#37 A Conversation with Kara Collier, RD | Co-Founder of Nutrisense
CGMs: A Powerful Tool to Consider for Proactive Health in the New Year
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In this week's episode:
#37 A CONVERSATION WITH KARA COLLIER | CO- FOUNDER OF NUTRISENSE
In this critical conversation, we're tackling the health of 38.4 million Americans with diabetes and nearly 100 million adults with prediabetes. Our focus? The game-changing continuous glucose monitor (CGM) – a revolutionary tool beyond painful finger pricks, transforming how we understand metabolic health. For those battling preventable diseases, CGMs are powerful weapons.
This episode's guest, Kara Collier, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and VP of Health at Nutrisense, is on a mission to make CGMs accessible to all. A Forbes 30 under 30 recipient, Kara sheds light on CGMs as catalysts for behavior change, empowering individuals to learn more about their bodies.
Get ready for a transformative conversation about the power of continuous glucose monitors, paving the way for proactive healthcare, preventing chronic conditions, and promoting overall well-being. Kara's insights are about to revolutionize your perspective on your body, blood sugar, and taking action on health changes!
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Heather Young: Welcome to the Critical Conversations podcast.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, it was a defining moment that was very distinct, but kind of built up over time. So for a little bit more context on what I was doing in the healthcare system, I was primarily working in critical care nutrition. So I was working in the ICUs with patients that were, you know, very acutely ill. And what you might expect in an ICU is people showing up with gunshot wounds or severe trauma, And that typically wasn't the case. Usually what people were showing up with were acute complications related to lifestyle related chronic health conditions. And so what I was seeing over and over was that there was a lot of what I believe to be unnecessary suffering that I was seeing. So, you know, it's an example of maybe it is uncontrolled diabetes where somebody comes in and acute kidney failure or, you know, acute kidney failure due to heart disease. And so there's all these different situations that were coming in, people needing an amputation because of uncontrolled glucose levels. And what I realized was that if we could catch people a lot sooner and be more preventative or proactive in their health, and if we could give them truly the right tools to help them through some of these situations, None of these scenarios might have even happened in the first place. And so it was an accumulation of seeing this suffering day in and day out. And then also the lack of motivation for behavior change that you see when people get to that stage. It's very difficult to truly drive meaningful behavior change for somebody who's done the same lifestyle habits decade after decade. And now they're 50 years old and, uh, you know, that's much more difficult to change that behavior. Kind of the third component there were that some of the traditional dietetic interventions that you might see in a hospital or traditional nutrition settings were not that effective. So maybe you finally do have somebody who's really motivated to change, and instead what they're seeing is a diabetic-friendly hospital meal, and they're wondering if this is what they should replicate at home, and you're trying to erase everything that they're seeing around them and teach them something else, and it's all just a system that isn't built to make a difference in that type of way. Um, kind of a last straw for me was a moment where I spent months and months with a proposal trying to remove soda from the patient trays. Um, they were a part of, you know, the standard meals that we were giving to people in the hospital. If you were a diabetic, you got a diet soda, but you might've also gotten a juice that was essentially a soda. And I did all this research and all of this analysis of how it would be cost-saving, why it's more effective, and I talked to every stakeholder in the hospital till I was blue in the face, and nobody cared. It became very clear that it was going to be… near impossible to make the difference in the way that I wanted to within the current system. So that's when I decided to stop trying to fight the system and instead create my own solution that I thought and believe and still believe would make some sort of meaningful impact on some of those core issues that I saw each day in the healthcare system.
Heather Young: I didn't work in hospitals, Jennifer, you did. And I know for a fact that you would talk to me all the time about what was coming in on the trays, but more importantly, that disconnect between what was happening in the hospital and what you were going to recommend for outside care when they left.
