Author Topic: Zoe  (Read 2470 times)

Zoe
« on: 23 April, 2024, 10:17:13 am »
I started doing Zoe (https://zoe.com/) - the programme to do with finding which foods fit your metabolism done by the people who did the covid tracker - in January.  There's the odd post here and there but I didn't see a thread on it so thought I'd start one.

Tl;dr - I'm enjoying it, am feeling well on it and have lost weight - and think it has told me I need to eat less than I thought when cycling.

It's not specifically about weight loss, but the majority of people who do it want to lose weight, so there is a relationship.

One thing that got me interested in it was that I had a pre-diabetic blood test result a couple of years ago. It was a few weeks after I had done the Transcontinental Race, then been on a family holiday with wine every day (not loads but more than I'd normally drink). A retest a few weeks later was back in normal range (I found it amusing to tell the doctor that I had been able to fix things by scaling my exercise right back and putting on a couple of kilos!) but I wanted to understand more about it - specifically whether riding long hours and eating junk from petrol stations OR a week of French food with wine was more more likely to have put me into a bad place from a blood sugar perspective.

Another thing that intrigued me was Christoph Stasser saying after the Transcontinental last year that he had had a much quicker recovery than the previous year, which he credited from having changed his race diet, from all the petrol station junk, to mainly fruit juice, tinned fish and bread.   

Zoe do tests on how well you process fat and sugar, as well as how good your gut bacteria are and how good your diet is.  My results were interesting. My diet, gut bacteria and fat management were good - but the latter is entirely down to medication to reduce cholesterol levels so no credit to my system - it would be very bad otherwise. But my blood sugar management was bad. It turns out that if I look at a potato, rice, pasta, bread, beer or white wine, or similar my blood sugar spikes right up.  During the test period (too short to be a proper test but still indicative), I wavered in and out of the pre-diabetic range.

I did a 5-6 hour ride while I had the blood sugar monitor on and that was probably the most interesting part for me (although not for Zoe as it doesn't take into account anything to do with exercise). It showed that the cereal bars that I normally eat were really spiking my blood sugar, and I could keep it in a normal / performance range by eating significantly less than I normally would. 

I'm planning to explore that more. I was thinking of doing SuperSapiens -  which used the blood sugar monitors to show you what is going on when you are riding and eating on the bike - but won't now as they've gone out of business.  But I think the latest BS monitors can give you the data straight to your phone so will look to try that instead to optimise what I eat on rides. I'd like to avoid eating in a way that over the long term, will propel me towards diabetes.

Otherwise, I'm enjoying Zoe, really enjoying the food: it has pushed me towards a keto diet with more protein and fat and few carbs.  I'm not missing carby stuff and am enjoying not being hungry between meals. I've lost a few kg - not all due to Zoe but a bit more than I would have expected to at this time of year anyway. I can eat some stuff that I always thought was a bit indulgent - I now regularly have a cooked breakfast: kippers or a (vegetarian) fry-up: both score much better than porridge or museli. And dark chocolate scores a lot higher for me than virtually all fruit.

Eating out is tricky, for which I largely have to forget Zoe as hardly any restaurant food works, especially if I have a glass of wine or beer with it!

Re: Zoe
« Reply #1 on: 23 April, 2024, 12:44:04 pm »
Very interesting.

Quote
I now regularly have a cooked breakfast: kippers or a (vegetarian) fry-up: both score much better than porridge or museli. And dark chocolate scores a lot higher for me than virtually all fruit.

What is the score for, and why is porridge scoring so low? I thought porridge (especially with non-dairy milk) is good for heart health and slow release energy.

Similar question on the dark chocolate, what is the score basis?

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #2 on: 23 April, 2024, 01:27:19 pm »
I did Zoe when it first came out and I still follow a Zoe-ish diet (lower carb, higher fibre, higher protein, good fats).

I found eating out OK, as long as I chose wisely.   Steak with lots of salad (and a really nice salad dressing) or fish with vegetables for example.
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Re: Zoe
« Reply #3 on: 23 April, 2024, 03:04:08 pm »
Very interesting.

Quote
I now regularly have a cooked breakfast: kippers or a (vegetarian) fry-up: both score much better than porridge or museli. And dark chocolate scores a lot higher for me than virtually all fruit.

What is the score for, and why is porridge scoring so low? I thought porridge (especially with non-dairy milk) is good for heart health and slow release energy.

Similar question on the dark chocolate, what is the score basis?

Scores are personal to each person, so something that scores high for me may score low for others.
However some food probably scores low for almost everyone (eg ultraprocessed stuff like fast food or sugary drinks) while things like lentils and fresh vegetables are probably high for almost everyone.

