Connected Devices Could Change How We Approach Nutrition

February 7, 2019 - 8 minutes read

Health tech development and the Internet of Things (IoT) are allowing us to live healthier lives than ever before. And nowhere is this more evident than nutrition.

Let’s take a look at how connected devices are changing how we view and approach our food and nutrients.

Connecting the Dots in Our Diet With Trackers

Fitness and health wearables already enable us to do some pretty impressive things. Today, we can track the number of steps we take, our sleeping habits, our heart rate, and a plethora of other important metrics. But this will all pale in comparison to the future of connected trackers.

Soon, we may not need to manually record everything we eat. Trackers may take care of this for us by utilizing advanced sensors capable of scanning and estimating the nutritional value of the food we intake. While this wouldn’t directly stop the issue of overeating, it would provide users with more awareness of their habits (and thus impetus to correct them).

This seamless tracking would be revolutionary in helping those at risk of nutritional problems. For example, a diabetes patient could better monitor their health if the tracker was paired with another device to monitor blood sugar levels. And those at high risk of heart problems could use the tracker to see how dietary changes affect their conditions.

On a bigger scale, nutrition trackers could also be used in the developing world. By monitoring the diets of a select few, researchers could pinpoint possibilities for a malnutrition epidemic as well as potential solutions. By capturing and transforming seemingly disparate data into insights, we could stop numerous nutritional issues before they ever begin.

Making Supplements Safer

It’s well known that nutritional supplement products are in dire need of some quality assurance. And connected devices could be the solution we need.

With access to more accurate measurement tools and remote monitoring devices, supplement makers could evaluate the effects of their products on a much more detailed level. This would not only enable them to control experimental conditions with more precision but also lead them to a better understanding of how their supplements work overall.

With this information and connected sensory equipment, production facilities could then ensure that all supplements are created with the right type and ratio of ingredients. From there, connected tracking and logistics equipment would monitor the product during transportation to assure its quality is preserved.

Tech Is Taking Over the Kitchen

Take a look around your kitchen. Does it look a little more intelligent than it did 10 years ago? Thanks to IoT, consumers now have smart refrigerators, smart toasters, and smart ovens. Eventually, these devices will be more ubiquitous and could connect to give you a holistic overview of your home cooking.

You’d know exactly how many potatoes you have in stock and how many tomatoes you need to pick up from the store. Some devices today are already capable of ordering replacement items for you!

By connecting all of these technologies together, consumers will be able to cook smarter due to two main factors. First, they’ll be able to match recipes to the resources they have available. That means no more last-minute grocery store runs. Second, the actual equipment itself will streamline the process of cooking, making it easier for everyone to prepare a healthy meal. This means no more surprise pizza deliveries after overcooking your original dinner plans.

Improving Agriculture

As we mentioned before, IoT could help tackle malnutrition epidemics around the world. But it could also stop them before they start.

At its core, malnutrition occurs when an area cannot create enough food to sustain a local group of people. Similar to monitoring our food intake, IoT-connected devices could give farmers insight into how to improve their agricultural strategies and yields.Farmers are already tapping into IoT devices to record factors like weather conditions, humidity, and soil pH. In turn, the small iterative tweaks these devices recommend are then carried out over thousands of acres of land, resulting in more nutritious food for less time and money.

Disrupting Food Distribution

Approximately 40 percent of all food in America gets wasted on the journey from farm to table alone. And it’s all due to errors in harvesting, distribution, and storage. Connected devices could help in all three areas.

With high-quality monitoring systems, suppliers could ensure that food products are only harvested at the peak of their freshness. From there, connected devices could monitor and maintain crucial aspects of distribution and storage such as temperature (the main culprit of food waste). So whether your grocery gets its products from California or New York, your food will stay fresh as it makes its way to your plate.

Today, food waste is factored into the price you see in grocery stores. Distributors consider it a cost of doing business. But if IoT-connected devices were implemented on a mass scale, they would drive down costs not only for food industry insiders but consumers as well.

Information + Action = Intelligent Nutrition

It’s important to remember that IoT can help us live healthier lives through information. It connects data in ways that yield new insights. But to benefit from them, consumers, farmers, chefs, and anyone else involved with food must follow up with appropriate action.

Fortunately, connected devices are making this easier than ever before. By gathering the data and distilling the insights, they take care of the immense legwork that would normally be left to humans to do. Instead, the only step for us now is to apply this information intelligently.

Many IoT devices and paradigms are still in development. So how we view nutrition will only continue to evolve alongside these advancements. But it’s never too early to start eating better.

How do you think IoT will change our approach to food and nutrition in the next few years? Let us know in the comments!

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