Jennifer Klotz: Yeah, I think that really resonated with me because every time I would go in and try and educate, there would either be a nurse you know, talking to them and trying to talk to them at the same time or a doctor, they would be completely overwhelmed with their current diagnosis. And you're supposed to be in there helping to enact change based on this overwhelming life event that just happened. And it became very obvious that this was not the place where you were going to transform someone's life. It was the place where someone got a second chance to choose to walk out and create change, but creating that change within the environment was very difficult. And so same with you, many aha moments of realizing, wait, if If change is going to happen, it has to happen before people reach the hospital. It's not going to happen within the hospital. And that was such an overwhelming revelation for me because I totally thought I was going to be working in the hospital. And to transfer what that dream was and realizing how you make an impact outside of that. I'm sure you had it too, where you're like, okay, wait, the change that I thought I was going to be creating isn't going to happen here, so now what do I do? Right, exactly. And so what led you to going into the world of blood sugar and diabetes and jumping into being like, okay, let's figure out how to bring a continuous glucose monitor to the average person?
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah. So when I finally decided to leave the hospital, um, I went to a nutrition software startup where I got some exposure into software and business relationships and entrepreneurship. But while I was at that startup, I was really still thinking about some of these core issues I was seeing in the hospital, as you mentioned. And I was spending all of that time researching and looking into kind of what is the core issue at play here? Because then what is the one thing that we can do that moves the needle the most and is addressing a core issue rather than band-aid approaches? And the more I dug into the literature, the more I talked to people, the more I thought about my patients I had previously seen, the more it really pointed to metabolic health specifically as that core foundation that is gonna make the biggest impact. It's not everything, but if you can really improve your metabolic health, if you think about it as like a 80-20 rule, it's one of the biggest bang for your bucks of truly driving meaningful, lasting health changes. So then when I really started thinking about, well, how do we drive improvements in metabolic health, eventually came to the tool that is the continuous glucose monitor or CGM, which I'm sure we'll dive into a lot more. But one of the reasons that I found that piece of information, that hardware so interesting, is because not only does it give you some insight into your metabolic health, but it's also real time data and immediate feedback. And that's what really drives behavior change. We can have a highly motivated patient. We can have a highly educated and knowledgeable, um, you know, nutrition or healthcare practitioner, but it's still sometimes not enough to truly make that lasting behavior change. Because it can be difficult to actually implement the things you need to do or want to do. And so that data component, and especially that live real-time personalized data component, is what helps kind of close that loop and drive lasting behavior change. And so once I started testing the CGMs on myself, on my friends and my family, and I saw how meaningful it was and how it turned information into action, that's when I knew there was something to that and that this data could be used in such a more widespread manner than how it's currently being traditionally used within the healthcare system.
Heather Young: I do think it is a little bit guarded as far as who's getting access to that data right now and limited in that people who are managing blood sugar with fingerprint pricks and some of those common modalities, they aren't getting that full snapshot. So for anyone who's never heard of a continuous glucose monitor, I think we should pause right here and just make sure that they know what that is and how that's different from what they may think of when they think of blood sugar data and monitoring.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, absolutely. So I'll call it CGM moving forward. So the continuous glucose monitor, it is a small like quarter sized device and you put it on either the back of your arm or sometimes you put it on your abdomen, depending on which brand you're going with. And you put it on at home. So I describe the application as kind of like an easy button. So essentially you push the button and it's stuck to the back of your arm and it's just that easy. You really don't feel it at all. But what's happening is that the small microfilament goes just below the surface of the skin and then it is able to detect your glucose levels in real time. 24-7 for two full weeks. So the piece of hardware lasts for two weeks and then you peel it off like a band-aid, you toss it off, and then if you want to use another one you would put another one on. So that's where it's different than maybe a wearable like an Apple Watch that you have one time piece of hardware and you wear it all the time. This lasts for two weeks and then you have to do a new one. But while it is on for that two weeks you can use your phone or any type of app depending on the service to scan over that CGM and then you're going to get updated real-time information that's showing your glucose levels. And so what is different with this type of tool compared to a a glucometer or a finger prick. So people might be familiar with this. You can buy them at CVS, you can order it on Amazon. They're usually really cheap and you prick your finger, you get a drop of blood and then you read your glucose value at that moment in time. And that's interesting. It does provide a lot of information and it is significantly cheaper than a CGM, but you can think about the difference as in a snapshot in time versus a movie. So the glucometer is going to tell you what your glucose levels are right then Right now whereas the CGM is going to show you a movie of your glucose for that full two weeks You're gonna see how it's changing how it's fluctuating and then there's no pricking, you know There's no blood being drawn during that two-week time period so you're gonna get a lot more information in a short amount of time for No, you know no blood meaning to be drawn which is a huge benefit. Of course. Nobody really drill truly enjoys pricking their finger
Jennifer Klotz: It is awful. It's awful. I'll say it.
