
  • Engage in a regular physical activity (at least 150 minutes per week for moderate activity)
  • See your doctor regularly (even when you’re healthy!). Check-ups are important in the prevention and early detection of diseases, especially those without symptoms.

Prevention is better than cure!

The DietSensor application is not exclusively for people with chronic illnesses. Rather it may help to prevent the onset of such diseases, for instance NASH – by accompanying you at each and every meal to make wise decisions about your food choices!

If you haven’t already downloaded the DietSensor app, we highly recommend you do it!

Spring: 3 foods you should be eating now!

Yay! Spring is finally here! Mother nature is slowly waking up from her long winter sleep and everything around blossoms into beauty. Spring is a particularly euphoric period as it brings a burst of colors, light and warmth after a seemingly endless winter. It’s the perfect time to start anew; improve our lifestyle and dietary habits (After all, isn’t it the season of transformation?). We have picked some foods for you… Here’s why you should include them in your diet…

1. Oily fish to mend your heart!

Despite their name, oily fish are one of the healthiest foods, a real treasure trove of nutrients! They have a complete amino acid profile and unlike other animal protein sources, they contain up to 40% of the total lipids in the form of highly unsaturated long-chain fatty acids (e.g. wild Atlantic salmon). In addition, oily fish are excellent sources of vitamin B, A and D as well as trace elements such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, selenium and iodine.

  • The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least 2 servings (approx. 100 g per serving) of cooked fish per week, preferably oily fish (e.g. salmon, sardines, herring, albacore tuna, anchovies, etc.) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Eat a variety of fish (ideally eco-labelled fish to ensure quality products and to encourage sustainable fishing as well!).
  • And above all, avoid frying them as this may lead to a loss of omega-3 and an increase in other fatty acids (e.g. trans fat), depending on the type of fat used.

2. Eat your beets!

Sliced or diced, raw or cooked… Beetroots have conquered our plates and palates by its subtle sweet taste, crunchy texture, and great versatility. In addition to containing fiber, it is a healthy source of carbohydrates as it has a medium glycemic index and contains many vitamins (A, C, folate, niacin and biotin) and minerals (iron, magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, etc.). A distinctive quality of beetroots is their high betalains content, a class of pigments which not only confers to them vibrant red hues but also many surprising benefits.

3. Strawberry Merry

Who on earth doesn’t like these sweet and tangy fruits? Strawberries are particularly rich in vitamin C, an essential element for the maintenance of many vital functions – e.g. it plays an important role in the absorption of iron and the synthesis and repair of collagen, which is a component of blood vessels, muscles, skin, etc. Strawberries also contain trace elements (such as manganese and potassium) and antioxidants (flavonoids and ellagic acid) that, according to studies, help to slow down cellular aging and prevent many chronic diseases mentioned above. And the “strawberry” on top is that they are low in calories (only 30 kcal per 100g)!

Spotlight on the glycemic index: A good guide to good carbs

Carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potato, rice and legumes, form the very basis of our diet and are essential energy sources, but are they all created equal? The terms Simple sugars and complex carbohydrates have been used for years to classify carbohydrates according to their molecular structure. It was believed that simple sugars were rapidly absorbed and conversely, complex carbohydrates (e.g. starch) were digested more slowly and gradually released glucose into the bloodstream. However, the discovery of the glycemic index has truly transformed the nutrition landscape. It became very clear that some complex carbohydrates can be digested and absorbed almost as quickly as glucose, which is a simple sugar!

What is the glycemic index?

The glycemic index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate-containing foods based on their ability to raise blood glucose levels on a scale of 0 to100. The reference food (usually glucose, but sometimes white bread) has a GI of 100, while foods with little or no carbohydrates have a GI value of 0. A balanced diet based on low-GI foods is not only beneficial to people with diabetes, but also to those having high cholesterol levels or obesity.

Usually high-carbohydrate foods have a moderate to high GI. Below are some examples of staple foods:

Please note that the GI of a food is not a fixed value, rather it varies based on several factors like species, level of processing and cooking method.

And what about glycemic load?

The glycemic load (GL) is an extension of the GI and gives a more accurate picture of a food’s real-life impact on blood glucose levels as it takes into account the carbohydrate content in an actual serving.

