Can drawing blood help improve your eating habits?
Jab up to fuel right
If you’re anything like us, you were probably told not to stick things in yourself. Sounds like pretty solid advice, right? Well, not for the folk at Veri, where they’ve whipped up some pretty snazzy metabolism tracking tech. Unlike other metabolism trackers that more-or-less breathalyse you, Veri taps straight into your blood for more accurate readings.
What’s the point of all this, you may wonder. Using some rather clever science, tracking your metabolism allows you to tweak your eating habits to meet certain goals. For example, you can eat more carbs to get a boost of extra energy. Or at least that’s what they say.
To put this to the test, we’ve gone and stuck some more needles into our bodies for some seriously involved gadget testing. You can’t say we’re not committed to tech. We’ll be using Veri’s metabolism trackers to determine how well does metabolism tracking work. Can it really be used to hack your body?
Needle-point: how does metabolism tracking work?
We don’t want to delve too deep into the science here, but metabolism tracking essentially measures your glucose level. To measure this, you do have to walk around with the monitor nestled in your arm. Rather than taking readings from your blood, it actually looks at the interstitial fluid between your cells. So don’t worry – there’s no tapping into veins required.
From reading your glucose, Veri can work out spikes in your blood sugar levels. Using this, it’s possible to work out whether your body is using fat or carbohydrates as fuel. What’s the point in all of this? Well, it helps you to understand the effect that the food you eat has on your body a little more. We’re not talking the “eating way too much makes you gain weight” type of effects, but rather how your body processes food as fuel.
This can help you to achieve different goals. Whether you’re looking to optimise performance in workouts or simply have more energy throughout the day, understanding how your body uses food can help you achieve these goals. Or at least that’s the idea behind it all. And things are a lot easier than they might sound.
Number-heavy: using Veri’s tracker and data results
Setting up the Veri tracker is really quite easy. The sensor comes with an application kit, and you just click the two together. Once you’ve wiped down your arm, you simply press down on the sensor, and it’ll stick to your arm. While we’ve called it a needle, it’s actually a more flexible filament – but it’s still pointy enough to go through your skin. Doing this really doesn’t hurt at all. It’s barely noticeable, far less so than a blood test or injection. We didn’t believe Veri’s claims on this… but they’re right (thankfully).
Once installed, there’s a handy little cover to place over it for protection and to keep it secured. From there, you can start using the monitor. To take a reading, you open a separate app, and tap your phone to the sensor using NFC. All the data gets sent from the monitor to your phone. The monitor takes measurements of your blood glucose continuously, so when you take a reading, it sends all of these results at once. But it’s blindingly quick!
From there, you can start using the Veri app. Veri asks you to input your meals, and also syncs up to Apple Health or Google Fit for your workout data. Using all of this, it can calculate a score for the meal out of ten. You’ll also receive a daily score on your glucose, so you know how well (or unwell) you’re eating.
Super-snazzy or pretty-trashy: can metabolism tracking hack your body?
While there’s no questioning that Veri’s tech works, things get a little more complicated when looking at how much metabolism tracking can help you. Rather than giving you all the answers, the system educates you, so you can understand. For example, Veri won’t tell you why your glucose level spiked after a meal, you have to look at the meal and work that out. You can work that out, by breaking your meal down into its macros – but Veri doesn’t help you do that. Nor does the meal score.
Let’s take my breakfast of Greek yoghurt, granola, fruit, and protein powder for example. This scored a rating of a 9, presumably because it contains a good amount of fat and carbohydrates. Looking at the raw glucose measurement, it actually dropped slightly after eating the meal. Fats are supposed to have a pretty negligible effect on blood sugar, but carbohydrates raise them. So, we’re left a little confused by the reading dipping, while the score is presumably high because the meal leaves me using stored fats. As you can see, without much explanation from Veri, things get quite complicated.
So to fully reap the benefits of hacking your food, there’s going to be some commitment required. Once you’ve learnt how carbohydrates in your meals affect your glucose, you can begin to tweak your meals from there to suit your goals. But that’s a lot of work for you to get involved in – more akin to the serious health nuts rather than the everyday person.
Yes, metabolism tracking can help hack your body and your eating. But you’ll have to put the work in to get it to do so. Your little friend with a needle can only do so much, and this certainly isn’t a fast-track way to abs or heaps of extra energy. We’ve got some carbs to continue to avoid.