The transforming landscape of nutrition in a world driven by tech

Only a few of us adhere to the guidelines for a healthy and balanced diet and many are not even clear on what comprises of a holistic, nutritious meal. Today, greater emphasis is laid on preventive healthcare, but so many of us are in the dark about how we should apply nutrition and other related information in the food we consume to develop a personal approach to preventing critical illnesses like diabetes, heart attack, etc., most of which are preventable and lifestyle-induced.

Technology is a driving force of innovation today, and no industry is impervious to the revolutions caused by technological advances. The food industry, like any other, has been disrupted with the latest technological advancements which have brought along a sea of change in how we consume and perceive food.

Helps you make an informed choice

First of all, we have all heard of brands in the past that have tried to get away with erroneous labels on their food products, thus misleading the consumers. However, the constantly evolving digital landscape has ensured more accountability in this industry. The unprecedented expansion of social media and smartphone usage across the country have made consumers well-informed.

With the help of these technologies, today, you can easily access all the information you need about the harmful effects of certain ingredients, its source, making process, etc. This, in turn, makes the food companies more accountable and cautious of customer outcries if they try to misinform them.

Moreover, the data also provides an opportunity to better match the supply and demand curve of the food product while ensuring that the sourcing is ethical and sustainable. The Internet of Things also provides consumers with nutritional and environmental information about the food they purchase, thus helping them to make an informed choice. The World Economic Forum says that if the Internet of Things was implemented in 50-75% of developed countries’ supply chains by 2030, nearly 10–50 million fewer tonnes of food would be lost in distribution.

Spurs on new discoveries and innovations in the nutrition space

The food industry has also gained immensely from the advancements in technology. The Internet of Things has made it possible for these companies to track the trajectory of products through supply chains. This, in turn, helps them to control a range of factors that directly or indirectly affect the food that eventually reaches their customers. The Internet of Things, for instance, helps these companies to regulate the temperature, humidity, etc. of the food product in real time, helping them to optimize the environmental conditions of food transportation.

Now, technological innovations directly also affect the quality and extent of research possible in any domain. These advancements have enabled researchers to make new discoveries about food that are changing our understanding of nutrition. For example the entrance of ‘wearable fitness trackers’ - technology that can track your biometrics to understand different aspects of your health - has also taken the fitness industry by storm. Today, we have data to understand the implications of consuming certain foods which wasn’t at our disposal, say ten years ago. For instance, in the past decade consumers have been made aware through research findings how sugar adversely affects our bodies. This has resulted in greater general awareness, and today an increasing number of consumers look for alternatives that don’t contain harmful sugars.

A nutritious diet that forms a part of our daily routine can go a long way in preventing a plethora of critical illness that can derail our life physically, mentally and financially. Nearly 14.2 million people between the ages of 30-69 years across the globe die prematurely every year from lifestyle diseases like heart attack, diabetes, and high blood pressure. If you look at the statistics, some of these diseases have emerged as more fatal than hereditary or infectious diseases. Looking at these alarming numbers, it is needless to say that investing in a health insurance plan must be the priority investment before one starts investing to fulfill one’s long-term goals. Given the rising incidence of critical illnesses like heart attack, cancer, renal failure etc, it is important to invest in a critical illness plan as well. A standard health insurance policy is restricted to hospitalization expenses and does not include associated treatment or rehabilitation costs. A critical illness insurance policy fills this gap. Critical illness policy pays a lump sum upon the diagnosis of the covered critical illness.