Heather Young: It's awful. So I have used one of these. I've actually used yours, NutriSense, and the first thing I was surprised by, I was very sure I would feel it when I put it on. I had that moment where I was like, Be brave, because it's new. Nothing. It just snaps right in. And it is like an easy button. It even has that kind of a feel to it, where you get this big, big button to push. And it's highly easy and effective. Now, what you just described, I think, is the key point for people to get. This thing, when it goes on, it's giving you continuous, real-time data of your blood sugar. And when you're doing the finger strips, you're choosing the times you check. So that relies on your education about when it matters, what things matter, and if you can recognize your symptoms where it might be good to check your blood sugar. When I did this, I was surprised at just seeing all the other things that would affect blood sugar that no one's talking about because it's not mainstream education. So many things affect blood sugar and that CGM lets you see that that effect or that impact is happening. So with that in mind, would you say that one of the bigger misconceptions around blood sugar is that it's food and you're tracking food and then the CGM can help you see that there are other things that make a difference?
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, absolutely. I think when people first use the CGM or first hear about it, they're expecting two things, you know, they're expecting one, you know, will this tell me if I have diabetes or not, you know, associating it purely with diabetes rather than this kind of broader category of metabolic health, longevity, how you feel your energy levels, there's all these other benefits to normalizing your glucose levels. And then the second thing that people expect is that my glucose is only going to fluctuate when I eat sugar or junk food. And I already know my blood sugar goes up when I eat candy. So why do I need to know that with a CGM? And it's just so much more nuanced than that. There's a lot of different variables and factors that will influence our glucose levels. And then even within some things like more carbohydrate dense foods, whether it's sugar or sweet potatoes or berries. we have really unique glucose responses to different foods. So how I respond to something is not going to be the same response you have. Even if on a population level, it averages out to be, you know, a predicted glycemic index, how I as an individual respond is going to be different. You know, we're not all going to have these same exact glucose responses to the same meal. So you learn what those nuances are and you also learn all these other factors that might affect your glucose level and it drives behavior change. There's this knowledge gaining stage. And it really depends on how much information you know going into it. It might be one month or it might be six months where you're really just learning things, learning how you respond to different meals, different routines, different habits. And then it kind of shifts where instead of 80% knowledge being gained, 20% behavior change, it's more 20% new knowledge gained and 80% behavior change where it's like, Yeah, I know when I eat ice cream at 10pm, my glucose is really bad over the night and I get cruddy sleep. But unless I have the data holding me accountable, it's really hard to say no to it. So it shifts to an accountability partner at some point in time for people.
Jennifer Klotz: Yeah, I think that's one of the amazing parts about this is helping people to take ownership of their uniqueness, of what impacts their health versus someone else. Because yes, some people can eat ice cream before bed and it won't impact them the same way someone else will be impacted by it. And I think that's an amazing part of this tool is helping to increase what I would call body knowledge and people being able to recognize, wow, it's It's more than just a statement. It's different when you actually see your body responding in the way that science, quote unquote, or someone told you would happen. You get to actually see, well, what did your body do? And that makes it an exciting tool that way, because then you can see, wow, I can choose to do this behavior, right? But maybe I don't want to now that I see what response I get from it. And so it still keeps the ownership of the change within the person, but it allows them to evaluate the data themselves and be empowered by it because they're learning from it outside of someone else just managing it and telling them what to do.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Absolutely. 100%. What it does is exactly what you're saying, where it really drives that intrinsic motivation. So the motivation and empowerment that comes from within. And as anybody who works with patients or people know, is that intrinsic motivation is what's going to drive those sticky long-term habits. And that's where you're going to see results. You know, we've all either personally been in the situations or worked with people who They're making good progress. They're sticking to their goals. And then they kind of, you know, fall off the wagon, maybe regain their weight or go back to wherever their baseline was. And then they cycle through and it's kind of that up down yo-yoing dieting or health habits. And that's what we really want to avoid, right? We want something that is sustainable. The key to success is not, you know, sexy, sophisticated information, but it's consistency. So it's like, how do we truly drive consistent habits? Like some of that is, of course, information and knowledge, but it is much more meaningful to follow a plan and a set of habits when you know it works for you versus it feeling like generalized recommendations. What we hear over and over from our members is, you know, I've always read or heard that I should go on walks after me or, you know, after I eat or that I should get good sleep or like maybe sometimes some basic habits, but it's like, I'm getting a lot of information and I don't know which ones to prioritize or which ones work. And so, When you try these habits out and you see, wow, these, you know, top three habits really make the biggest difference for me. It's so much more meaningful to then actually do those. And our brains love that immediate feedback. That's why social media is so powerful, right? You get a like, you get feedback immediately on something. Our brains are hardwired for immediate gratification. So the quicker that we can get that either immediate consequence where it's like, Ooh, I had a really big glucose spike. Like that's not as exciting anymore to eat that thing. Or, ooh, I did that thing and it really lowered my levels and I felt better and I slept better. That immediate gratification also really helps to drive that behavior change.
