Sugar, Yes Please

It’s been 6 years since I talked about the quantified self on my blog and mentioned that sugar intake was the one thing I really wanted to track more granularly (no pun intended!). Well, I finally got a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and it was not easy to get one.

I tried numerous times to get one from the US but without a doctors prescription they don’t just sell you one. So I just waited, then last year I heard about Levels in the US and figured I could get one from their service…nope. Luckily, there is a new startup in India called Ultrahuman that sells a CGM to anyone.

Ultrahuman Cyborg, Ultrahuman HQ or Ultrahuman? Dear Ultrahuman, pickup one and stick with it.

On July 2nd, I got on their waitlist. Then within 6 weeks I was sent an email to signup for the service. The service costs Rs. 6,000 a month and includes a glucose sensor that lasts 14 days. The sensors they use are the NFC-based Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 sensors.

I have been tracking the prices of these sensors in the US where they cost anywhere between $75-$125 per sensor which means you will be shelling out $150 to $250 a month. Of course, like I said you can’t just buy them you first need a doctors prescription and than hopefully your insurance will cover it. Which means either Ultrahuman is getting some crazy pricing discount or eating some of the cost to make it affordable in India. Considering that India has the highest number of diabetics in the world, you would think that Abbott would drop the price and make it up on volume.

What really surprised me is that Ultrahuman like several other startups in the US (Levels, Veri and NutriSense) are all relying on the same Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor.

I’m hoping the recent funding for Ultrahuman will allow them to put some of that money towards R&D to create their own glucose sensor. This would open up even more revenue opportunities for Ultrahuman and allow them to be a part of the Make In India initiative. In the interim, I hope that Ultrahuman moves to the new Libre 3 sensor that was recently launched in Germany.

Day 1

I have used the app and sensor for only 1 day so far and already I find the information VERY useful. I had a cup of chai in the morning and my sugar spiked to 160 which is the highest reading I have seen so far. Yes, I figured my sugar would spike but I didn’t know the magnitude of it until I could track it on a minute by minute basis.

I’m assuming as the platform gets more of my glucose data, I will get more detailed nudges and tips. There must be some gamification that will be coming and I’m looking forward to that. Maybe a meet up in cities with the top performers in the app. (Yeah, not sure how Covid-19 will wreck those plans.)

Like I said it’s been only one day but I would recommend anyone to at least try it for 1 month. The data you will glean about your eating habits will only help you in the long run.

I will be providing an update in one month about my progress and what I learned from my Ultrahuman CGM.

Lyrics from the song “Sugar” by Maroon 5

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