A health-tech startup with a difference has launched in Australia to tackle the nation's growing diabetes epidemic. It aims to help people living with diabetes better manage their health, via home delivered meals and a unique online 100 point food tracking system.
Hit 100 - Australia's only meal delivery service catering specifically for the increasing number of people living with diabetes (Type 2, Type 1 and Gestational) and pre-diabetes, was founded by a team of passionate entrepreneurs and diabetes experts to improve the health of our nation.
Offering a -doctor meets chef' approach to health and meal management, this first-of-its-kind service offers delicious, diabetes-friendly meals delivered directly to customers' doorsteps. This is accompanied by a simple, easy-to-use 100 point food tracking system and online app designed to help people record what they eat. Customers receive meal plans, developed by Hit 100's team of Accredited Practising Dietitians, which are tailored to their energy requirements, ensuring nutritional balance and variety over the course of a week.
The Glycemic Index Foundation, experts in carbohydrate in diet, has independently reviewed the points system and endorsed several of Hit 100's Low GI recipes. The meal program starts from only $27 per day ($6.75 per serving) with Hit 100 providing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks delivered free and direct to doorsteps each week.
A survey of Diabetes NSW members, conducted by Hit 100, confirms that people living with diabetes found food and mealtimes their main area of concern and the biggest challenge when it came to managing their health. Specifically, knowing what to eat, the cost of healthy food and not knowing where to get help.
Hit 100 Founder & CEO, Karn Ghosh, said looking to address the challenges for people with diabetes, plus tackling the epidemic levels of diet-related diseases was the core mission of Hit 100 as a social enterprise:
'We believe that every Australian deserves the right to access the tools and resources to manage or prevent chronic health issues – and healthy food is just the first step. To tackle the pressing health issues facing the likes of Greater Sydney and in order to reverse what we can see coming 25 years down the track, there is a real need to find ways to assist the healthcare system and empower people who want to create a healthier, happier life," Ghosh said.
The service will initially roll out across Sydney with a focus on the growing number of diabetes cases in the Western suburbs.
Ghosh continued: 'The dividing line showing the disparity between the health of communities across Western Sydney and the Eastern and Northern suburbs has been described as the -quinoa curtain' phenomenon. It is clear that there is a large geographical area where supply and access to nutritious food is compromised, which is a key driver of obesity and often type 2 diabetes."
Sturt Eastwood, CEO of Diabetes NSW commented: 'For many people living with diabetes, knowing how to manage their health through nutrition is one of the biggest challenges. Transparency and education around the importance of nutrition and healthy eating needs to be accessible to all."
Dr Alan Barclay, Chief Scientific Officer at the Glycemic Foundation and author of -Reversing Diabetes' said: 'The Glycemic Index Foundation is proud to be part of this initiative to assist people in preventing or managing diabetes through sound healthy eating principles. As experts in the area of quality carbohydrates, we have reviewed Hit 100's program and provided guidance on its development to ensure the recipes and meal solutions are all-round healthy options."
Hit 100 is grounded on the shared values of its founders, who came together with the desire to drive positive social change and lifestyle solutions for people wanting to better manage their health. CEO Karn Ghosh is joined by private equity heavyweights Rishabh Mehrotra, Andrew Gray and Dr Sam Prince. More recently, the company raised a follow-on to seed round of financing, adding high-calibre angel investors including Adrian MacKenzie, Jared Keen and U.S. investors focused on the health and wellness sector.
The company is passionate about creating a better world through its business endeavours and has pledged to donate 10 per cent of all business profits and 1 per cent of company equity to charity. A national roll out of the service is planned by the end of the year.
Top 10 Wasy To Prevent/Manage Diabetes
Anna Debenham, the leading dietitian at Hit 100 a home-delivered food solution for people living with diabetes, reveals 10 ways to help you prevent and/or manage diabetes.
Forget dieting – eat for life. Adopt a way of eating that allows you to enjoy food, whilst still adequately nourishing your body with real, whole foods. Fad diets, as their name implies, are short-term fixes that set many of us up for failure and disappointment. The key is to develop life long healthy eating habits that bring joy and happiness to your life.
Enjoy a variety of foods. Each food group contains it's own unique array of vitamins and minerals that contribute to your overall health and wellbeing. In order for your body to receive all the nutrients it needs to live a long and healthy life, it's important to eat a variety of different foods from all five-food groups (grains and cereals, fruits, vegetables, dairy, lean meats and alternatives) each day.
Eat regular meals and snacks. Eating regularly throughout the day helps ensure your body has a sustained supply of energy and assists in keeping your blood sugar levels within an optimal range. Eating smaller, more regular meals also helps to control your appetite, meaning you are less likely to feel ravenous and overeat at other meal times.
Choose low GI foods. The glycemic index (GI) looks at how foods containing carbohydrates affect our blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI (e.g. white bread, soft drinks, cakes, biscuits) are quickly broken down and absorbed by the body, causing a rapid spike in our blood sugar levels, leaving us feeling hungry and unsatisfied. Foods with a low GI (e.g. fruit, milk, grainy bread, porridge and lentils) are broken down and absorbed more slowly, causing a steady rise in blood sugar and insulin levels over time, and leaving us feeling fuller for longer.
Choose heart healthy foods. Diabetes can increase our risk of developing heart complications later in life, which is why it's important to maintain optimal cholesterol levels and blood pressure to avoid these. Remember to include a small amount of healthy unsaturated fats (e.g. nuts, avocado, oily fish, olive oil) and limit foods high in saturated fats, trans fats and salt (e.g. processed foods, deep-fried foods, bakery goods, fatty cuts of meat).
