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Can a Wristband Really Help You Lose Weight?

Airo Health

Move over Up by Jawbone, Nike+ FuelBand, and Fitbit Flex—there is a new health tracker on the block.

Revealed on October 28 by Airo Health, the Airo wristband is now available for pre-order and will ship in the fall of 2014. Like others, it will monitor nutrition, stress, exercise, and sleep, but Airo claims to be the first device to give users “a well-rounded view of their health."

For the nutrition component, that means shining light into your bloodstream to measure your caloric intake and how much protein, fat, and carbs you consumed at a meal, and then using that information to provide nutritional recommendations. Wow, talk about high tech. Good-bye to food journaling? Maybe not so fast.

You see, as much as I care about calories, carbs, fat, and protein, I care more about the actual food consumed. As far as I can tell, Airo doesn’t have the ability to decipher high-fiber carbs from high-sugar carbs (say, 15 grams from raspberries compared to 15 grams from jelly beans). And sure it tells you your total fat consumption, but how much of that is heart-healthy unsaturated fat and how much is artery-clogging saturated fat? As for protein, maybe your percentage is on the money (perhaps Airo miraculously gave you accurate info about how many grams you personally need per day), but is it encouraging you to consume it at certain times of the day, such as at breakfast and post-workout?

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Let’s face it: The increased technology that has become available to us over the years really hasn’t appeared to help the average person lose weight. In my opinion, that’s because it really isn’t teaching anyone how to actually make lifelong changes. [Tweet this fact!] Percentages and total numbers don’t mean anything unless you know what to do with them. Before you can even start to monitor your intake, you need to learn how to put a healthy meal together. In retrospect, more people need to step back from technology and start with the basics, such as learning portion sizes, how to interpret nutrition labels, simple cooking skills, and how to maneuver through a menu successfully while dining out, to name a few.

Bottom line: I guess we will need to wait until next year to find out if Airo is a success. In the meantime I will still encourage my patients to keep good old-fashioned food logs. And for you early adapters, I still promise to be on the lookout for the next new kid on the block. (I am personally waiting for the more stylish versions to appear that don’t scream out “I am wearing a fitness wristband.")


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