Heather Young: Yeah well said. Circling back around to what you noted is I think this does show your what we call essentials where you can see your heavy hitters because right now we all have so much information coming at us as to what we should do and the checklist of shoulds is very long but when you're tackling something like blood sugar the CGM shows you what your big hitters are so that your brain which is overloaded with all of these pieces of advice and things you should be doing to be healthy can quickly pick up on yes, but if I always pair my meals with enough protein, I don't hit those levels that take my blood sugar over the edge, or yes, if I take that walk, it is always effective, and then it can simplify what you commit to, which really makes a difference when you can find out what your essentials are for you as a human. So with that in mind, the GCM, for people who have never seen one, they don't understand, it's gonna show you a top range and a low range. So it's actually giving you this idea or the sense of what normal versus optimal glucose levels are. And for me, the surprise was I didn't understand that I was hitting the bottom way too frequently. And it comes from my health journey, which is another story, but it hits both ends of the spectrum. And so for someone who's like me, who has more of that hypoglycemia and struggles with that, what would you say that the GCM can show them or can how can it can help pinpoint to underlying causes?
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, absolutely. And it is something that a lot of non-diabetics specifically come to us having. either experienced symptoms of hypoglycemia, which might be things like feeling shaky, dizzy, nauseous, sweaty, or maybe they have had an actual diagnosis of non-diabetic hypoglycemia. So often they'll come and or, you know, they might not know that they are having hypoglycemic events. And as you mentioned, they'll see it on the data for the first time, and then they'll be able to put together those subjective experiences to that more objective data. And that's another just general benefit of connecting data with the way you feel is then you start to train and connect that mind body connection, even both at high glucose levels at low glucose levels, you can start to connect how you feel with a certain number. And then that helps you when you're not wearing the sensor or you don't have the data in front of you to know what that feeling is like. But specifically for hypoglycemia, there's two scenarios that we see often. One would be categorized more as reactive hypoglycemia, where the other is more of a fasted state hypoglycemia. And typically they're a little different and the causes are typically different and how you might approach them also differs a little bit. With reactive, it's much more common. And this is the scenario where you might have a cup of juice on an empty stomach, and you see a large glucose spike, and then you see it crash down afterwards. And the glucose level after that spike is even lower than when your glucose was before you drank the juice. And typically, that is associated with feelings of tiredness and energy crash, maybe eating stimulates hunger afterwards as your body is telling you that you need more food, you need to bring your glucose back up. And a lot of times this is due to that acute intake or, you know, quick meal of something of a more refined carbohydrate or sugary consumed, typically beverage, but it could be a meal in general. And so this might happen if you're eating something like that, when you, after a long fast, or maybe, um, if you have been really cutting calories and then you have a really high carbohydrate meal, um, sometimes it can be more in the instance of some GI issues, such as if you've had, um, IBS or SIBO or bariatric surgery where your digestion is affected. And then with that, we're really going to adjust the composition of your meal and also maybe the timing or in what situation you're eating. So that is something that is typically really easy to see with the data and typically a little bit quicker and easier to fix where the fasting hypoglycemia might happen in this instance of, you know, In the middle of the night, your glucose levels drop and it wakes you up and you're sweating or you're having nightmares during that time. Or in the morning, you haven't eaten yet and also your glucose levels drop and you're feeling really shaky and dizzy. For this, there's a long list of potential causes that could be driving that