The variation is, I believe, to do with how well you process sugar / carbohydrate and fat. So, given I process fat well and sugar poorly, things that are high in good fats like olive oil score well for me but things high in carbohydrate do not. Hence porridge scores low. I score much higher if I have nuts and seeds with full fat Yoghurt. Someone good at carbs but bad at fat would probably score higher for the porridge.

I don't think porridge is very slow-release.

The score basis is not transparent so can't say exactly why dark chocolate scores well, it just does. The cocoa beans are good and low levels of added sugar is a positive.

Re: Zoe
« Reply #4 on: 23 April, 2024, 03:05:46 pm »
I did Zoe when it first came out and I still follow a Zoe-ish diet (lower carb, higher fibre, higher protein, good fats).

I found eating out OK, as long as I chose wisely.   Steak with lots of salad (and a really nice salad dressing) or fish with vegetables for example.

Yes, I'm vegetarian which makes it harder, but fish (which I do eat) with vegetables is a good option. Pizza is a disaster and pasta not a lot better. And nothing on the wetherspoons menu works for me!

Re: Zoe
« Reply #5 on: 23 April, 2024, 10:09:51 pm »
Really interesting. I did Zoe and bought my own glucose monitors off Amazon. People seem to vary massively. I did not see any major spikes but my natural diet is lowish carb, partly because wife is gluten intolerant and partly because I feel meh on high carb diets. So we eat cauliflower mash and celeriac rather than potatoes. Bread is an occasional treat when eating without my wife as she cannot share.

The very low carb diet is perhaps going out of favour for endurance athletes but endurance in most parlance is a 4 hour event not the 14 day TCR type event.

Re: Zoe
« Reply #6 on: 30 May, 2024, 11:18:49 am »
Missed this thread, I'm curious about Zoe, not too the extent of wanting to try it, but in the way it represents a cutting edge tech-meets-commercial thing.

I was fascinated to read Tim Spector's The Diet Myth, which is a science focused debunk of the whole diet industry. Zoe seems to me to be an over early commercialisation of the principles he highlights, confusing correlation with causation in a way he rightly criticise others. There would appear to be an over emphasis on sugar levels, which for non diabetics is likely not significant.

Still, the overall theory seems sound, it is unlikely to cause harm and probably beneficial. I was fascinated when I implemented some of his ideas, increased calorie intake, but lost weight

Re: Zoe
« Reply #7 on: 31 May, 2024, 08:47:37 am »
I'm curious - I thought that spiking blood sugar was fine, so long as the spike was brought down quickly (either by insulin causing it to be stored, or during exercise by transporting it into the muscles for fuel). Does Zoe advocate for changing your diet to remove or flatten all blood sugar spikes, or is there a point where it's happy with a certain sort of spike?

Re: Zoe
« Reply #8 on: 31 May, 2024, 09:15:39 am »
I'm curious, too, and I confess to not having done any deep research but - as I understand it - the sugar level thing is behind the suggestion that porridge/any oaty breakfast isn't as good as thought.

My suspicion is that the emphasis on blood sugar levels is reactive to being the one thing that is simple and easy to measure. The Diet Myth book, however, goes to great lengths to explain how levels in one individual =/= a diagnosis. While indications of a condition may be true for large sections of the populations, significant minorities are divergent. It's this inherent contradiction between the science he preaches and the commercialisation that makes me wonder. And yes, there are elements of the plan that try to further individualise response, but again they don't appear to align to the true complexity he talks about. And yes, you really don't need to dive into the deep complexity to get benefit, so. . . . .?

Re: Zoe
« Reply #9 on: 21 June, 2024, 06:02:50 am »
I'm curious - I thought that spiking blood sugar was fine, so long as the spike was brought down quickly (either by insulin causing it to be stored, or during exercise by transporting it into the muscles for fuel). Does Zoe advocate for changing your diet to remove or flatten all blood sugar spikes, or is there a point where it's happy with a certain sort of spike?

The latter - there is an expectation that blood sugar will go up after a meal or eating/drinking anything sugary - and that is normal - but some people have better natural response to this.  Some people have a poor response without meeting the definition of being diabetic. It gives you view of where you stand on the diabetic 'spectrum'.

They give everyone two standard, high-carb meals and measure how high lood sugar goes up and how long it takes to come down.  If it goes very high and/or takes a long time to come back down, they deem you to have poor blood sugar control and advise you which foods are likely to lead to less severe 'spikes' with quicker return to normal levels.  If you only have moderate spikes which come down quickly, they wouldn't prompt you to eat less of those foods.

They also test for fat response.

Re: Zoe
« Reply #10 on: 21 June, 2024, 06:04:24 am »
I'm curious, too, and I confess to not having done any deep research but - as I understand it - the sugar level thing is behind the suggestion that porridge/any oaty breakfast isn't as good as thought.

