Knowing the right things to eat for a healthier life is often challenging. The range of diet plans, restaurants, prepackaged foods and apps to guide consumers can complicate a consumers daily experience.

A four-year-old San Francisco-based company, Suggestic, aims to simplify the choices by combining augmented reality with blockchain technology. The precision eatingapp uses artificial intelligence to customize grocery lists and recipes based on users health and wellness goals and food preferences. Users can also scan food, menus and ingredients, and an augmented reality feature will suggest nutritional meals that meet individual needs.

Blockchain technology gives users an economic benefit for staying healthy.

Suggestics more recent use of blockchain technology will provide a faster, more secure environment for exchanging information. The company sees blockchain as a way of differentiating itself in a crowded field of tech-fueled health and wellness-related companies and boosting participation because it creates a more trusted environment.

A Growing Problem

Eating healthier has become an increasing concern amid growing rates of obesity and the diseases that stem from it. Nearly 71 percent of adults aged 20 and older in the U.S. are overweight or obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 9 percent of the U.S. population about 30 million people has diabetes, which has been linked to obesity. The American Diabetes Association says people with the disease pay almost $10,000 in diabetes-related health care costs. Yet, only about one in 10 adults are getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diet, says the CDC.

The app is based on two main components. One is to put food as medicineinformation closer to the user to simplify the media deluge of conflicting advice, Suggestic chief marketing officer and co-founder Shai Rozen tells ThirtyK. The other is to put data into context, so individual app users can quickly select the best dishes for their own needs from a menu or group of recipes.

The company has scanned menus from a half million U.S. restaurants and 1.5 million recipes into its data base, and asks users to input their personal preferences, such as a Mediterranean, gluten-free diet without cilantro. The app scores those choices, and augmented reality provides a color-coded overlay of menu items that meet diners’ goals and preferences, as well as those that are way off base. When a users health profile changes (based upon new genetic information, lifestyle changes or medical tests, for instance) or new scientific data are available, the scoring changes.
Making Healthy Money

The addition of blockchain will take Suggestic a step further, letting users monetize their wellness by storing certified decisions and providing proof of progress towards outcomes.

A chronic condition generates costs for the health care system,Rezi says. We see nutrition and lifestyle as the basis of preventing or reversing chronic conditions. So, if you choose a program to prevent or reverse a condition, you reduce expenses for the health care system, and you should get an economic benefit. Blockchain provides a way to do that, and we provide the nutritional guidance.

That concept of reducing health care costs by improving health and wellness habits is established. One approach, called differential insurance, is creating a buzz in the insurance industry, even if no insurer yet includes it in a policy. Several group health insurers are exploring ways to use data from individualsfitness trackers so those who exercise, and therefore tend to have better health, can pay lower health insurance premiums than those who dont exercise, Bhooma Chutani, lead partner at the global technology consultant LTI, tells ThirtyK. Other organizations are offering cryptocurrencies to incentivize healthy behaviors. The ability to spend those currencies isnt high, though.

The success of such wellness approaches hinges on blockchain. To work, individuals need to share very personal information that they generally wouldnt share in an unsecured manner, Chutani says, adding that blockchain provides that security. This is the future.

Gail Dutton
Gail Dutton is a veteran journalist who has interviewed several Nobel laureates as well as leading innovators in the fields of biotechnology, IT, and business. She has written for a variety of trade and consumer magazines, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Scientist, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, Life Science Leader, Data Center Knowledge, and Data Center Manager, from her office in Washington state.