Home Blood Sugar Management How glucose trackers became status symbols

How glucose trackers became status symbols

by Dazed
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Continuous blood sugar monitors have been used by diabetics for years, but now tracking blood sugar levels has become the latest health trend. wealthy person

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in technology that monitors our health. The global digital health market in 2022 will be Valued at over $330 billionaccording to recent projections, this number is expected to exceed 650 billion by 2025. 46% of UK adults Some people say they use health monitoring technology like Apple Watch or Fitbit.

Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) have recently become particularly popular in health technology.Historically, CGMs have been used almost exclusively by diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels, but now increasing numbers Percentage of people without diabetes are starting to use them: former love island contestant For all my tech friends who are crazy about biohacking. brian johnson. This trend has been partially spread by many fitness programs such as: hello apple, Signos, Veriand better nutrition program All of these provide users with CGM to monitor blood sugar levels.

The most popular of these programs is definitely zoe, ‘Personalized Nutrition Services’, co-founded by Tim Spector, a genetic epidemiologist at King’s College London. It’s not cheap. The £299 ZOE Starter Pack includes a faecal sampling kit, finger prick blood test and CGM, but you’ll also need to pay a monthly membership fee of £24.99. Currently, ZOE has 130,000 subscribers and over 500,000 followers on his Instagram.

ZOE is marketed as a science-backed program that focuses on health rather than weight loss, and this feature is sure to appeal to today’s socially conscious consumers. “We don’t tell you what you can and can’t eat. And we don’t count calories. Instead, we add variety to our diet to improve our body’s response.” I’ll show you how to add food.” read. On the surface, this sounds like a painkiller to a long-standing dietary culture that has encouraged disordered eating.

But ZOE is not tell me Users can avoid indulgent foods altogether or encourage calorie counting, but it “scores” foods based on how much they raise blood sugar levels. When users wear a blood glucose monitor, they can see the impact of their choices in real time. “Through testing, you may discover that some of your favorite healthy snacks and meals are having a negative impact on your body.” they say. “For example, bananas have been shown to cause large blood sugar spikes in 25 percent of adults, leading to low energy and hunger.”

It’s true that bananas can raise blood sugar levels, but it’s unclear why this is important. If you don’t have diabetes, your pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which naturally regulates blood sugar levels. The reason diabetics monitor their blood sugar levels is because their bodies may not produce enough insulin. This means that your blood sugar levels tend to plummet or spike quickly. Wearing a CGM can help you decide when to take additional medication or eat to avoid your blood sugar levels rising or falling to dangerous levels.

Nicola GuessDazed, a nutritionist and researcher at the University of Oxford, said while there is nothing inherently wrong with people without diabetes using CGMs, there is “probably no need” for people who are not at risk of developing diabetes to track them. ” he said. Blood glucose level. “The truth is, we don’t actually know what peaks and dips mean in people who don’t have diabetes,” she explains. “Glucose is Extremely smallThere is a very small chance that it is part of the health of someone who does not have diabetes. […] I worry that we’re scaring people into thinking that every meal has to be a science experiment. ”


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For people who don’t have a medical reason to track their blood sugar levels, it’s easy to see how CGM use can be a gateway to unhealthy and restrictive attitudes toward food. chloe gray Freelance writer and fitness instructor. I tried ZOE in 2022she told Dazed that she found the experience “interesting” but was skeptical about whether it was good for people to have access to so much data about their bodies. “I’m always very curious to try new things and learn about my body, but I thought fitting a medical device might be a little far away,” she says, according to ZOE’s analysis. It added that her blood sugar control was concluded to be “poor”.

Although she stresses that her overall experience with ZOE was “pretty positive,” Gray decided to continue with the program long-term and quit after a few weeks. “I have a history of eating disorders and honestly can’t spend the time logging my food on an app,” she says. “I think other people might get too carried away with it. […] It’s very easy to see how people demonize “red” foods [which spike blood sugar] Rather than using it to show that we can eat a balanced diet. ”

Dr. Rachel Kent He is a lecturer at King’s College London. author,Host of Digital health diagnosed Podcast. “Since 2010, the proliferation of health tracking through apps and wearables has steadily increased, and many of us are now using health, I track my mood, different aspects of my daily life,” she says.Explaining what health technology can offer us This is based on “our personal performance in fitness level, the number of steps we take, the food we consume, and now the continuous rise in blood sugar levels that monitors our blood sugar levels.” ” is an unprecedented insight into

“I worry that we’re making people think every meal has to be a science experiment.” – Nicolas Guess

With the unyielding rise of health tech, it’s worth stopping and asking yourself: “What is all this for?” Do we really need this much knowledge about our bodies? Dr. Kent doesn’t think so, going so far as to suggest that CGM use can have negative health effects even for people who don’t need to monitor their blood sugar levels. “According to my research and other researchers, such data accumulation and compulsive or addictive self-monitoring can cause tremendous stress in people who are healthy and do not suffer from chronic illness or disease. We know that there is,” she said, adding that obsessive tracking is “a big problem. Good health may come to be perceived as something achieved through “excessive self-monitoring, increased responsibility of the individual tracker, and stress, guilt, and anxiety in daily life over time” there is. Gray agrees. “When you tell people that we all need to worry about what our bodies are doing, it becomes dangerous, obsessive and anxiety-inducing,” she added.

A quick look at the posts in the Facebook group for ZOE users reveals that these concerns are not unfounded. One person posted how much they miss eating biscuits. In the comments, users urge them to stay strong and keep moving forward. Another seemed horrified that her friend might end up eating “mac and cheese and ham, manghetto, and soft-stemmed broccoli” for dinner. No one in the group seems to think this is a cause for concern. People take pride in obsessively recording everything they eat: every slice of toast, every clove of garlic, every pinch of salt. There are striking similarities between the online community of CGM users and the ProAnaHis forum, with many of these users exhibiting the following characteristics: orthorexia Too.

Status symbols are a great measure of the zeitgeist of an era. For example, in the 17th century, the wealthy classes sought out pineapples as the centerpiece of their dinner parties. The cost of importing pineapples from the “New World” made them a symbol of exotic colonial luxury. With this in mind, what does our obsession with CGM and health technology say about life in the 21st century more broadly? Does it suggest that society is becoming increasingly individualistic? Masu. Being considered to be completely responsible for one’s own health. That health is now a privilege, and the pursuit of health has become a pastime for the wealthy (as ZOE’s hefty price tag might suggest). People are increasingly expected and encouraged to fend for themselves as institutions like the NHS are decimated.As James Greig writes Bittles“Without a secure safety net, a nervous obsession with one’s health is understandable.”

But while that’s understandable, it’s certainly not helpful, healthy, or necessary. “These trackers will encourage the adoption of medical lenses.” […] “We can now look inside our bodies in ways that were previously only available to clinicians and people with specific qualifications and expertise,” Dr. Kent said. There will be a lot of pressure on consumers to not only understand what the data is telling them,” he added. However, it is also necessary to interpret it accurately. ” Gray agrees that detailed analysis is best left to experts and is only necessary for people with actual health problems. “Nobody needs that much personal information. With obvious exceptions such as people with medical conditions, most people believe in eating plants and including a balanced diet in every meal.” It requires pretty much the same framework, including making sure it has the essential nutrients,” she says. In other words, try to eat a balanced diet of vegetables, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Try to move around as much as possible. Make sure you get enough sleep. If you don’t have an underlying disease, your body will take care of itself. You don’t need to buy expensive her CGM to know that.

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