fasting hypoglycemia. And we have actually, we offer dietician support with our service because we know, as you guys likely know, how nuanced some of this information can be. And so in the situation where somebody's pinpointed that, oh wow, my glucose is dropping and I'm associated that with these symptoms, what do I do now? You can reach out to your dietician that's been assigned to you with NutriSense. and kind of troubleshoot a little bit with them. But some common issues, you know, if you are using a different system or maybe you're just feeling those symptoms in general, might be related to chronic stress, significant weight loss, excessive caffeine intake. If that is, if you're very caffeine sensitive, there are a variety of medications that can actually make us more susceptible to hypoglycemia. Some antibiotics and steroids, some ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, Of course, if you are insulin resistant, so you have diabetes or you have other forms of metabolic dysfunction, then your body's not able to regulate your glucose levels as well in that fasted state because a lot of it is being regulated by your liver. And so if you have that insulin resistance, that system is no longer functioning as well. So it could just be a sign of some insulin resistance or metabolic dysfunction. Again, GI disorders, so things like IBS, things like, you know, dumping syndrome, a lot of that could cause hypoglycemia. A big one, though, a common one, if somebody's drinking a lot of alcohol, that can cause hypoglycemia, especially that nocturnal or morning time hypoglycemia. So if you're experiencing waking in the middle of the night, and you're sweating, and you're shaking, and you're commonly having a glass or two of alcohol the night before, that's an easy one to just test out. Remove that and see if those symptoms go away, because that's one of the more common ones, of course. But it's really quite nuanced to what could be driving that hypoglycemia.
Heather Young: It is quite nuanced and I do love that you have the assigned dietitian that people can connect with getting, not just guessing, and getting connected with the things they can start to test out on themselves that can help to manage it. But I do think it's a part of the bigger conversation as well is that we look at blood sugar mostly one way, going high or cutting out sugar. And a lot of people, especially women, aren't understanding skipping meals, fasting, intermittent fasting, going sugar-free completely, cutting out carbs in a very non-guided, non-necessary way for the body. All of these things start to have an impact. And I don't think a lot of people would expect to put this thing on and see a number that is showing that they're stressing their body.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Oh, yeah, absolutely. And you can see, you know, that's another big area that we have noticed now that we've worked with thousands of people's glucose data as you start to see these trends and women and men are not the same and we don't respond the same.
SPEAKER_02: No, we do not.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Imagine that but it becomes very apparent that what works for a male on average isn't always going to be the same thing that works as well for a female on average. And a lot of that comes to fasting and stress tolerance and carbohydrate tolerance. And we're just going to see different responses. And some of this is the research is a little muddy or it's still a little new, but it's very clear observations we've seen in the data is that what I believe is women probably have a smaller bucket of stress, essentially, that they could fill. So if you think about like hormetic stressors, things like sauna, exercise, fasting, carbohydrates, restriction, all of these things are small stressors on the system. and it's about a cup. So if you fill your cup with a certain amount of stressors, eventually the cup overflows and it's too much. And what I have seen and what I believe is that that cup size between men and women is just a lot different, where a woman's cup is smaller in the sense that it's going to tip over and overflow much sooner and with less factors involved than maybe a male of a similar, even of a similar size or age. And so thinking about that threshold, and then you can kind of see when that tips over, it leads to a variety of side effects potentially, and glucose is typically related to that because it's involved and how our body handles and processes stress on the system.
