The company that takes type 2 diabetes prevention to the next level
Meet Geneto, a medical science startup that modernises type 2 diabetes prevention to impact millions of lives.
In 2017, an estimated 462 million people around the world had type 2 diabetes. In the U.S., every 4th health care dollar was spent to cure a person with diabetes – $16,752 per year per person. By now, these numbers are likely to be even higher. Something needs to be done. That’s where Geneto comes in.
It is well-accepted that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease that has come about in the modern world due to a sedentary lifestyle and poor dietary habits – we eat too much and exercise too little. Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating disease. The risk of cardiovascular complications multiplies. The average life expectancy reduces by ∼6 years! Diabetics are in it for life, having to continuously be aware of and keep their blood sugar levels in check. Or that’s what was thought years ago.
Today, we know that type 2 diabetes can be treated or delayed with a healthy diet and physical activity. Lifestyle intervention programs have successfully reduced the incidence of type 2 diabetes by 58%. Interventions have even gone digital! Participants in a UK digital diabetes prevention program averaged ∼5% long term weight loss whereas obesity is the key risk factor of the disease.
Though scientifically sound, these studies monitored only a few thousand people. The question is – how to scale these interventions to the masses and how to keep them personal at the same time? A medical science startup from Europe might have the solution. Here’s how they are doing it.
Disrupting the medical industry: combining digital intervention with genetics
Backed by the world’s leading nutrition experts, genetic scientists, fitness instructors & athletes, Geneto offers a state-of-the-art nutrition and fitness app that includes genetic testing to help you prevent or reverse diabetes by losing weight, getting more active & sleeping better.
Individualised menu plans, food diary, exercise tracking, and everything else you might need to make a positive impact on your health – Geneto has implemented it all in their app. This functionality is in accordance with the digital intervention programs that have proven so helpful for lowering weight and reducing disease risk. Using the information you provide, Geneto’s algorithms calculate your personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the coming years and guide you through the process of lowering it. You can even see the changes in your risk trajectory with every lost kg, together with estimated years of life gained.
At your wish and permission, genetic information is also incorporated into the algorithms for added precision and personal touch. After all, there is a strong genetic component to the regulation of blood sugar levels – for someone whose both parents have been diagnosed, the lifelong risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be as high as 70%. The exact pattern of inheritance is unknown to scientists but hundreds of genes throughout the genome are thought to be of significance. Geneto accounts for them all with its polygenic risk scores, a technology that is considered by some to revolutionise medicine.
Founder story: taking matters into their own hands
Geneto was founded in 2016 in one of the biggest European startup hubs – Tallinn, Estonia. Its founder is Jaak Sarv, a software engineer turned entrepreneur with a personal story to share. Having been obese with a family history of diabetes, Jaak was on the fast track to developing type 2 diabetes. To prevent it, he turned to science, nutrition, and exercise. Using the methodology behind the Geneto app, Jaak managed to lose over 20 kg. With Geneto, leading a team of bioinformaticians and engineers, he now strives to help others do the same.
To fund its activities and growth, Geneto has so far raised close to 1 million euros through several angel rounds. It has mostly concentrated on its home market in Estonia where it has successfully helped thousands of customers on their journey towards healthier, diabetes-free life. In June 2022, Geneto expanded outside of Estonia, entering the vast UK market where the medical system has already understood the benefits of digital intervention programs that Geneto offers.
Combining genetics with the digital intervention app makes Geneto unique. No other company in the world positions itself in quite the same way. Fully evidence-based and backed by science, it is hard to argue against the direction Jaak has chosen for Geneto. Genetics is much too important to be ignored in the medical system of the future. Harnessing its potential to create personalised programs for disease prevention – already with proven benefits! – seems invariably like the right direction.
How you can prevent type 2 diabetes with the help of Geneto
Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease. Positive changes in your lifestyle will reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight (body mass index between 18.5 and 25), being physically active, and eating a diet rich in nutrients is vital. Here’s how Geneto can help you:
1. Discover your genetic predisposition to type 2 diabetes
The risk of developing type 2 diabetes has a strong genetic underpinning. If you have a family history of the disease, you may be at risk. This means that it’s even more important for you to have a healthy and active lifestyle in order to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Together with world’s leading genetic scientists, Geneto has developed a genetic test that estimates a person’s predisposition to type 2 diabetes. This is done using state-of-the-art technology called polygenic risk scores which assesses and aggregates the contribution of millions of genetic markers towards type 2 diabetes susceptibility.
