Tag Archives: healthy eating

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!

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)!

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.

 

The Importance of Macronutrients in Weight Loss

Counting calories is an important part of making smarter nutritional choices. Dieticians, nutritionists, and fitness experts alike now recommend looking beyond the quantity of calories, and measuring the macronutrients of the food you eat in order to achieve weight loss goals. This is now being called macro dieting. Macro dieting aims to feed the body with ideal nutrients that can make it more efficient. Let’s be honest, dieting is not easy. But, good nutrition and an active lifestyle are essential components to being health. Creating new eating habits can start with understanding the breakdown of macronutrients and why they are so important.

What are macronutrients and what are the benefits of a macro diet?

Macro dieting balances the intake of three key macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Our body needs each of these for energy and to function properly. They are also needed for the development of new cells and the proper functioning of vital organs. Nutrition experts recommend macro dieting in order to make smarter choices about meals. As there are several health risks associated with an excessive intake of carbs and saturated fats, experts recommend a healthy balance of these macronutrients to meet health requirements.

Getting started with counting macronutrients

The amount of daily macronutrients intake and how they are distributed per day are influenced by many factors including morphology metabolism, level of physical activity, dietary habits, and any known chronic conditions.

Health experts advocate the following ratios: 45-55% of carbohydrates (45-55%), protein (15-25%), and fats (25-35%).

This equation and distribution become more complex for those with abdominal fat, diabetes, cardiovascular risk factors, or kidney problems. The first step is to determine the appropriate ratios that are best for you. This can be done with help from a certified dietitian, or a digital food tracking tool like DietSensor. Understanding the perfect breakdown of macronutrients is a goal worth striving for. With proper guidance and digital tools now available, you can start to see the results with your weight loss goals.

portion size control

Does Portion Size Really Matter for Healthy Eating?

There are different myths and misunderstood facts that circulate about weight-loss, health, fitness and food choice. Some of these are simply urban legends, while others may have been true at some point.  Today, there is overwhelming scientific evidence that weight-loss has a direct connection to the quality and quantity of the food that we eat.  While some may think or tell you that portion size doesn’t really matter if you’re eating healthily, we believe that portion control is important even though you are eating the healthiest of foods.

Let Portion Control Become Routine

Portion control can become a healthy routine to avoid diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or cardiovascular disease. There are various techniques used to measure portion control.  One is to compare food portion size to the size of object.  One cup of yogurt is equal to the size of a baseball or 3 oz. of meat to a deck of cards.

portion size control A recent study has demonstrated that using smaller plates can help to reduce portions of foods. Researchers from the Cornell University found that people who ate from smaller plates believed that they were eating on average 18% more calories than they actually were. Thus, they recommended that instead of using restaurant-sized plates, a regular dinner plate should be no bigger than 10 inches.

Find the method of portion control that is best for you and let it become a good habit for nutritious eating!

 

Global Obesity Epidemic – Time to Act Decisively

Obesity has reached the point of a global epidemic, according to a new report published by the World Health Organization (WHO).  A person is considered obese when their body mass index exceeds 30.  Today, obesity affects more than 2.8 million people each year and this number is increasing constantly.  Excess weight kills approximately 3.4 billion people every year.

Whether they are described as rich, poor or developing, all countries in the world are affected by obesity.  If, in the past, excessive weight gain was a challenge in high-income countries, nowadays the situation has changed and all countries are concerned.

And, obesity does not discriminate based on age.  Today, more than 1.4 billion twenty year olds globally are considered obese. This number is expected to increase to 3.3 billion by 2030.

Relationship between obesity and economic status

The countries with the highest obesity rates are not necessarily the richest, nor the most developed.

In the CIA’s World Factbook list, the United States of America is ranked 12th and the United Kingdom 27th among the most obese countries in the world.  This indicates that there is no direct relationship between obesity and economic status.

If we dig a bit deeper and analyze the CIA’s Word Factbook list, we will find out that smaller countries such as Naura, Marshall Islands, Kuwait and Samoa have the highest rate of obesity.