Jennifer Klotz: Yes, we see that a lot with a lot of the people that we work with is there's typically a stress overload. But the thing that's tipping it right over the edge is they're often coming to us on keto or doing intermittent fasting. And from our perspective, there needs to be a lot more education, especially for females, for whether or not they're in the season of life that would allow them to choose to do keto or intermittent fasting because otherwise they could be setting themselves up for a lot more chronic health issues because they do not have the margin or tolerance to handle that extra bit of stress that dietary change is actually bringing to their life. And I think helping people to understand that diets and changing their food It's a form of stress depending on where you're getting your information from and what you're being told to do. And so from the data that you see and the people that you work with, do you find that there is a large percentage of females doing intermittent fasting and the keto diet who do get surprised when they put this monitor on and seeing what their blood sugars are actually doing when they're on that diet?
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, we absolutely do. And that's where with intermittent fasting, it's a broad term that can encompass a lot of things. But we certainly see a more commonly negative effects with fasting in general with women. And it's usually, like I said, when they're kind of stacking up all of these stressors. So a lot of times it's we've kind of skipped over the fundamentals and jumped to the trendy thing because it's a little bit easier. So we've skipped over good psychological mental health that is going to, you know, lower actual chronic stress levels. We've skipped over really nutrient dense meals that are whole food based and you're getting a lot of nutrients that are going to help your body be in a lower stress state. And then instead of managing some of those kind of basics, we're, we're jumping on and doing OMAD or a 24 hour fast once a week, um, while doing carb restriction, but probably having a lot of carbs on Saturday and like, just like not doing it in a way that is sustainable or healthy. And so what we'll see, especially with like a one meal a day or kind of these longer daily fasts, is a lot of times a male will do it and their glucose looks pretty good. I'm not going to lie. Like often it's fine. I still don't think one meal a day is optimal from digestion perspective, but it doesn't stress the system in the same way of usually we'll see a female who's coming in, they're doing one meal a day. They're trying to do these long fasts. and their glucose levels are so all over the place. You know, they're crashing during the day, they're having these really long elevated spikes from that meal. And it's just kind of all over the place essentially. And so a lot of times it's just what you're saying. It's kind of getting back to that fundamentals and nourishing the system essentially with some of these kind of healthy habits and then trying not to overstress it with things that aren't actually going to bring a net benefit. And it's different person to person, but there are kind of those gender differences that are quite apparent.
Jennifer Klotz: That's a big focus of us is helping to empower women to understand how their physiology is different. And while some data or even scientific research supports, you know, like intermittent fasting, that a lot of the research done on that is primarily done on men. or women who are in menopause. And so the just overlaying blanket statements that say, okay, now as a population, everyone should do this, that's where it can become problematic. And why it is the wild, wild west out there for getting health information, right? Someone hears something about intermittent fasting and how it can improve their blood sugar markers or bring their cholesterol down. And they're like, oh, I just went to my doctor and they told me I need to do this. And so then they jump on the bandwagon of doing that without understanding that that might not actually apply to them uniquely based on how that research was done. And so that's why you explaining that and giving a different perspective for people to hear is really helpful and knowing that that's looking at thousands of people's data. It's not just one person that was doing this. It's a lot. And so with that being said, if someone is female and they do want to start taking care of their blood sugar better, what is one impactful change that they could start making today that would already bring better blood sugar control? Where should they start?
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, it's hard to pick just one.
Jennifer Klotz: I know, I know, it's a tough ask.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah. It does come down again to really mastering those fundamentals if we're going to just take a wide lens view at it. And a lot of that is those nutrient dense foods, whole food base, prioritizing protein. If we're going to take even a further step back, like you mentioned, it's not just food, it's not just carbohydrates that is going to affect our glucose levels. I kind of describe the fundamentals of glucose control as four legs of a chair. So you need all four legs to stand upright. If you cut one leg off, it's going to tip over. And each of those legs, you can think about one as nutrition. And so that's, again, a broad category. The other is physical activity, movement, exercise. The other is going to be stress and so that encompasses all kinds of both psychological stress but physical stressors and then we're gonna have sleep and the other bucket and so When somebody's kind of thinking about this It's if you need to make major changes in all four of those buckets that can be overwhelming. So maybe pick one at a time and But keep in mind that all four are equally important to build that good, strong foundation of metabolic health. And that's where I think a lot of people get surprised when they start to see the data as they might think like, oh, it's really my diet that needs work or tell me exactly what to eat so I can fix my nutrition. but then they realize, Ooh, maybe the priority item for me right now is my sleep and my sleep habits and my sleep hygiene, because that's where I'm seeing it affect my glucose the most. So I'm going to start there and that's going to make the biggest impact. Um, so really keeping in mind like those four areas and then start with the fundamentals and all of them. The answer is never usually going to be some quick magic bullet. So someone's promising you changes from following a specific dietary regimen or a specific exercise plan that if it sounds too good to be true, it might it might be. So it's often getting those fundamentals down and then tweaking it to your personal scenario your personal environment, routine, your gender, your age, where you're at in life. And so there are those tweaks that then come afterwards, but some of those fundamentals are kind of universal.
