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.