Ari Tulla, Co-Founder and CEO of Elo Health gives his insights on diet and nutrition in a world where highly processed foods have been at the helm for many years. Elo Health delivers supplements precisely calibrated for your biomarkers and goals, backed by science.
We are the only species that have “forgotten” how to eat. Somehow, as humans, we lose this ability at a very young age. Toddlers are more likely to eat the correct amount of micro and macro-nutrients if put in front of a table of food and left to their own devices. If we repeat the same exercise with adults, the result wouldn't be the same.
We can put this down to a lack of education and confusion from information in the media often conflicting with that of science. Of course, we shouldn’t forget the power of marketing, food lobbies, and limited access to fresh produce.
If I had to pinpoint a single food industry decision that has caused the most human harm, it would be the fat vs. sugar debate. In the early 70s, a few scientists paid by the sugar industry were able to convert the national institute of health to vilify fat and glorify a low-fat diet.
This decision led to generations following a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet resulting in millions of early deaths and trillions of healthcare expenses. Today, most people continue to focus on the terms “healthy” and “low fat” when buying their groceries.
Over the last decade, we’ve come to realize that not all calories are “equal” and that added sugar (and not fat) is the main culprit when it comes to the obesity crisis. We also know that most people don’t get enough of the right micro-nutrients, partially because the food we now eat has been depleted of its nutrient value by up to a third, compared to a hundred years ago.
The old saying of “we are what we eat” is starting to resonate again with our society and values are shifting back to this ancient way of thinking. We’re starting to realize just how powerful nutrition and diet are when it comes to our health and wellbeing.
There are three pillars of health for humans: Sleep (and recovery), nutrition, and activity. In today’s world, if we take most of the prominent metabolic disorders and diseases found in the Western world – type two diabetes, heart disease, and cancer – we know for a fact that the causes of these diseases or disorders are directly or indirectly linked to the food we eat.
This is because the highly processed foods we eat are low in fiber, high in the wrong type of fats and oils, high in carbohydrates, and low in many of the key vitamins and minerals that our body needs.
The ultra-processed food we eat is toxic and addictive. I strongly believe that the large multinational producers of ultra-processed foods will be vilified and many will go out of business within the next decade.
The Elo Health process starts by assessing your health information based on your body. We conduct at-home blood tests, connect to your verbal wearable and home monitoring device data (if you choose to give access to Elo), and conduct a health questionnaire to understand your habits, eating behaviors, and ongoing health issues.
All this data is then translated with AI into a precision nutrition plan which is communicated to you via the Elo Health Coach. The program starts with a 30-minute video call where the coach goes through the assessment and the resulting nutrition plan.
Once you approve the plan, Elo ships the first box of precision supplements. The supplements are delivered monthly and come in convenient daily packets. After 90 days, we conduct the second blood test to validate outcomes and calibrate the plan. During the program, you’ll have access to a dedicated coach via the Elo App.
Since the launch of the Elo service in early 2021, 90% of Elo members have seen a positive impact on their biomarkers.
My wife Anu experienced a health issue 20 years ago that led us both into this journey of rethinking our diets. We used food as a vehicle to heal her, and after 10 years and dozens of doctors later, we succeeded.
Our own experience made us believe in the concept of food as medicine. Over the last decade, Anu and I both left corporate careers and started our own companies with a focus on helping people live better lives.
I started BetterDoctor to help people find the right doctor. Anu started Konmari consulting business Joys of Simple. Together we started to invest in health and food tech companies. After following both industries closely for a decade, it’s easy to see that the food industry is at the beginning of a major transformation.
Three recent changes make companies like Elo Health possible. First, wearable devices have become ubiquitous. Today, half the American population has a wearable device collecting data that can be turned into behavioral changes.
Second, biomarker testing has moved from the lab to the home. During the pandemic, millions of Americans experienced the convenience of at-home testing.
Third, food delivery adoption has exceeded 50%. The post COVID food system can deliver the right kind of nutrition to people at the right time.
There are a few dozen companies that work in this space at the moment and I’m excited to see more of them emerging. It’s a massive space that needs as much input as possible.
Elo is unique because we’re very science-driven. The Elo AI is trained by thousands of scientific papers that dictate the member plan as well as the dose of nutrients. All our products are third-party tested.
We only pick active ingredients that are validated in human clinical trials. We also try to keep our platform completely transparent, making all the information available to our members.
Nutrition science is all about the quantities of micros and macros. Much less has been said about the timing of eating and its impact on sleep and recovery. I’m personally a big fan of intermittent fasting, although the science isn’t really there yet to back it up.
I’m also a believer in prolonged fasting. I try to fast four to five days every quarter. The impact has been profound for me. It cleans up my body and resets everything!
Yes. Author and journalist Michael Pollan got it right when he said: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." We should aim to eat whole foods and be mindful of the impact of pesticides and chemicals. There’s still a lot we don’t know about food.
Elo Health targets people who want to optimize their nutrition and performance.
The first Elo members were people willing to invest money for optimal mental or physical performance.
Over the next decade, we’ll see the biggest shift yet in food products, agriculture, and the understanding of nutrition.
Digitalization, cloud computing, machine learning, and AI have started to creep into the non-tech industries. Many sectors – media, travel, automotive, and banking – have been completely transformed already.
Take the automotive industry as an example. In the last decade, we’ve transitioned from combustion engines to self-driving electric cars. Sounds like science fiction, right? Health is now halfway through the transition.
And soon, the same thing will start to happen in the space of food, nutrition, and supplements. In twenty years, I believe that we won’t recognize these industries. Radical change is on the way.
This is why I’m so excited to work and invest in this field. I believe that health care and food and nutrition will be increasingly combined going forward. These are the two biggest industries in the world today. A massive revolution is coming!
We’re working on a few new products and will likely launch a protein product next. Sometime in 2022, we’ll also extend the Elo service into the food sector.