Heather Young: Yeah and that's a really great point and well said because we do focus on essentials and like you've said several times we all know that it's not the coolest conversation to be having and you know eyeballs can roll back when you talk about sleep again or you talk about stress management again but the cgm when you put it on it shows you it can become fairly obvious that you are neglecting some of those essentials and be a motivator to circle back around to an essential that just like you're not wanting to put the time in to rebuild your nighttime habits or your sleep or address your stress. And I do love how once you're getting that movie, the whole snapshot of your entire day from the CGM and not just your head knowledge of, oh, I'll prick it after I eat or a certain amount of time. That's you choosing to find out your blood sugar with one component of that chair. instead of having the movie that can show you how you're missing other components of that chair, those essentials that can be impacting your blood sugar as well.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, absolutely. It can really help to pinpoint what to prioritize, and it can also help solidify the things that maybe you do already know and you know are important, but you can help then, again, make that front and center as the thing that you need to focus on and the thing that actually works for you or doesn't work for you. A lot of it is is being willing to be malleable in the sense of, you know, flexible in your approach, maybe the thing that you thought was working for your friend, and you wanted to try doesn't actually work for you. So being kind of like, open minded to the idea that it might be different from person to person, but then being willing to kind of implement some of those best practices that you find from the data.
Jennifer Klotz: if someone is listening and they don't have diabetes or they don't believe that they have issues with their blood sugar control. Would you still recommend that they advocate for getting access to a CGM or pursuing getting a CGM?
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Absolutely. Actually, close to 80%, 90% of our customers are non-diabetic. So a large part of why we built this company and why we're doing what we're doing is because we believe that this tool and this data is appropriate for everybody, not just those with diabetes. Again, going back to kind of traditional healthcare, the primary use case has always been for people with uncontrolled diabetes. It's not even universal at this point in time to give a CGM to everyone with diabetes, which is such a shame. As soon as you put one on, it's a crime.
Jennifer Klotz: Thank you for saying it.
Heather Young: And just to make it personal, our aunt died waiting to try and get one. She was fighting for one, and I'm going to carry that with me for the rest of my life, that she did not have access to something that could have helped her more and get that movie. And I think that your company provides a valuable service for people who need to fight for themselves.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: It's really sad to hear these stories. And that, again, it brings back of it's useful to work in the healthcare system to see how things are so that you know what you need to change, but it is sad. It's frustrating. I can't tell you how many people come to us because they, you know, this is a common story. That's not even as, um, extreme where they're like, I went to my primary care physician for my annual physical. My a one C was in a prediabetic range. And so their head, the light bulb is going off, oh, prediabetes, I don't want to get diabetes. I should probably do something about this. And nine times out of 10, how the conversation goes is, well, you're on the bubble, so eat well, exercise, and we'll check it again in a year. Maybe they say six months. That happened to my mom. She had that exact scenario, but we also hear this every single day from our customers. And then they are going, that doesn't sound good enough. I don't think that's enough to make sure that I don't end up with diabetes next time we check in. And they're seeking out other tools to make sure. that they don't go down one path instead of the other. Um, and so what we're trying to normalize is that empowerment that you have control over your situation. And the sooner we can find some of these, what I call yellow flags before they become red flags, the easier it is to get our health under control. You know, you might not have diabetes by traditional diagnostic criteria, But if you track this information, even for a shorter amount of time or periodically, if you're relatively healthy, you can see that, okay, when I do X, Y, Z, I have a much different daily glucose profile than when I have a day like this. And so you know in your head, I need to mostly have days like this rather than these habits are kind of occasional. You can kind of catch those things earlier on, which is going to make it so much easier to truly prevent or go down the direction of that more robust, strong metabolic health. So that's why we're really trying to normalize this information, normalize this tool, because awareness is the first step to health, and you need the right tools and information to truly know where you stand. And prevention is always better than treatment. Treatment is still better than no treatment. So whether, you know, you've had diabetes for 10 years, 20 years, or you don't have diabetes, there's always something you can do now. But having that right information and the right tools to point you in the right direction is a good place to start kind of wherever you are on that spectrum of metabolic health.
