Last summer you saw more and more people walking with a small white “device” on their upper arm. So is a friend of mine. She told me she was tracking her blood sugar. Not because she has diabetes, but because she was curious about the effect her eating habits and lifestyle have on her blood sugar levels. I was fascinated by the measurement, but missed the depth: what else can you do with this information?
A few weeks later, a colleague asked me if I was interested in testing the app from Clear.bio, one of the portfolio companies of our company Horizon Flevoland. After looking at the website I definitely had. There was that piece of floor that I missed earlier; not only insight into the effect of nutrition on your body, but also receive tips and guidance to improve your eating pattern and your health. It seemed like an educational experiment to me.
Placing the sensor: piece of cake!
You might not expect it from someone with multiple tattoos, but I’m not a fan of needles. On the day I was supposed to start I was quite tense. Also because everything was captured on camera! Clear.bio co-founder Madelon and head of marketing Yvette were very friendly and passionate about the app and the experiences of other users.
I was completely absorbed in their story and the tensions faded into the background. Then it was time to install the sensor. Luckily I was allowed to do it myself. I put the applicator on my upper arm and was able to place the sensor myself without too much force. Piece of cake! After activating the app and some practical information, I was on my way again.
“Beforehand I was afraid that I would forget to measure. But I just forgot that it didn’t have to be done after every drink or snack!”
Information addiction: constant insight into the functioning of your body
It is a special sensation to suddenly have insight into the functioning of your body. Where I was afraid beforehand that I would forget to measure, I sometimes forgot that I did not necessarily have to put my phone on the sensor after every drink or snack. It was so fascinating to follow the line in the app. A nice extra is that you are also counting calories when logging your food and drinks. It never hurts to be aware of this.
One of the nicest features of the app is that a new tip is given every morning. These range from tips about your diet to tips to sleep better. The community is also interesting. This way you can exchange tips & tricks and read the experiences of others. Moreover, you can motivate each other! On the days that I work from home, I am not as physically active as on office days. Then it is good to take on a challenge with a few people. Because of this you go for an hour walk and you will at least get your steps.
Awareness: which foods and drinks cause high peaks?
The period of wearing the sensor was not what my life usually looks like. In the first week I had to leave for work for a few days and I even had a joint sports day. The second week I was back in my normal rhythm. The difference was clearly visible in the peaks I had. That makes sense, but it is certainly good to be aware of this.
For me, these two weeks revolved around “awareness”. Many conclusions were obvious: soft drinks and foods with carbohydrates give long high peaks and mandarins keep the line stable. Eating late can wake you up in the middle of the night and drinking plenty of water is always a good thing.
“The app has great added value: helpful people with a lot of knowledge who think along with you.”
And my body, for example, does not respond well to a vegetable smoothie from the store, but it does to the smoothies I make myself. That may sound logical. But you only really think about it when you see with your own eyes the effect certain choices have on your body.
On the other hand, I was surprised that a piece of milk chocolate did not give me a peak and had almost the same value as a piece of dark chocolate. That doesn’t make much difference for my blood sugar level, but it’s smarter to choose dark chocolate for the waistline.
And what do you do during a peak? One evening when I noticed that I was in a peak for a very long time, I used the chat. There was a quick response. On recommendation I drank a glass of water and walked a bit. I immediately saw the effect! I think this is the most added value of the app: helpful people who think along with you and have a lot of knowledge at hand.
Conclusion: to measure is to know
In two weeks I learned a lot about myself. If you want to know more about adopting a healthier lifestyle, you will quickly come across the most common tips that everyone knows. Such as “vegetable snacks with humus” or “a portion of fresh fruit”.
But sometimes you forget that you are an individual and that your body is unique. This means that not everything mentioned is also the best choice for you specifically. It is particularly good to pay attention to your body during the measurement: what will you notice if your values rise? Even without a sensor you still want to recognize the peaks.
Because I was less able to experiment with my diet due to the busy period, I will measure again for two weeks after the holidays. That way I can look even better at my eating habits. I will definitely do this again with Clear.bio!
Safiera – Communication officer Horizon Flevoland