Apple picks 13 apps for people with diabetes

By Jonah Comstock
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GoMeals Sanofi-aventis U.S.Apple periodically updates its app store with lists of apps for particular groups of people. Even as the new iOS 8, with a built in Health app, goes into beta, Apple has added a new list: "Apple's Apps for Diabetics." According to the CDC's 2011 fact sheet, diabetes affects 25.8 million people, or 8.3 percent of the US population.

The apps on Apple's list aren't all from the US, and they don't all target diabetes specifically. While many are tracking and management apps for blood glucose and insulin levels, others are more general purpose apps for eating specific diets, which people with diabetes could benefit from. The list includes mostly consumer-facing apps but one app for doctors, as well as one for kids and one for pregnant women with diabetes.

The list has some overlap with the list of top-grossing diabetes apps Research2Guidance released in March, but app developer Azumio, which Research2Guidance identified as the market leader, has no apps on Apple's list. Read on for 13 apps Apple has highlighted for its users with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. 

Diabetik by UglyApps (free)

 

diabetik

This British-made diabetes app raised $11,600 on Kickstarter in February 2013. It's a free app for diabetes management that focuses on quick data entry and aesthetically designed interactive charts, as well as reminders that can trigger either at a particular time or in particular location. The app helps people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes monitor how much and how often they’re eating, their blood glucose levels, and whether they’ve taken their medication.

Diabetes in Check by Everyday Health (free)

diabetes in check

Diabetes in Check, from the recently-IPO'd Everyday Health is a type 2 diabetes management app that features a wide range of tools. It includes diabetes coaching designed by a certified diabetes educator, trackers for blood glucose and medication, reminders, and tools for healthy eating, including a food tracker with a barcode scanner and a recipe database. For a $3.99 subscription, users can get daily personalized food recommendations.

Diabetes Companion by mySugr GmbH (free)

mySugr companion

Diabetes Companion is one of two apps on the list by mySugr, an Austrian company that raised money earlier this year. The company adds a little bit of gamification to the traditional diabetes management app. "The Companion is a charming, sometimes outspoken diabetes manager that focuses on making your diabetes data useful in everyday life," the app store description says. "Adding elements of fun, gamification, and immediate feedback (with attitude!) through a diabetes monster to help keep you motivated and involved in your therapy." The app works with Sanofi-Aventis' iPhone-connected IGBStar meter and is a registered class I medical device. 

iCookbook Diabetic by Publications International (free)

icookbook

This is a special edition of the iCookbook app just for people with diabetes. The app delivers new, free diabetes-friendly recipes every month. It also has built-in kitchen tools like conversion charts and timers and voice activation, so the user can proceed through a recipe even with messy hands. The user can save and share recipes or even pull up a random one by shaking the phone.

Track3 by Coheso ($5.99)

Track3

Track3 Diabetes Tracker & Logbook App tracks an impressive number of health factors for people with diabetes, including food, blood glucose, insulin, medications, exercise and weight. Food tracking can be done out of a built-in database, or users can program their own foods and create shortcuts for quick inputs. When the user works out, they can enter calories burned right from a cardio machine or estimate them for a workout. Tracking metrics can be displayed on multiple mobile devices or on the web.

mySugr Junior by mySugr GmbH (free)

mySugr

MySugr's second entry on the list is their app for kids. Here's the app store description:

"The mySugr Junior App was developed to make managing diabetes easier for kids. It also enables parents to keep control over the therapy, even when they're not around and their child is at school or out with friends. The app resembles a game in which the children get points for every entry. The goal is to score a particular amount of points every day. This encourages kids to take care of their diabetes regularly.

"A little diabetes monster accompanies the kids through the app and gives feedback on their entries. The child can enter data such as blood glucose levels, food and insulin or take a picture of his meals, but they can also request help whenever the parents are not around. All entries can be sent as a push message or email from within the app to the parents' phone. This way, the child can ask for feedback on calculating carbs or the insulin dose." 

HealthyOut by HealthyOut (free)

HealthyOut

A lot of diabetes apps are geared toward helping people with diabetes cook the best food for managing their condition. While not geared exclusively at people with diabetes, HealthyOut is about helping people eat at and order from restaurants while maintaining a diabetic-friendly diet. The user searches local restaurants with filters like "Low Carb," "Low Fat," and, their most popular filter, "Not a salad." According to the company, HealthyOut dishes have half the calories and half the fat compared to the average restaurant meal.

Foodily by Foodily (free)

foodily

Foodily is another popular app Apple has included on the list that doesn't have a specific diabetes application. Rather, the app helps users find, keep track of, and share recipes. As a "food social network" that lets people with similar tastes share recipes, though, the app could be helpful in creating a community of people with specific dietary needs and calorie requirements.

Whole Foods Market Recipes by Whole Foods (free)

Whole Foods app

Similarly, Whole Foods Market Recipes is a general meal planning app that doesn't court specific disease populations. However, its 3,000 recipe database can be searched by several filters including "special diets". 

GoMeals by Sanofi-Aventis (free)

GoMeals Sanofi-aventis U.S.

GoMeals, by Sanofi-Aventis, is designed to help people living with diabetes make healthy food choices, but can be used by anyone who is interested in tracking the nutritional content of their meals. The app includes access to CalorieKing’s nutritional database, which contains more than 25,000 common food items and more than 200 restaurant menus.

The GoMeals “Today’s Plate” feature helps monitor each day’s calorie intake, as well as the distribution of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These three nutrient categories are also represented in a pie chart on the touch screen. A restaurant locator feature helps users locate restaurants based on their current location and the type of cuisine they prefer, as well.

CarbsControl by Coheso ($2.99)

CarbsControl

Coheso is the most prolific developer on Apple's list, with three entries. The second, CarbsControl, is a food logging and carb counting app built for anyone, not just people with diabetes. Its database contains carbohydrate and other nutrition details for over 100,000 foods, including 500 specific food brands and 300 popular fast food and casual dining restaurants.

Diabetes in Pregnancy by Coheso ($5.99)

diabetes in pregnancy

Coheso also has an app specifically for pregnant women with gestational diabetes. "This Diabetes in Pregnancy App helps you track all of the factors that keep your blood sugar balanced during and after your pregnancy," the app description reads. "The app makes it a snap to log food (nutrition), blood sugar levels, exercise, oral medications and insulin. You can email the logbook as a PDF file or a spreadsheet that you can share with your doctor."

Johns Hopkins ABX, HIV, Diabetes Guides with Updates (free, but with a $29.99 in app purchase)

johnshopkinsapp

This is the only app in the list designed for doctors, one of a series of Johns Hopkins Guides on different diseases. The diabetes guide, which is a $29.99 in-app purchase "contains the essential diagnosis, classification, and management information needed for diabetic care" and enables physicians to "answer questions with recommendations for complications, drugs, and other treatments," according to the app store description.