It is individual specific: porridge scores well for many people

Re: Zoe
« Reply #11 on: 21 June, 2024, 06:28:33 am »
There would appear to be an over emphasis on sugar levels, which for non diabetics is likely not significant.

People are not born with Type 2 diabetes: it is a condition which they acquire at some stage in their lives - hence all (type 2) diabetics were non-diabetics once!  The NHS says it is largely preventable, which implies emphasis on sugar levels for non-diabetics is actually vital. 

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #12 on: 21 June, 2024, 06:39:46 am »
I'm curious, too, and I confess to not having done any deep research but - as I understand it - the sugar level thing is behind the suggestion that porridge/any oaty breakfast isn't as good as thought.

It is individual specific: porridge scores well for many people

Not for my wife, I can manage porridge better than she does,  with my external insulin supply
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Re: Zoe
« Reply #13 on: 21 June, 2024, 07:11:09 am »
There would appear to be an over emphasis on sugar levels, which for non diabetics is likely not significant.

People are not born with Type 2 diabetes: it is a condition which they acquire at some stage in their lives - hence all (type 2) diabetics were non-diabetics once!  The NHS says it is largely preventable, which implies emphasis on sugar levels for non-diabetics is actually vital.
Type 2 diabetes is generally caused by being fat and inactive, not by sugar.  There are other issues with sugar, of course.
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Re: Zoe
« Reply #14 on: 21 June, 2024, 07:43:42 am »
There would appear to be an over emphasis on sugar levels, which for non diabetics is likely not significant.

People are not born with Type 2 diabetes: it is a condition which they acquire at some stage in their lives - hence all (type 2) diabetics were non-diabetics once!  The NHS says it is largely preventable, which implies emphasis on sugar levels for non-diabetics is actually vital.
Type 2 diabetes is generally caused by being fat and inactive, not by sugar.  There are other issues with sugar, of course.

There's a lot more recent research that goes beyond that stereotypical view
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Zoe
« Reply #15 on: 21 June, 2024, 09:39:26 am »

Type 2 diabetes is generally caused by being fat and inactive, not by sugar.  There are other issues with sugar, of course.

"What causes type 2 diabetes?"

...there are some foods that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes including: 
    - Sugary drinks
    - Refined carbs like white bread, white rice and sugary breakfast cereal
    - Red and processed meats like ham and sausages
    - Salt, particularly in processed food, (increases blood pressure which increase risk of type 2 diabetes)"

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/types-of-diabetes/type-2/causes

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #16 on: 21 June, 2024, 04:26:23 pm »
bizarrely my CGM has been showing my BG as bouncing around at <4.5 for most of the day, I've eaten a few small carby snacks with no bolus insulin and it just hasn't budged
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Re: Zoe
« Reply #17 on: 21 June, 2024, 05:26:24 pm »
bizarrely my CGM has been showing my BG as bouncing around at <4.5 for most of the day, I've eaten a few small carby snacks with no bolus insulin and it just hasn't budged
Don't worry, it'll soon soar.
In other news, I'm now on hybrid closed loop - absolutely amazing improvement in control, and very good while on the bike, too. Strongly recommend.
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ElyDave

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #18 on: 21 June, 2024, 05:43:52 pm »
bizarrely my CGM has been showing my BG as bouncing around at <4.5 for most of the day, I've eaten a few small carby snacks with no bolus insulin and it just hasn't budged
Don't worry, it'll soon soar.
In other news, I'm now on hybrid closed loop - absolutely amazing improvement in control, and very good while on the bike, too. Strongly recommend.

this IS my hybrid closed loop, last 90 days 96% time in range, median BG 7.0mmol/l, estimated HbA1c 43mmol/mol; relative SD 19.7%

As you say, it's a game changer
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #19 on: 21 June, 2024, 06:12:37 pm »
For years I had thought of Tim Spector as the authority on the gut microbiome - which he is generally held to be. And then I discovered Michael Mosley's writings on the same subject and found him a more effective communicator, particularly in the way that sugar within the gut interferes with digestion of more valuable foods. My summary at this YACF thread which only skims the surface of this vital topic.
https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=126766.0

In the book, Mosley advocates for individuals to enlist the services of companies that can sequence the gut microbiome, which I believe is the core business of the Zoe company.

It was interesting to hear Spector and Mosley discussing this topic on Radio 4, which I guess must be available on BBC Sounds and perhaps elsewhere.

Spector has spoken about humanity barely understanding the importance of gut microbes and the role certain bacteria play in regulating energy levels and allowing the human body to absorb minerals. This is why his investigative model (with Zoe) is based on the sequencing of the microbiome - sequencing which should give a snapshot of the various species of bacteria, viruses and fungi in a gut and their proportions relative to one another. It's partly the action of gut microbes that determines somebody's energy levels in response to food, and since the microbes varies from person to person, so potentially does the body's response to a given meal. And so a food that might be beneficial to one person might not be for the next person, which is potentially devastating for the health food industry. 