Jennifer Klotz: I love that. And to reiterate, the prevention is always best, but Treatment is also so key because we actually also use the CGM to help with our dad's fight with prostate cancer because glucose is such an important metabolic marker to track and make sure isn't helping to drive the cancer. And so I want to mention that because a lot of times when you are in spaces where prevention is the conversation and if you're sitting there and you're listening and you're going, but I have health issues, I have chronic problems, know that still going after seeking this option of getting more information, better information, it's always going to pay off for helping to heal, to helping to overcome something or to manage something that is chronic, but to manage it in a way that can improve your quality of life and make all the difference. And that is why we just absolutely love this, this tool that you are helping to normalize and showing up and talking about, because I do think it is going to have an amazing impact on people and changing healthcare and changing just how people approach tackling difficult diagnosis, or, you know, just not feeling good.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, absolutely. And I appreciate that. And I am very optimistic working with our customers every day of how the narrative is changing. There's so many more people now who are want to take control of their health. You know, they're seeking solutions, they're seeking the information they mean well, and they want a different quality of life, or they don't want to go down the same path that they saw maybe family members go down. And so while working in the healthcare system was a little discouraging, I'm really, really encouraged by the thousands of people we're interacting with each day. And hopefully, you know, we can keep making an impact for them. But I also think the narrative is just changing when it comes to consumer wellness. There's more tools available. There's podcasts like this where the information is really questioning some of the standard norms that haven't been helpful. And so I'm just really generally optimistic about the outlook.
Heather Young: I love that. I love the optimism. We're optimistic too. You can learn more every day. Companies like yours are coming out with more tools every day. From when we started till now, it is just incredible to see what people have access to. And it's exciting to know that people can continue to advocate for themselves more and take control over their health journey. So with that in mind, to wrap up, If you could change one thing for women's wellness today that you think changes everything, what would it be and why?
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, and I think related to this question, what you're talking about with the prostate cancer is really changing the narrative of how we think about glucose and what that means. know, when people hear glucose, they think diabetes, diabetes management, diabetes prevention. And as you mentioned, it's so much more than that. I liken glucose as a vital sign that gives you that direct insight, a direct window into your metabolic health. And again, as that's the foundation, it's kind of that core of our human engine, and it's the fuel that allows us to either be really transformative and powerful, or it can be something that causes us to be more degenerative or debilitated. And so when we optimize the way that engine works and that fuel works, and we think about this as a fuel system rather than related to one chronic health condition, we can change the way that we think about our health overall, because it's going to have that ripple effect, that 80-20 rule. Or if we can optimize this one vital sign, we can see an impact on some of the most common chronic health conditions, so also heart disease, dementia, cancers, as you're mentioning, but also energy levels, how we feel, how we age. And so I'm really just trying to change the narrative both, of course, for women, but across the board of how we think about this one metric and how what role it can play in our lives.
Heather Young: Yeah. And it's a it's a worthy fight. We're here for it. We're cheering you on. It is it can change so much for so many people. Because we start with blood sugar. That's an important conversation to have. And then from there, that goes into just metabolic health in general. And that's what this space is for, to have conversations about things like that and give people a chance to make critical changes and fight for themselves and advocate for themselves. So thank you for taking the time to share your expertise, share a little bit more of the insights that your company's been gaining into blood sugar. And we can't tell you thank you enough for being here today and taking the time.
Kara Collier | Nutrisense: Yeah, absolutely. It was a pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
Kara Collier is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, the co-founder and VP of Health at Nutrisense. She is also recognized as a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient. With a passion for leveraging modern technology and expert coaching, Kara is dedicated to assisting individuals in achieving optimal health.
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