Helping to manage chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes

DietSensor2 smallIn this illustrative scenario, we explore how the DietSensor App can provide support to manage chronic conditions.

First of all, the bad news…

As food has become more processed, commoditized and ubiquitous, we have seen significant changes in how what we eat and drink negatively impacts health, resulting in an exponential increase in diet-related conditions and the need for close nutritional control to manage chronic diseases. There has been a transition in nutritional foods, which has seen plant based diets being replaced by diets that are richer in added sugars and animal fats. The amount of food consumption has been increasing, and globalization combined with increasing population and rising incomes have increased demand for processed food, resulting in excessive consumption of saturated fat and sugar, and lack of nutritive elements as fibers, minerals and vitamins.

Furthermore, an article on Vox.com on August 31 2016 shows just how easy it is to become obese in America. It’s scary! We know that overweight leads to type 2 diabetes, cardiovasculat disease and certain cancers.

Now, the good news…

The good news is that nutrition is a large part of the solution to such diseases. We are seeing more and more people concerned about their health, their family’s health and the impact of mass produced food on the planet, adopting a whole food diet and rejecting processed foods. There is evidence to support the fact that a whole food, balanced diet can reduce the risk to develop obesity, diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers and in some cases, has reversed cancer or diabetes. Of course, everyone’s metabolism and genetic make-up are different, but it’s encouraging to see more and more of us are taking an active interest in nutrition and recognizing that tools that enable to see, measure and plan the nutritional value of the food we consume are a great help. After all, bad nutrition is the root cause and good nutrition is the first medicine to prevent such diseases!

Josiah, a student who is studying links between diet and chronic diseases, recently came across DietSensor, which works as a standalone application or in conjunction with an associated handheld molecular sensor and digital scale, which allow the user to determine what macro nutrient is being eaten and keep track of portion amount. After giving the DietSensor App a try, Josiah is now a fan. This blending of science, technology and nutritional health management sounds like something out of science fiction, but it’s real, and available to everyone. The user friendly App is able to ‘read’ the carbs, fat and protein of food via the linked sensor that can scan homogenous food and drink and determine its nutritional value via its molecular make-up. A barcode scanner can also process nutritional data direct from packaging and pull information from an integrated database of some 600,000 food and drink items. Using the scale at home, Josiah can measure portion sizes and import that data automatically direct into the App via Bluetooth.

Making nutritional data easy to access is not the final goal of DietSensor. It is just the beginning. These information have the ability to empower people living with chronic condition related to nutrition like type 2 diabetes, and help them make better decision about their health. That’s what Josiah found interesting in DietSensor. It’s not just one more food-logging or carb counting tool. It is a nutrition coach in your pocket. Each time Josiah enters a meal he can find suggestions in real time to balance this meal, given what he ate since this morning, and the target intake goal for this time of the day, based on each chronic condition. And what’s more, he gets education about healthy eating with an easy to read lesson that is displayed after each meal, tailored to his topics of interest (type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, weight loss, and more…).

What all of this boils down to is that we now have the easy to use tools available to support us in eating a balanced a healthy food and actively reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardio vascular diseases, cancers, dental diseases and osteoporosis.

Type 1 Diabetic

slide4In this illustrative scenario, we explore how the DietSensor App, used in conjunction with the optional spectroscopic sensor, allows easier measurement and calculation of the total carbohydrates in a meal (and also helps encourage healthy eating habits) for Margaret, a type 1 Diabetic.

Margaret has type 1 diabetes. To effectively manage her condition, she needs to be able to monitor and control the amount of insulin she uses each day, and so needs to measure the carbohydrates that she eats in order to calculate just how much insulin she needs to use to keep her levels balanced.

One of the most significant challenges facing Margaret and other type 1 Diabetics is that they need to calculate everything they eat. This can be a constant battle because it requires real time and effort crunching the numbers and ensuring that the information is accurate. We have learned through trial and error roughly what each food’s carb level is. However, this can still be something of a guessing game, given the spikes and dips in blood sugar often seen after eating.

