Metabolic

Can know-how assist us be more healthy?

Losing those stubborn pounds is a very real struggle for many, and for those with lifestyle ailments like diabetes, drug dependence is lifelong. But what if it didn’t have to be like that? What if every person just reacts differently to different types of food and is therefore more prone to obesity or diabetes? This is the idea that has inspired a number of startups to use technology to transform healthcare by streamlining the way we eat to prevent and reverse lifestyle diseases. This new group of founders, many of whom are struggling with lifestyle ailments themselves, aims to improve metabolic health and increase energy levels with personalized food and fitness roadmaps. You use monitors and apps to track a range of markers – from blood sugar and gut microbiome to sleep and stress levels – and choose foods that are best for you. Their work is based on a mindset that takes the blame off of being overweight or diabetic. It’s not that you have no self-control, they tell you, it’s that nobody explained to you how your metabolism works. This is still a minority view in the medical world, but for those who have tried these methods and seen results, it has been life changing. Our cover story explores the science behind personalized nutrition, a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide that is growing rapidly in India.

Pivots, digitization and startups seem to run through the stories in this issue. The pandemic has brought traditional artists online, forcing them to use social media to sell their work. It’s a slippery slope – they’ve finally made a shift that should have come sooner, but they’re also competing with bigger brands that have digital marketing muscles. We have a story of the challenges startups face in the private sphere, from finding technical expertise to providing financial support for their efforts to study the cosmos. Also in this issue is a profile of B. Amrish Rau of Pine Labs, provider of the technology that powers credit card swipe machines, and he says fintech is one of the fastest moving away from the Covid-19 blow has recovered. The debates about too much technology and too little privacy continue, but there is no question that it improves the quality of life.

Write to the lounge editor shalini.umachandran@htlive.com @shalinimb

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