Food scarcity and decreasing purchasing power which characterizes poor and underdeveloped countries are the main reasons why these countries have the highest rate of obesity. People living in these countries have restricted access to balanced and healthy diet.  In some cases, their only option is eating easily available junk and fried foods.

Gender and Age Disparity

Gender and age are also factors that differentiate the rate of obesity between countries.

In the UK, USA, Australia and Canada, nearly 25% of men who are 18 years older or above are overweight or obese.  However, in South-East Asia, Africa and East Mediterranean, the rate of obesity among women outweighs the rate of obesity among men.

In some countries, women are often restricted to their homes thus having little scope to physical activities.

It has been reported to the WHO in 2013 that more than 42 million children not older than 5 years were suffering from obesity.

Obesity in the USA

Obesity is a major health problem in the US.  The rate of obesity in North America has continually increased in the last few decades.  Today, more than 78 million adults and 13 million children living in the US are considered obese, with 35% of the population with a body mass index that exceeds 30.

The American diet has historically contained a large amount of calorie rich, processed foods.  The good news is that more and more Americans today are replacing process foods in their diets with more fruit, vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods.

The world is now taking this phenomenon seriously.  Health experts and organizations around the world have set up an agenda for control and prevention. The increasing rate of obesity globally may now look bleak, but there is hope on the horizon.   


DietSensor is an innovative nutritional tracking tool for chronic disease management, weight loss, and overall health and wellness.   The solution comes with a mobile app and personalized coaching that helps individuals better manage their nutrition by providing accurate and easily accessible nutritional support.  With the mobile app and coach, you can create a personalized nutrition plan comprised of meal plans and targeted macro nutrient intake goals.

DietSensor connects to both the SCiO food scanner and Bluetooth digital scale, both optional devices.  The smart scale weighs food portions and sends the information directly to your mobile application for accurate food tracking.   With the pocketsize SCiO scanner, you can scan your food for accurate carbohydrate, protein, and lipid amounts.

DietSensor offers three plans:  Basic (free), Premium, and Ultimate.  Please visit our website to learn more:  https://www.dietsensor.com/packages/

Let DietSensor help you eat smart, and stay balanced.

fruit

Impact of Fruit Consumption on Blood Sugar Level

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

So goes one of the most popular English proverbs.  For most, regular fruit consumption will have a positive impact on overall health.  But those with diabetes are often told to avoid certain kinds of fruits, particularly those with a high level of fructose.  Managing blood sugar is the most challenging part of managing diabetes.

Conflicting reports create confusion as to the consumption of fruit.  On one hand, experts suggest that some fruits contain natural sugar, have a good mix of vitamins and minerals, and can lead to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.  On the other hand, others have suggested that adding fruits to daily meals can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Let’s take a closer look at the impact of fruit consumption on diabetes.

Fruit Consumption and Diabetes

fruitShould people with diabetes avoid fruits because of their sugar level?  Fruits are rarely the main culprit for high blood glucose levels.  You will not reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by eliminating fruits from your diet.   But, some fruits do contain higher levels of sugar.  These include:  pineapples (16 grams per slice), pears (17 grams per medium pear), watermelon (18 grams per wedge), and pomegranates (39 grams per fruit).

fruitWhat about fruit juices?  Unlike whole fruits, juices are rich in natural sugars and poor in fibre.  Some juices also contain added sugar.  Drinking large amounts of fruit juices can lead to higher risk of type 2 diabetes.  Nutrition experts advise to eat the actual fruit rather than drinking juices.

Get Portion Sizes Right

For people suffering from chronic diseases, it is important to regulate fruit consumption by eating the correct portion size.  To avoid glucose levels going-up, become more aware of your macro nutrient and caloric intake and determine the right portion size of fruit for your dietary needs.


DietSensor is an innovative nutritional tracking tool for chronic disease management, weight loss, and overall health and wellness.   The solution comes with a mobile app and personalized coaching that helps individuals better manage their nutrition by providing accurate and easily accessible nutritional support.  With the mobile app and coach, you can create a personalized nutrition plan comprised of meal plans and targeted macro nutrient intake goals.