What Mosley explains in his book Clever Guts Diet is how the microbiome can be gradually altered by choosing foods that encourage growth of those beneficial microbes in short supply in your gut. This is as partly about avoiding food known to strip away helpful microbes (thus leaving a space for less helpful microbes to colonise), and partly about finding foods that will provide a habitat for those microbes you might need more of. But all of this depends on the populations present within the gut in the first place, hence testing (or sequencing). 

This way of thinking about energy levels - and human health generally - potentially opens the door to individualised diets and potentially to individualised medicine, according to Spector. His application of anonymised data from Zoe in monitoring the effects of CoViD-19 (in its various strains) allowed more advanced public health advice than was being issued by the NHS.

alfapete

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #20 on: 22 June, 2024, 08:24:09 am »

this IS my hybrid closed loop, last 90 days 96% time in range, median BG 7.0mmol/l, estimated HbA1c 43mmol/mol; relative SD 19.7%

Aha! Haven't been on it for 90 days yet but I'm anticipating similar results.
alfapete - that's the Pete that drives the Alfa

Re: Zoe
« Reply #21 on: 24 June, 2024, 10:56:34 am »
For years I had thought of Tim Spector as the authority on the gut microbiome - which he is generally held to be. And then I discovered Michael Mosley's writings on the same subject and found him a more effective communicator, particularly in the way that sugar within the gut interferes with digestion of more valuable foods. My summary at this YACF thread which only skims the surface of this vital topic.
https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=126766.0

In the book, Mosley advocates for individuals to enlist the services of companies that can sequence the gut microbiome, which I believe is the core business of the Zoe company.

It was interesting to hear Spector and Mosley discussing this topic on Radio 4, which I guess must be available on BBC Sounds and perhaps elsewhere.

Spector has spoken about humanity barely understanding the importance of gut microbes and the role certain bacteria play in regulating energy levels and allowing the human body to absorb minerals. This is why his investigative model (with Zoe) is based on the sequencing of the microbiome - sequencing which should give a snapshot of the various species of bacteria, viruses and fungi in a gut and their proportions relative to one another. It's partly the action of gut microbes that determines somebody's energy levels in response to food, and since the microbes varies from person to person, so potentially does the body's response to a given meal. And so a food that might be beneficial to one person might not be for the next person, which is potentially devastating for the health food industry. 

What Mosley explains in his book Clever Guts Diet is how the microbiome can be gradually altered by choosing foods that encourage growth of those beneficial microbes in short supply in your gut. This is as partly about avoiding food known to strip away helpful microbes (thus leaving a space for less helpful microbes to colonise), and only partly about finding foods that will provide a habitat for those microbes you might need more of. But all of this depends on the populations present within the gut in the first place, hence testing (or sequencing). 

This way of thinking about energy levels - and human health generally - potentially opens the door to individualised diets and potentially to individualised medicine, according to Spector. His application of anonymised data from Zoe in monitoring the effects of CoViD-19 (in its various strains) allowed more advanced public health advice than was being issued by the NHS.

Nurturing the microbiome through eating more of the (individual-specific) right things and fewer of the wrong things is one element of the Zoe programme.  They identify what they call 'gut boosters' and 'gut suppressors'. 

Re: Zoe
« Reply #22 on: 24 June, 2024, 04:25:13 pm »
<snip>
Nurturing the microbiome through eating more of the (individual-specific) right things and fewer of the wrong things is one element of the Zoe programme.  They identify what they call 'gut boosters' and 'gut suppressors'.
That makes a lot more sense to me than just glucose monitoring. Do you need to wear the blood monitor for that stuff, or do you need to send off samples?

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #23 on: 24 June, 2024, 04:36:26 pm »
As a lifelong sufferer of dodgy guts who thought Zoe was a scam, I am intrigued.

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Re: Zoe
« Reply #24 on: 24 June, 2024, 07:42:29 pm »
I was a thirty year sufferer of 'noisy' guts (as one doctor politely put it) who tried excluding various foods to isolate the cause of my symptoms. I have nothing to do with Zoe, though I imagine it could be a 'fast track' for solving this kind of problem, involving, as it does, Actual Science.

This is why the programme seems a novelty: I don't think Western medicine has, up to now, applied the scientific method to the digestive tract and the different mechanisms at work there to the extent this programme is doing. Instead our understanding of digestion, and of the processes involved, has largely been based in folklore. Hence the flawed assumptions that weight gain / weight loss was tied directly to the amount of exercise one does ('calories in, calories out'). And when something is considered to be a simple process, why would it require study?