Blood glucose sensors dedicated to diabetics hijacked by influencers to lose weight

A round patch, glued behind the arm: this is the new accessory for “beauty” and “well-being” influencers. The blood glucose sensor, a “revolutionary” tool that can save the lives of people with diabetes, is also very popular for controlling weight gain, a trend criticized by the medical world.

On TikTok or Instagram, on the beach, at yoga or in the kitchen, more and more of them are promoting it: the glucose sensor allows them to “see their blood sugar in real time” and thus “understand which foods avoid”, assure these young women.

A device no bigger than a two euro coin

Their idol? Jessie Inchauspé, aka@glucosegoddess (goddess of glucose) whose best-selling book “Glucose revolution” released last summer advocates controlling the effects of sugar to suffer them less… and lose weight. To better understand her metabolism, this trained biochemist equipped herself with a blood glucose sensor.

A device no bigger than a two-euro coin, the result of which can be read simply by passing a smartphone in front of the sensor. Unlike other measuring devices, the sensor also makes it possible to anticipate a crisis of hypo or hyperglycemia. Over-the-counter, the most marketed sensor in France, the Freestyle Libre 2 from the Abbott laboratory, is only reimbursed for diabetics who have several insulin injections per day.

“A ridiculous trend”

American dietician Christine Byrne questions the very usefulness of sensors for non-diabetics: “Your body is able to restrict blood sugar to a healthy level”. She advocates “balanced meals” rather than permanent blood sugar monitoring, which also depends “on your stress, your activities and your sleep”.

This is also the opinion of Karine Clément, obesity specialist at Inserm, who fears, in people not accompanied by a doctor, “a risk of over-interpretation or under-interpretation of the results” leading to “changes in eating behavior, for example, unsuitable”.

On Twitter, diabetic Internet users denounce a “ridiculous trend”: “If it was a question of pricking your fingertip six times a day, would they have done it? Stop creating problems for yourself that you don’t have”.

Hijacked like the Ozempic

Pharmacists had already noted a “misuse” with Ozempic, an injectable antidiabetic that non-diabetics try to obtain to lose weight. False prescriptions with the two products have also been seized, said Professor Jean-Luc Faillie, in charge of pharmacovigilance at Ozempic.

Unlike Ozempic, blood glucose sensors are available over the counter, especially on the Internet. But a false prescription makes it possible to be unduly reimbursed, and thus save a hundred euros per month… A “health insurance fraud” that Abbott claims to condemn “without reservation”, and of which the ANSM (agency of the drug) seized, indicating that it was conducting “investigations” on this subject.

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