What does a blood sugar sensor tell us about your biology?

August 20, 2020

Our ZOE at-home test kit contains everything you need to better understand your biology from the comfort of your own home.

Open the box and you’ll find a set of standardized muffin-based test meals, finger prick blood tests, and a gut health test kit for analyzing the microbes in your gut. There is also a blood sugar sensor that measures your glucose levels continuously throughout the test period. Here’s how it works.

How does the sensor work?

We use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to measure your glucose levels continuously for up to 14 days. Unlike traditional blood sugar monitoring, using this small sensor to track changes in sugar levels does not involve finger prick tests to measure glucose in your blood. Instead, it measures the glucose concentration in your interstitial fluid (a thin layer of fluid that surrounds the cells of the tissues below your skin).

For simplicity, however, we use the term 'blood sugar' to describe the change in glucose levels following a meal.

Why do we monitor blood sugar?‍

We use a blood sugar sensor in the ZOE program to help understand your responses to foods. When you eat, the levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood increase, until they're taken up into your body cells for energy or storage. Unhealthy blood sugar responses, which are characterized by large spikes and dips, can leave you feeling lousy, hungry and tired and are linked to a number of negative long-term health outcomes, including chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Measuring how your blood glucose levels rise and fall after eating both standardized test meals and all of the other foods that you love helps us to better understand your personal responses to foods. We can compare your blood sugar responses to thousands of other people who have taken part in our studies and provide you with personalized recommendations for the best foods for your biology to help you eat in a way that minimizes dietary inflammation.

How to apply your blood sugar sensor

To ensure that the blood sugar sensor is activated and calibrated properly in time for your first standardized muffin test meal, you will need to apply it on the first day of your ZOE test. While it is designed to allow you to apply it by yourself, it is often easier to get someone to help you. We recommend applying the sensor to your non-dominant arm.

Here’s our nutritionist Haya with step-by-step instructions and some top tips for applying your blood sugar sensor.

What does all of this data tell us?

Our data scientists take all of the data from your blood sugar sensor, information from the finger prick blood tests, details about your microbiome, and the information you’ve logged in the ZOE test app about your meals, drinks and snacks to better understand your unique biology.

By comparing your results to thousands of other people who have eaten the same standardized test muffins and logged their food and drink intake using the ZOE Test app, we can get a picture of your blood fat and sugar control.

This allows us to provide you with a holistic insights report that includes your blood sugar and fat control, personalized ZOE scores for thousands of different foods, gut microbiome analysis, and recommendations tailored to your biology.