Review of Glucose Advisors Engine 1—A Type 1 Exercise App
The Glucose Advisors (engine 1) mobile app came out just last month and was designed initially as creator Cliff Scherb said, “for selfish reasons.” He explains, “I wanted to be the fastest triathlete I could be, which means I couldn’t be going low during a competition. You don’t want to go low walking, let alone running a triathlon.”
Glucose Advisors is the first real-time decision support system for nutrition and activity for someone with type 1 diabetes. For starters, the app asks detailed background questions to get to know you and your diabetes management. You enter your personal information, current insulin regimen, blood sugar levels and food intake in a clear and concise format. The questions are tailored to your needs and individualized, based on how you manage your blood sugar levels. The layout of the app is extremely user-friendly; it’s easy to use.
With all of your information logged, the app takes over and determines the best food, insulin recommendations and advice based on the intensity of your exercise. The app knows exactly how to maintain your personalized optimal blood sugars, and gives you alerts if you are headed toward any hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic episodes, which is hugely helpful when you’re working out! As a former college athlete, I know that being able to prevent this only improves your performance.
The constant log of blood glucose, insulin dosages and food intake also encourages you to stay on top of your diabetes on a daily basis. For tracking your blood glucose levels, you can access the Bluetooth settings to connect your continuous glucose monitor (CGM) readings directly to the app. However, you do have to manually check your blood sugars before and after exercise to ensure accuracy.
I was very impressed with the food tracker. I always have had trouble tracking food in other circumstances because of the amount of time and effort that it takes. For engine 1, you can manually enter the nutritional facts, take a picture of the food’s barcode, or search your type of food in app database. Additionally, you can preselect favorite foods, which gives the app the power to let you know when and how much of that certain food to take before during and post exercise. The app can literally choose the best food option for you based on activity type, blood sugar and insulin dosing.
There are several activities that engine 1 lets you choose from, which broadens your ability to track a variety of exercises. You can choose running for different paces, lifting weights, golf and even paddle boarding. The app acts as a mind reader for your pancreas when you are in the middle of exercise, so you don’t have additional distractions.
I was alerted that I was approaching a low in the middle of a long run, and I was able to act accordingly before I could felt symptomatic. I was amazed at the way the app could let me know further in advance about a hypoglycemic episode than I’d ever experienced before. The amount of carbs that I was prompted to consume added up to exactly the amount of carbs that I would take normally if I was low. I was impressed.
Exercising with type 1 diabetes can be very hard to predict. The average person doesn’t know what type of exercise will do what to their blood sugar because the effects are so different for each person. Engine 1 gives you an individualized plan though, of how your body will react to different types of exercise and how you can stay in your optimal blood sugar range.
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