Genetic risk is presented relative to other people in the population and categorised as very low, low, average, high, or very high risk. Based on the genetic risk, Geneto also calculates your absolute risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.
Genetic test results are sent directly into the Geneto app for you to discover and used as input to personalise your food plan that is made from over 400 delicious, healthy, and easy-to-make recipes.
2. Get the size of your food portions under control
Your eating habits might need some improvements. Most people simply eat too much! Large or unbalanced portion sizes can easily undermine weight loss efforts, and it is easier than you realise to end up with too much on your plate.
Determining the optimal portion size can be challenging, however. Geneto helps you out here by keeping track of the calories you have already consumed with your meals, and how many are still safe to add on top of that. If you have never paid close attention to what and how much you’re eating, start by keeping a food diary using the Geneto app.
Write down everything you eat for 1-2 weeks. This will help you to get a better understanding of how much you’re eating and which types of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) you’re consuming too much or not enough of. Based on that, you will quickly gain an understanding of how to correct your diet.
To get your food portion sizes under control and to keep the macronutrients in the range recommended by nutritionists, you need to know the daily calorie intake that is optimal for you. When first using the Geneto app, set your parameters (height, weight, sex, age) and your weight goal. Based on that information, Geneto’s algorithms calculate your recommended daily calorie intake and predict how fast you would achieve your goal if you followed the plan.
Example dashboard of a person with a very active lifestyle
You do not need to worry about the distribution of macronutrients (such as carbs, protein, and fats), the app will calculate these for you based on the Nordic dietary recommendations. Just start logging your meals into the app, observe your daily calorie consumption, and see the calorie scales balancing and the macronutrients columns filling up.
The biggest obstacle in changing your lifestyle is the fear that writing down portion sizes is annoying. And yes, in the beginning, it will be. But before you jump to conclusions, read the fourth paragraph ”Keep yourself motivated” and think again. :)
3. Make healthy food choices
Eating a diet rich in nutrients, healthy carbohydrates, fibres (vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, beans and peas) and good fats (avocados, nuts, fish, olive oil) is very important. Avoiding bad fats (high-fat dairy products, processed foods, red meat) and excessive sugar (sweets, fast-absorbing carbohydrates) is equally important. However, planning ahead and deciding what to cook for every meal can be stressful and overwhelming, making it easy to fall back to fast food and processed, ready-made meals which are usually overloaded with sodium and other preservatives that can be bad for you in excessive amounts
The Geneto app provides you with healthy recipes, a personalised meal plan, and a food diary to help you implement diet recommendations into your everyday life. If you purchase the premium package, the meal plans will be further personalised based on your genetic test results.
4. Keep yourself motivated
New habits can be difficult to build and it can be hard to find the motivation and to stay motivated, but you should not wait for a serious health issue before finding enough motivation to change your lifestyle. The Geneto app makes the journey for losing weight & preventing type 2 diabetes as effortless and effective as possible. It is a versatile and effective tool.
Curiously, taking a genetic test and getting personalised feedback has been shown in several scientific studies to increase motivation to make impactful changes in life. This might be another reason to have your genetic risk of type 2 diabetes measured. If you’re someone who has already heard all about what lifestyle changes should be done to enjoy a more healthy life, but found it difficult to implement these in your everyday life for lack of motivation, a genetic test could be exactly what you need. It provides you with tailored feedback, as good or bad as it might be. Testing your genes could be a wake-up call that gives you a chance to nip a potential health issue in the bud, before it is too late.
Geneto’s genetic test has already encouraged and helped thousands of its users to make a change in their life and get in the best shape of their life. If you are someone who is tired of being overweight, having low energy, and the fear of type 2 diabetes, it’s time to take action. Take a leap towards a healthier lifestyle before it’s too late!