For example, watermelon has a glycemic index of 72 (high) while its glycemic load for a normal serving is 6.5 (low) as it contains little amount of carbohydrates. The glycemic load gives us a broader picture of the hyperglycemic potential of foods, than does the glycemic index.


  • Legumes (lentils, kidney beans, etc.) naturally have a low GI value. Try to combine them with cereals (rice, quinoa, couscous, etc.) as they help to bring down the overall GI of the meal. It’s also the perfect pairing to get complete proteins!
  • Fruits usually have a moderate GI, but when combined with a dairy product (e.g. yoghurt or cottage cheese), the dairy proteins help to reduce the peak in glycemia. They are a perfect match for snacks!
  • Cooking your pasta al dente ensures that the GI value is kept at its lowest.
  • Some foods (e.g. chips, nuts) have a low GI value, but they are caloric. Eat in moderate amounts!
  • Eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices as the presence of fibres helps to delay the digestion and absorption of sugars.
  • Does GI appear rather complex to you? Start by making gradual changes in your eating habits while taking into account the main GI concepts and try to memorise the GI values of common foods.



You can also find the GI of more than 1000 foods on the online database of the University of Sydney for free!


Interview: Behind the scenes of DietSensor

Astrid Bonnasse, the co-founder of DietSensor, talks about the main features of this application that has revolutionized the management of macronutrients.


Tell us the story behind DietSensor. Was its creation serendipitous?

The creation of DietSensor is not at all serendipitous. In 2013, our nine-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Overnight, we had to learn how to calculate the number of carbohydrates so as to inject the right dose of insulin. However, the only information we had, was the nutrition facts labels. We were so struck that in the 21st century, there were no simple and efficient solution. We had to find a way to help our child and all diabetics facing the same issues. It was then that we stumbled on this famous miniaturized scanner “SCiO” and decided to use it to create the first food database worldwide together with the app that would give all the necessary information: DietSensor. With this scanner, there is a way to scan your food and know the amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, wherever you are. We immediately realized that this application would be of use not only for Type 1 diabetics like our daughter, but to help improve health conditions affected by dietary imbalance through healthy eating habits: type 2 diabetes, overweight, obesity, cholesterol and so on. We built a network of doctors and dieticians and injected into the application the advices of health authorities in terms of nutrition, taking into account all these pathologies.

When we won the Best of Innovation Award at the CES Las Vegas in 2016, it was for us the proof of all the good that emanates from this adventure.


What message does DietSensor convey?

We want people to be aware that DietSensor is a solution based on most renowned scientific studies. The app is not a scam and does not make illusory promises. The primary message is simply that it is important or even essential to get back to a healthy diet. A message that has not changed since the Hippocrates’ time. No current diet adopts this approach. It’s quite the opposite, they suggest rapid weight loss with the assured risk of the yo-yo effect, as found by many studies. Losing weight should be regular and stable, while eating healthily and without interrupting the intake of any essential macro nutrient.


What is the difference between DietSensor and the other applications?

Unlike other apps, DietSensor does not address calories directly. We firmly believe that dealing with calories through high or low caloric diets is a mistake. This approach is far from being enough.   We need to balance our food and get back to our good old habits. We used to eat healthily earlier on but nowadays, what is sold to consumers may not necessarily be healthy. Our nutritional programs aim to help users according to their condition and we offer them specific help based on their health status. The objective is knowing how to prevent or mitigate diseases by eating healthily.


How does it work?

Like for all nutrition apps, you’ve got to have determination to record what you eat, and this can be done without the SCiO. The app is used by people fighting obesity, by those who want to learn about diet balancing and by fitness people. But unlike the other applications, DietSensor is not only about recording your meal but it advises (portions, food to balance,…) and educates on nutrition through training and real life experimentation.

For type 1 diabetics, DietSensor indicates the number of carbs they can have on their plates, making insulin dosing easier. It is also accompanied by a program to help these patients better understand functional insulin therapy. For people with type 2 diabetes, DietSensor helps them to rebalance macronutrients not only for losing weight healthily but also gives them the possibility of reversing their health condition, as proven by several studies and as experienced by some of our users.


Does DietSensor replace medical monitoring?