DietSensor connects to both the SCiO food scanner and Bluetooth digital scale, both optional devices.  The smart scale weighs food portions and sends the information directly to your mobile application for accurate food tracking.   With the pocketsize SCiO scanner, you can scan your food for accurate carbohydrate, protein, and lipid amounts.

DietSensor offers three plans:  Basic (free), Premium, and Ultimate.  Please visit our website to learn more:  https://www.dietsensor.com/packages/

Let DietSensor help you eat smart, and stay balanced! 

Plan, scan, measure, and eat smart!

 

DietSensor’s New Premium Plan Offers Smart Food Suggestions

It is no easy task to navigate the endless directions and advice from thousands of food experts.  Nor is it easy to stick to an daily nutrition recommendation.  Did I eat the recommended 15% of the daily intake of proteins? What about 50% of carbohydrates?

At DietSensor, eating healthy is what we do. The new DietSensor solution will help you to stay balanced. Our team of doctors and nutritionists have designed a new Premium plan that will make it easy for you to achieve your goals.

Most importantly, DietSensor makes meal planning, food tracking and portion control easy, accurate and quick, by perfectly balancing each meal with the foods you like in mere seconds!

Key Benefits:

  • Count Calories and Nutrients:  The DietSensor mobile app counts calories and nutrients and lets you know how much of each you have available for your next meal.
  • Personalized for You:  Everything is personalized to your health profile and weight loss goal. The data relies on scientific evidence and avoids marketing diets that can be harmful.
  • Quick and Easy:  In less than 4 clicks, you can compose a balanced meal, guided by our Food Suggestions tool.

Nutritional recommendations are calculated for your profile in real time and translated into compatible food suggestions.  The DietSensor Food Suggestions tool makes it possible to treat yourself while meeting your goals.  Meal planning is made easy by DietSensor.

Client Testimonial:

“I always thought I could achieve weight loss just by cutting fats.  I have been proven wrong many times. Since I started to use DietSensor, I realized that I was depriving myself of important nutrients and that the number of carbs I ate for each meal was preventing me losing weight.”  – November 2016


DietSensor is an innovative nutritional tracking tool for chronic disease management, weight loss, and overall health and wellness.   The solution comes with a mobile app and personalized coaching that helps individuals better manage their nutrition by providing accurate and easily accessible nutritional support.  With the mobile app and coach, you can create a personalized nutrition plan comprised of meal plans and targeted macro nutrient intake goals.

DietSensor connects to both the SCiO food scanner and Bluetooth digital scale, both optional devices.  The smart scale weighs food portions and sends the information directly to your mobile application for accurate food tracking.   With the pocketsize SCiO scanner, you can scan your food for accurate carbohydrate, protein, and lipid amounts.

DietSensor offers three plans:  Basic (free), Premium, and Ultimate.  Please visit our website to learn more:  https://www.dietsensor.com/packages/

Let DietSensor help you eat smart, and stay balanced!  Plan, scan, measure, and eat smart!

DietSensor that Targets Diabetes and Obesity Launches in Android

DietSensor is now available for Android 5 and 6 in 19 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and USA. The first version of Android gives free access to the Basic Plan plus SCiO for a limited period of time. When it expires, the users will be prompted to download the latest version and subscribe to the Ultimate Plan or the Premium Plan at a reduced price to be able to use SCiO. Don’t wait too long to order your SCiO, our inventory will decrease quickly.

google-avai

It is to be noted that the iOS accounts cannot be opened in the Android version of DietSensor. iOS users willing to shift to Android must create another account using a different email. Both versions contain the same features. The product will be demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017 at Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will be held from 5th to 8th January. Stay tuned for fresh news!

Keeping Diabetes in Control During the Holidays

The holidays are a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family.  However, these gatherings are often centered on a meal – which can make things very challenging for individuals with diabetes.  Too much worry about portion selection can induce stress and anxiety.  The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests to start meal planning in advance.  This way, individuals with diabetes can sample and enjoy appropriate portions of their meal without having to guess at nutritional values.

Read the full article on: www.diabetes.org