Margaret uses the DietSensor system, which enables the carbohydrate values of the food and drink that type 1 Diabetics plan to consume to be measured and added in a variety of ways. For example, she can access the App’s large nutritional database, which contains more than 600,000 items, to search for the values of any type of food, or scan a product’s barcode go get nutritional data, and add favorite foods to her own gallery, to make tracking data really easy. A key feature of the DietSensor ecosystem is the optional, pocket-sized SCiO® spectroscopic scanner, which can be used to gather information on the make-up of homogenous food types by reading the cells of the food directly and generating nutritional information which is ported directly into the App via Bluetooth, which is handy when you don’t have a label or barcode, or are cooking at home from scratch. Portion size is important when monitoring carbohydrate intake. Margaret uses DietSensor’s Bluetooth scale, another add-on device, that weighs and sends data directly into the app, giving her a significant degree of control.

Effectively, DietSensor makes the repetitive estimating of carbs a simple task because it does all the heavy calculation. In Margaret’s case, the App’s additional features help her to balance her meals, for example, tracking all macro nutrients (fat, protein and carbs) that she eats, providing her with actionable advice and suggestions for what to eat, based on the historical data of the day and the goals that she set herself initially when she set up her DietSensor profile, broken out by nutrient and by meal. As fats and proteins are also modifying the way she digests carbs, using DietSensor means that keeping her blood sugar under control is much less complicated, and can all be done on her cellphone.

Dieting and Weight Loss

familyIn this illustrative scenario, we explore how the DietSensor App enables users, in this case Molly, who are dieting or seeking to lose weight effectively analyze what they eat and keep a track of their diet.

Molly is your typical dieter. Like many of us, she has the best of intentions, tries to eat healthily, but sometimes falls off the wagon. That cheesecake after dinner can just be oh so tempting! Molly tries to work out but faces a constant battle to shed weight. Sometimes life just gets in the way, you know how it is. The problem is that Molly doesn’t really know what’s in the food that she eats, other than reading the label of ingredients and nutritional data. Besides being time-consuming, how does that information translate for her personally? It can be hard to accurately track and plan. Molly has tried many Apps and many different diets, but sometimes lacks the discipline to keep up, and personal trainers are expensive!

Molly recently started using DietSensor App on her iPhone. What was obvious to her right from the get go was that the App is full of really useful features and easy to use. It’s educational as it is, firstly, a nutrition coach in her pocket. It not only helps Molly track what she eats, but it teaches her how to eat balanced meals with its 12-week coaching program. It shows her not only the calories but the value of macro-nutrients (fats, proteins, carbs) of all her food and drink. It allows her to compare her nutrient intake throughout of the day to the intake goal for that specific time. To do that, it pulls the most up to date nutritional data from the integrated database or by scanning the product barcode. This data is interpreted for Molly and then logged automatically against her personalized goals. Easy.

Besides the food catalog and barcode scanning feature, the most fascinating option for Molly is that she can gather data using an add-on handheld device called the SCiO® scanner, which is a small device that provides nutritional data by scanning the cells of ‘homogenous’ foods and drinks, which often don’t come with a nutritional label, especially when homemade. The scanner generates chemical and nutritional data, which is fed directly into App and translated into meaningful information. Molly also purchased Dietsensor’s Bluetooth digital scale, which also connects to the App and allows her to weigh the food she eats at home, giving her greater portion control in terms of importing data directly and making calculating the exact number of nutrients she eats to stay on track for the day really easy and convenient.

Using DietSensor, Molly is able to keep track of what she is eating against her calorie budget per day, but more importantly, DietSensor can break that data out by carbs, fats and proteins AND by each meal. With the App’s food suggestions feature, Molly has an idea of what to eat and when, which allows her to keep track of her weight loss program. She can see recommendations regarding portion size based on historical data of the day and the goals that she set herself initially by nutrient and by meal, which helps her decide how much food I need to eat to help me to achieve weight loss. Of course it still requires self-control and will power, but it’s helped Molly to take fitness and achieving an ideal weight more seriously. DietSensor App also integrates with Molly’s FitBit® fitness tracker among others, so she can use her activity data to customize her energy budget per day, which is like the final piece of the jigsaw.

For those of us watching their nutritional intake, seeking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, DietSensor is a great tool to help monitor and control food and drink intake and provide guidance to keep on track. It helps to see what we are putting into our body and how we can control food intake in order to hit goals.