Of course not! We don’t want to replace doctors. Quite the contrary, we want DietSensor to be a tool for easily collecting data and feedback from patients, enabling better follow-up  on a daily basis. DietSensor wants to become a companion of doctors, dieticians and patients. In fact, we observed that information sharing and follow-up are difficult. The patient has the possibility to share reports rich in information with health professionals, if he wants to.


What are your views on fad diets?

When you claim faster results, it’s expected that people want to follow them. However, these so-called miracle diets are extremely harmful because they don’t promote a balanced diet. You can very well reach the results promised, but as soon as you stop, weight regaining is inevitable. In addition, these plans are very restrictive and have a significant social impact. At DietSensor, we recommend healthy weight loss through portion management. It’s true that in some cases, certain foods must be reduced or restricted. It all depends on the condition.


Dietsensor has had a remarkable journey. To what do you dedicate this success?

Our journey was indeed remarkable in the sense that we had an international exposure from the very beginning with the CES award. DietSensor has been ranked among the top 10 most innovative and successful start-ups in the world! We announce this week the launching of DietSensor worldwide as we have been receiving requests around the globe and we can no more restrain to Europe and North America. Helping people who are struggling with their nutrition is at the same time a passionate and challenging adventure. Our mission remains the same, that of always helping others.


Any future projects?

Given that DietSensor is now available worldwide, we wish that more and more people around the discover and use DietSensor. We want everyone to know that health issues related to nutrition can be prevented by adopting healthy eating habits! We are currently working with several doctors who are convinced about DietSensor, with hospitals and also enterprises who want to propose this approach to their employees.





mySugr app is a registered medical app with a pleasant user interface design, which vows to make diabetes suck less. Creating entries has been made easier! In addition, the app presents exciting challenges and amusing feedback (e.g. taming the diabetes monster represents progress), designed to encourage user engagement and help them achieve their goals. It syncs with other devices and gives estimates of HbA1c from entries and generates easy-to-understand statistics and graphs instantly. mySugr app also allows data sharing and backup – Pro users have the advantage of choosing the file format and the period desired. Exclusive Pro features include automatic alerts to check blood glucose levels after meals, multi-device sync and smart searching among others. mySugr coach (iOS only) offers top-notch personalised advice and diabetes education at your fingertips. However, the bolus calculator module is available only in the EU and does not take into account Protein and Fat as Diabetes:M does (see below).

What we love most about mySugr?

It is a registered medical device in the US and EU. Besides, it is one of the most appealing and user-friendly diabetes management app!

What we would have loved?

It does not import Carb data from Apple Health or Google Fit even if it can sync with those platforms. They claim “it creates duplicated entries”. Too bad, you can not see your Carb data from DietSensor automatically logged in mySugr.


PredictBGL is a must-have diabetes companion app with interesting features. It has an advanced insulin dose calculator which integrates exercise and other factors to personalise the doses (Pro users get optimised doses for protein, fat and fibre). PredictBGL also offers insulin on board tracking to prevent insulin stacking and overdose and, as its name suggests, it predicts hypers and hypos up to 8 hours ahead and displays the trend though smart graphs. However, the predictive graph is a Pro feature. Moreover, the virtual coach suggests changes to be made for better control (e.g. delayed eating suggestions). It allows data import from many other devices including DietSensor (meters, pumps, CGM, fitness trackers), instant sharing of live data, and secure data backup. Last but not least, it has an automatic alert which cannot be disabled so that you never forget to check and log your blood glucose values. 😉

What we love most about PredictBGL?

Its predictive analytics enable you to have an insight into your blood glucose dynamics at a glance!  And you can import your carb data directly from DietSensor through Apple Health and Google Fit (Pro feature).

What we would have loved?

The interface and user experience could have been better optimized. In many screens you will see the web platform displayed, which is not very mobile friendly.


Diabetes:M is an all-in-one app designed to help diabetics to keep track of and manage their condition. It has a lot of fantastic tools namely, a cutting-edge bolus calculator which allows both pump or multi-injection users to calculate normal and extended insulin doses. The app provides various reports with detailed graphs and easy-to-read analytical charts, which can be shared via email with the supervising specialists. The app allows import and export of data from/to various sources including DietSensor (automatic sync on data change for Premium users). However, the app doesn’t have a virtual coach, but it offers remote monitoring (Premium users only) by a clinician. Premium users also have the exclusivity of having 2 additional profiles, access to expanded food database and advanced pattern analysis among others. This award-winning app supports Android wear smart watch!

