Data on diabetes: Israeli personalised nutrition firm wants to bring digital nutrition to APAC

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nutrino's proprietary technology, FoodPrint, assesses how the effects of foods differ from person to person, as well as how an individual may react differently to the same type of food at different times.
Nutrino's proprietary technology, FoodPrint, assesses how the effects of foods differ from person to person, as well as how an individual may react differently to the same type of food at different times.
Israeli personalised nutrition firm Nutrino Inc. has plans to bring its data-driven approach to diabetes to APAC, where the disease is a major health problem in many countries.

In 2016, it embarked on a partnership with Irish medical device firm Medtronic. People who use the latter's continuous glucose monitors can connect to the Nutrino app for dietary advice and meal plans tailored to their carbohydrate intake and glucose levels.

This is supported by FoodPrint, Nutrino's proprietary technology that assesses how the effects of foods differ from person to person, as well as how an individual may react differently to the same type of food at different times.

Devices, data and diabetes

Co-founder and chief science officer Yaron Hadad told NutraIngredients-Asia​: "The tech we developed has many health applications, diabetes being one of them.

"We specialise in analysing two types of data. One is based on websites and images of foods people consume. Computer vision, deep learning, natural language processing and statistical models are used to analyse about two million different foods. The system then builds a gigantic graph that maps all these foods and how they are related to one another.

"The other type of data is regarding individual nutrition itself. We use mobile apps, wearable devices and continuous glucose monitors, as well as blood, DNA and genetic testing. Both types of data are combined to help people understand how their diet affects their bodies and health individually, and to find a tailored solution for better health."

In the case of type 2 diabetes, patients can obtain an electronic glucose monitor from their doctors, and download a related app. They are instructed to use it regularly, and to take photos of everything they eat for three days.

The app will automatically detect the user's photos of food and layer them on top of his glucose data. After three days, both patient and doctor will receive a report, in which each food the patient has eaten is scored from A to F (A being the healthiest). The report also details how the patient's body responds to different foods, and offers advice on how to improve his existing diet.

Hadad said, "Nutrition can be confusing for individuals, (especially when they want) to understand which diets or foods work best for them, so we decided to take a data-driven approach to help people understand their bodies and needs better.

"Different people have different glucose responses even when they eat the same foods, so there is no one-size-fits-all diet."

APAC application?

With a growing diabetes epidemic​ in APAC, Nutrino has taken an interest in Asia.

The company is currently testing its technology in India, though Hadad declined to reveal any details for the time being. He did, however, reveal that Nutrino plans to launch in China.

"There is a big trend around personalised nutrition and wearable devices in China. I can tell you that companies will launch antioxidant and blood pressure monitors, which could be interesting for such a big population. People with hypertension and diabetes — both common health issues there — will benefit from this."

He added: "The amount of investments in the world of digital health is huge.Digital nutrition (like what we do), however, is very difficult to achieve. No one has really cracked it, but we want to be one of the first companies to develop it."

He also expressed interest in entering Singapore, as well as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, where diabetes is a major concern. The firm opened its first US office in San Francisco in November 2016, and some of its partners have introduced its technology across Latin America, except in Brazil.

Later this year, this will extend to France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and the UK.

Hadad said that at the recent FoodTech IL event in Israel, Nutrino was approached by several public companies with the intention of partnering with the firm.

"This shows personalised nutrition is growing. Food companies are getting more interested in designing better foods tailored to individual needs. They want to better quantify and understand which foods are better for which audiences."

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