Watch the sugar. Whilst sugar can form part of a healthy, balanced diet – the key is to focus on where your sugar is coming from and how much you consume. 'Natural' sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables and dairy products. These sugars come with a range of beneficial nutrients like fibre, vitamins and minerals, which are good for our health. 'Added' sugars are those added to foods and beverages by food companies (e.g. soft drinks, lollies, chocolates) or by us (e.g. honey, table sugar). High intakes of added sugars may lead to weight gain, tooth decay and increased blood sugar levels, which is why it's best to limit intake of these sugars.
Stay hydrated. Adequate hydration is crucial to allow our body's to function at their best. On average, we require approximately 2L (8 glasses) of water each day (depending on age, gender and activity level). Choose plain water most of the time, you can add fruit pieces for flavour if desired.
Reduce alcohol. If you choose to drink alcohol, limit your intake. Current guidelines recommend no more than two standard drinks a day, with at least two alcohol free days per week.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is a proven way to reduce the risk of developing Type II diabetes and also to reduce the risk of developing complications associated with diabetes. Loosing just 10% of body weight if you are overweight is enough to make significant improvements to your blood sugar control and overall health.
Stay active. Enjoying regular physical activity should be part of your diabetes management or prevention plan, as exercise helps to keep your body fit and healthy. Try going for walk with a friend, walking your dog, or swimming.
Anna Debenham is one of the leading dietitians at Hit 100, Australia's only meal delivery service catering specifically for people living with diabetes (Type 2, Type 1 and Gestational) and pre-diabetes and she is also the co-founder of The Biting Truth. Anna is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with the Dietitians Association of Australia and has completed a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Sydney.
For further information go to www.hit100.com.au
Question: What is Hit 100?
Karn Ghosh: Hit 100 is a recently launched health management company for people living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. We offer delicious, dietitian-designed home-delivered meals as well as a health-coaching platform to help individuals with diabetes or pre-diabetes live a healthier and happier life.
Question: What inspired the creation of Hit 100?
Karn Ghosh: In my time working in the healthcare system in Taree in rural NSW, I had the stark realisation that the current obesity crisis was leading to a -tsunami' of preventable lifestyle-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes. Because of this, for the first time in the history of mankind we live in a world where our next generation of children has a shorter life expectancy than that of their parents.
I feel incredibly strongly about this issue, and really believe in the power of business and technology to drive meaningful impactful change in the area of preventative medicine, in the public health context. The system is fundamentally broken, and we as a society are failing those people that develop preventable lifestyle-related disease.
I felt compelled to act, and so in 2014 we founded Hit 100 to improve the health of our country.
Question: How does Hit 100 help manage diabetes?
Karn Ghosh: Diabetes is a global epidemic, increasing at a faster rate than any other chronic condition. We know that consuming a healthy balanced diet can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, improve your blood sugar levels and therefore reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications later in life.
Hit 100 empowers individuals living with diabetes or pre-diabetes to manage their health by providing an individualised food and health coaching solution. The meals are nutritionally balanced and are in line with the evidence-based guidelines for nutrition management of diabetes, thereby helping individuals achieve desired weight loss goals and improve their blood sugar levels. We also have a team of dietitians who are able to offer tailored on-on-one nutrition and health advice to help you manage your health.
Question: What is pre-diabetes?
Karn Ghosh: Two million Australians currently have pre-diabetes and are at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, however most don't know they have it. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, although not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The good news is that in up to 58% of cases adopting a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
Question: How is Hit 100 suitable for people with pre-diabetes?
Karn Ghosh: Hit 100 provides a health platform that encourages individuals to eat well, achieve and maintain a healthy weight and improve their overall health. We know that by adopting a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating and exercise, you can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 58%.
The meals are simply healthy and well-balanced meals that are suitable for anyone looking to improve their health and lose weight. In fact a healthy meal plan for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone.
Question: Is Hit 100 only for people with diabetes?
Karn Ghosh: We have taken a really holistic -doctor-meets-chef' approach to everything we do and our food is actually just healthy, balanced food with some extra consideration given to carbohydrate quality and content. We've been pleased with the fact that our customers have ranged from young to old, busy professionals to seniors, pre-diabetics to people with multiple health conditions – all simply looking for delicious home-style meals delivered to their doors at an affordable price.
Question: What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Karn Ghosh: We recommend speaking with your health care professional if you have any diabetes-specific questions or if you believe you might be at risk of developing diabetes. Whilst many people with type 2 diabetes don't experience any symptoms, some of the symptoms you may experience include:
Passing more urine
Feeling tired and lethargic
Having cuts that heal slowly
Gradually putting on weight
Question: And, why do so many Australians not know they have diabetes?
Karn Ghosh: Many people who develop type 2 diabetes don't experience any signs or symptoms, or the symptoms may be very subtle, which means it can easily go undiagnosed for many years. That's why it is strongly advised to have regular check-ups with your doctors, particularly if you are overweight or have a family history of diabetes. The longer the condition is left untreated, the greater the danger of devastating complications such as blindness, kidney failure, strokes and amputations.
Question: How can we prevent diabetes?
Karn Ghosh: By adopting a healthy diet, enjoying regular physical activity and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes, or diabetes-related complications. New research suggests that by achieving an overall healthier lifestyle (through good nutrition and moving more) many people can in fact reverse the symptoms of diabetes too.
Interview by Brooke Hunter