What we love most about Diabetes:M?

Its advanced bolus calculator is absolutely amazing as it offers normal and extended insulin dose calculation (incl. protein and fat) for both pump or multi-injection users. You log a meal with DietSensor, open Diabetes:M and can calculate the perfect insulin dose in seconds. And we think that the PREMIUM plan is affordable and the best value for money.

What we would have loved?

Ads in the Basic plan come back often, but they disappear when you upgrade.

Is Breakfast Protein The Secret To Weight Loss?

According to a new report released by the researchers of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), eating more protein at breakfast could help to achieve healthy weight loss. They stated in the report “Protein Balance: New concepts for protein in Weight Management”, that increasing breakfast protein may help control eating during the daily meals. The researchers affirm that a higher protein diet, combined with regular exercises, can result in greater fat loss.

Read the full article on


Healthy eating: a balanced breakfast can help achieve weight loss

It should be recalled, once again, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is not just a statement. Nutrition experts have shown that eating healthily in the morning allows the body to recover from the fast, before it starts operating normally. In fact, during our sleep, our digestive system is at a standstill, but the body continues to burn calories. If you do not eat, your body will simply draw on reserves and function at a slower pace. This can have a detrimental impact on your health. Some people believe that by avoiding breakfast, they would lose weight, but today, we have all grounds to state that this is nothing more and nothing less than an unsubstantiated assumption. Quite the contrary, a healthy breakfast with healthy foods can help you lose weight. Let’s see how.

Start your day on the right foot

When you avoid breakfast, you are likely to be anxious and suffer from a mood disorder. However, if you eat healthily at breakfast, you provide your body with all the resources needed for a good start. If you are among those who believe that avoiding breakfast will help you lose weight, think again! You will rather gain weight because your body will store a maximum of reserves in terms of fat and carbohydrate during the next meals. It is thus advisable to have a protein-rich balanced breakfast.

Some tips for a healthy breakfast

– Avoid fatty and sweet foods in the morning. It is not always necessary to overeat during breakfast, but poor nutrition often results in weight gain.

– Choose your food wisely. Choose foods which are rich in protein such as eggs or turkey. If you are vegetarian, you can choose from alternatives to animal protein.

– Avoid cereals which are often rich in complex sugars. Instead, have Greek yoghurt with honey or jam, to which you can also add dried fruits.

– Do not forget that fruits are rich in fiber and vitamins, essential elements to give your body all the energy it needs for the day.

– Remember to hydrate yourself by drinking water.

If you are convinced of the benefits of a healthy breakfast, you can also use DietSensor. This innovative application helps you to manage macronutrients during breakfast but also during other meals of the day. A nutritional coach analyzes your eating habits and helps you to cultivate healthier ones in order to achieve your goal of losing weight without the yo-yo effect.

Just keep to two rules: go for good-quality foods and eat balanced diets, which have little of everything, in the right proportions.


Start your morning off right with these 3 healthy breakfast ideas! 

There is no excuse for skipping breakfast once you see these super fast and simple recipes. Moreover, each one is healthy, and that feels just right.

All- American Granola

Photo: Oxmoor House

Sweetened with maple syrup and studded with dried cherries and sliced almonds, this pantry staple is easy to customize. You can add dried blueberries, cranberries, apple slices and toss with fresh berries before serving.

Tips: For increased fiber content, you can top-up with flax seed.

Calories: 197

Get the breakfast All-American Granola!


Healthy Egg Muffins

Photo: Oxmoor House

The Stove Top Stuffing Mix we all grew up with, is making its way to breakfast. Prepare these on the eve, so you can pop two into the toaster oven for a quick, but filling breakfast the next day.

Calories: 292

Get the Healthy Egg Muffins recipe!


Peach and Blueberry Pancakes

Photo: Oxmoor House

Each third cupful of this thick batter produces a pancake that is wonderfully fluffy and filled with fresh fruit. The combination of peaches and blueberries never fails to please.

Calories: 238

Get the Peach and Blueberry Pancakes recipe!