Apple has started asking users about the apps they use to monitor diet and blood sugar, suggesting that the next Apple Watch may track users' blood sugar noninvasively, but Is this really likely and why is it so important?

The main reason for measuring blood sugar is to help control diabetes, a very serious disease that can lead to heart attacks and heart failure, strokes, vision loss, amputations, and kidney failure if not properly treated and monitored.

As Diabetes UK explains, diabetes is a disease caused when your body doesn't produce enough insulin, causing your blood sugar level to rise too high.

People with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin at all. The condition is not related to the person's lifestyle and must be controlled with the help of insulin injections or an insulin pump.

People with type 2 diabetes can still make insulin, but it's not enough or it's not working properly. Being overweight is the biggest risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, and some people can control it by making lifestyle changes, but the more likely they are to need medication. Eventually, they may also need insulin injections.

Blood sugar and smart watches

Many smartwatches already claim to help control blood sugar, but it is not as simple as it sounds.

For example, lhe Fitbit app can keep track of your glucose level and remind you when it's time to take a measurement. However, the Fitbit watch itself does not take the readings.

Instead, heThe app imports data from OneTouch Reveal, which connects to the Verio Reflect Smart Blood Glucose Meter. Like most glucometers, this works with a drop of blood from a finger prick test.

The Fitbit app can sync with a blood glucose meter, but Fitbit devices don't take measurements themselves (Image credit: Fitbit)

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"The blood sugar role is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition," says Fitbit.

“It is simply intended to help you control and track your information. You should speak with your healthcare provider for more advice on how to control your blood sugar levels. If you suspect you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 ».

It is also possible to monitor your blood sugar level on your Garmin watch, but again, this uses data from a separate monitor rather than the watch itself, and is only intended to help athletes plan their nutritional strategy, not for medical purposes.

Garmin Forerunner 945

You can stream data from the Supersapiens app to a Garmin watch, but only for sports nutrition, not medical use (Image credit: Garmin)

The Supersapiens app for Garmin watches connects to the Abbott Libre Sense Glucose Sport biosensor. This is a continuous glucose monitor – an adhesive patch that uses a small sensor just under the skin to measure glucose in the fluid around your body's cells (interstitial fluid).

Continuous blood glucose monitors for medical use are also available, but interstitial fluid glucose levels are not exactly the same as blood sugar levels, so they are not a direct substitute for a fingerstick test. They are also not suitable for all people with diabetes.

The next Apple Watch

Then, Is the upcoming Apple Watch 7 likely to be able to measure blood sugar on its own? This is very unlikely, although there is promising research on non-invasive blood sugar monitoring that could be incorporated into smartwatches.

For example, researchers are looking for ways to monitor glucose levels non-invasively using spectroscopy, which uses lasers to identify different chemical substances, and the SugarBEAT monitor from the British company Nemuara Medical measures interstitial blood sugar. but has not yet received FDA approval.

The most likely scenario, if there is enough demand, is that the next Apple Watch will come with a pre-installed app that collects data from third-party sensors. It may not be the solution that some users were hoping for, but it would be a welcome next step.

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