Personalised nutrition app uncovers how hormonal cycle impacts blood sugar control

By Nikki Hancocks

- Last updated on GMT

getty | martin-dm
getty | martin-dm

Related tags personalised nutrition women's health Blood sugar

A personalised nutrition app using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) is finding itself a niche in supporting women to reduce symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle through better blood sugar control.

Austrian startup Hello Inside was developed to 'empower' consumers ito reduce their energy spikes and crashes through better blood sugar control knowledge.

Launched in May 2022, the app has hit the mark with female consumers who have been made aware of a change in their blood sugar responses throughout the month and have started to use the data to help them reduce premenstrual symptoms, such as sugar cravings and fatigue.

“Blood sugar is so much more than just something for people with diabetes to consider, especially for women,” argues the company’s head of nutrition, Marie-Luise Huber.

”There is such a need to communicate this with women and tell them some hacks and tips and tricks to make the whole cycle experience so much more pleasant.

“We don’t need to feel so tired and we don’t need to have cravings just before bleeding starts, there’s a reason you are feeling that way and it’s all connected with hormones.”

She explains that insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar and this has an ever-changing interplay with the two main female hormones throughout the month.

"If you eat something your blood sugar goes up and the body releases insulin to bring the blood sugar down.

“Dependant on where you are in your cycle the female hormones - oestrogen and progesterone - have different ratios.

“During the first half of the cycle [the follicular phase] oestrogen is higher which makes the body more responsive to insulin so we will do better with carbs.

“In the second half of the cycle [the luteal phase], progesterone is higher so we are less insulin sensitive, making it harder for our body to metabolise the carbs.

“In the luteal phase, we are able to bring blood sugar back down but it’s more likely to happen with a crash. This causes our brain to want the energy again which causes cravings for high energy, sugary, foods and that’s where you can get on the blood sugar roller coaster.”

Huber says this app does not suggest what people should or shouldn’t eat but instead provides blood-sugar ‘hacks’.

“We suggest if they want to eat something sweet, to go for a walk afterwards to reduce the spike.

“The app provides general education on good blood sugar control through nutrition and other pillars of lifestyle.”

Huber says the app gets an average of 2.6 ‘marked events’ (information uploads) per user per day, showing strong engagement.

And analytics of their data reveals very positive results.

“We know that 60%of our users have reduced their cravings with better blood sugar balancing choices, 70% say they feel better and more in tune with themselves, and a further 70% feel more energised and less tired after their meals.”

The app will also instigate experiments, such as asking female users to eat certain foods at different times in their cycle to see how the sugar spikes change.

“We are trying to create those ‘aha’ moments that help people to understand the science behind their feelings.

“We try to empower them to choose what they want to change rather than giving them a suggested diet.”

The app is currently available in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France and the UK, with users usually choosing to pay for two sensors (each worn for two weeks) and a three month subscription for €199, allowing them to use the monitor at the start and end of their three month course to see how their changes have impacted their responses.

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