New Diabetes Products for 2017: Apps, Glucose Gel, and Sweetener

For the last year, Diabetes Self-Management has been following all the new innovations and products aimed at helping to improve the lives of those living with diabetes. From the latest glucometers and monitoring systems to insulin pumps, pens, and treatments, several major advancements made their impact on the diabetes community in 2016.

When selecting some of the new products, we first talked to Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, clinical director of Integrated Diabetes Services of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. Scheiner, known as the MacGyver of diabetes products, has lived with Type 1 diabetes for more than 30 years. He tries out new products before recommending them to patients. “It’s important to see new products from the user’s point of view, not just from the [health-care practitioner’s] side of things,” said Scheiner.

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In 2016, the pace of innovation continued to race ahead with unbelievable technology right out of a Star Trek episode. The growing use of smartphone technology and mobile applications has led to better access to blood glucose readings, general health information, and much more. Read on to learn about the newest products. We guarantee you there’s something here for everyone, whether you live with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

In this installment, we look at mobile apps, glucose gel, and sweetener that have recently or are expected to soon hit the market.

Mobile apps

DietSensor is the first nutritional coaching app to help better manage chronic conditions like diabetes. Available since late last year, DietSensor tracks intake of macronutrients such as carbs, fat, protein, and calories through your smartphone. Using a tiny molecular sensor that’s about the size of a 9-volt battery, DietSensor scans the cells of homogeneous foods like mashed potatoes, as long as the internal composition and surface of the food are the same. The scanner also works with homemade dishes without a nutritional label. It’s even possible to detect cooking ingredients, such as the butter on your pasta or the cooking oil on your meat. A food catalog of more than 600,000 items is also available. Furthermore, the app can track physical activity, weight, and hydration.

Developed by people with diabetes, the mySugr mobile app launched a new feature called mySugr Coaching that allows people living with diabetes using intensive insulin therapy access to personalized diabetes education. Users define long-term goals, such as losing weight, decreasing blood glucose levels, or even something like finishing a triathlon. Users work with their coach to attain specific goals.

All coaches undergo a strict recruitment process and are carefully selected. Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, is the head coach and works with a team of well-trained certified diabetes educators who all live with diabetes.

“Let’s be honest — doctors don’t have the bandwidth to manage people’s blood glucose on a daily basis. There’s too much work involved. And even if they did, you’re still going three, six, or even 12 months between appointments,” said Scheiner, owner and clinical director of Integrated Diabetes Services. “There are so many challenges that come up during that time. It really requires a coach to work with you on an ongoing basis. And now, with mySugr Coaching, you have that opportunity.”

Glucose gel

If your blood glucose ever drastically drops, a new product worn around your neck could change your life. The Glucose Boost Necklace was developed by Kris Maynard, an EMT and firefighter who lives with Type 1 diabetes in Spokane, Washington. He developed the product after a health emergency during a camping trip when he started convulsing and paramedics rushed to the campsite to save him. They rubbed glucose gel on his gums to quickly increase his blood glucose.

The terrifying incident inspired Maynard to develop a necklace that holds glucose gel inside. The necklace is constructed of soft plastic — similar to a glow necklace — with a magnetic clasp that is squeezed to release as much as 25 grams of glucose gel. Once used, the necklace is thrown out and replaced. As of recently, Maynard was still searching for a low-cost manufacturer to start producing the necklaces.

Sweetener

An alternative to sugar and other sweeteners is catching on throughout the country. Stir Sweetener is a new natural sweetener that does not spike blood glucose levels. Each serving is 10 calories and delivers the benefits of slow-release energy with just two net carbs and the nutrients potassium, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamins, amino acids, plus a gram of beneficial prebiotic fiber.

Stir Sweetener is made from organic coconut palm nectar. Farmers dehydrate the sweet nectar from the delicate flower blossoms of the coconut tree. The manufacturer says that Stir Sweetener can be substituted for sugar in any recipe without changing the original measurements. Because of its proprietary blend, Stir Sweetener keeps baked goods moist longer than other sweeteners.