Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to diabetes management.
Klinio is a diabetes management smartphone app. It provides food tracking, water logging, weight logging and more. The brand claims to be a “science-based solution for managing diabetes and prediabetes” that “changes the way you approach your food.”
But can a smartphone app actually help diabetic patients reduce blood sugar levels? What diet is associated with the best blood sugar outcomes? And what does a Klinio sample menu look like?
In this review we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review how Klinio works, and review medical research on the best diet for diabetes.
How Does Klinio Work?
Klinio’s app provides a number of features, but we want to focus on the diet features as we know from decades of medical research that diet is one of the most important factors for diabetes management and remission.
The brand claims that their app creates a “personalized meal plan” that reduces carbs gradually. Carb intake, specifically refined carb intake (think white bread, pastries, white rice) is associated with worse diabetes outcomes, so we consider this a reasonable approach.
Klinio suggests that diabetic patients should “make the switch to eating only small amounts of sugar” which we find to be a generally unhelpful statement because it fails to differentiate between different types of sugar. The blood sugar effects of eating a cake and eating a whole fruit like a cantaloupe are vastly different.
A 2021 medical review found that whole fruit intake is actually associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, so patients with prediabetes may not necessarily need to limit sugar intake overall; just added sugar intake. We would recommend that prediabetic patients speak with a Registered Dietitian (RD) for specific advice on fruit and sugar consumption rather than use the advice of a smartphone app.
Overall it seems based on the sample meal plans that Klinio is effective by shifting diabetic dietary patterns to a healthier model, but we take issue with some of the health claims on their website.
The video below shows how Klinio has worked for a real user:
Can Diet Alone Treat Diabetes?
We know that intake of refined carbohydrates, and carbohydrates generally, may cause blood sugar spikes in patients with type 2 diabetes. Therefore it logically follows that diets extremely low in carbohydrates may be beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes, and may even cause normalization of insulin function and remission of the condition.
A diet called the ketogenic (“keto”) diet has been studied extensively in clinical trials for its ability to improve and even reverse type 2 diabetes.
A meta-study published in the Cureus journal analyzed data from six clinical trials on keto diet and blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics. The researchers concluded the following: “The findings of this review show a significant effect of the ketogenic diet as compared to controls in terms of weight reduction, glycemic control, and improved lipid profile.”
This means that individuals on the keto diet lost weight, improved blood sugar levels and improved cholesterol levels relative to individuals eating their standard diet.
In one of the trials, HbA1c levels, which are a marker of blood sugar, decreased by 16% in only 16 weeks with a diet providing under 20 grams (g) of carbs.
Other medical research has found that a very-low-calorie diet (providing under 1,000 calories per day) reversed type 2 diabetes in over 50% of patients. It’s notable that the patients in the study were not on insulin so they may have recently been diagnosed with the condition.
This type of diet is unsustainable over long periods of time but may be therapeutic for short durations.
This Good Morning America segment highlights the findings:
Klinio Sample Menu Review
Klinio shares information about a sample meal plan in a blog article on their site. While we consider the meals suggested by Klinio to be significantly healthier than the average American diet, there are some potential further optimizations in our opinion.
Breakfast is a grilled cheese sandwich which seems to be a somewhat suboptimal choice for a diabetic given that bread can have a high glycemic index, and there isn’t even a specification about what type of bread should be used. This information would be useful to diabetic users of the app and blog.
Whole wheat bread has a lower glycemic index than white bread, which means that it reduces blood sugar spikes relative to white bread. There is also no specification as to what cheese to use, even though we know from a medical review published in the Frontiers in Nutrition journal that dairy from grass-fed animals is nutritionally superior to conventional dairy.
Lunch includes turkey and egg with no clarification on whether these should come from pastured animals. In our opinion, for optimal health effects they should.
We don’t have any major issues with Klinio’s meal plan but we believe that the recommendation to source animal products from pastured animals, and to use whole wheat rather than white bread, would make it healthier.
Is Klinio A Waste of Money?
In our opinion, Klinio is a waste of money because we cannot identify any medical studies proving it to be superior to simply eating healthier and reducing carb intake.
Most diabetic patients already know that eating broccoli and grass-fed beef is healthier than eating pizza, so we don’t really see much benefit in an app that recommends healthy foods.
We’re not suggesting that the app is ineffective or trying to discourage people from its use. We don’t believe the app is likely to be harmful in any way or worse than eating a standard diet.
Any intervention that can cause diabetic patients to eat healthier will likely improve their blood sugar levels and overall wellness; we just fail to see why Klinio is specifically effective beyond just making healthy lifestyle changes, and until the brand funds clinical research proving their app to cause greater blood sugar reductions than a control group simply eating less refined carbs and more produce, we consider the app somewhat of an inconvenience and will not recommend it.
Research-Backed Blood Sugar Support Supplement
Cinnamon extract is a dietary supplement that can help support healthy blood sugar levels. We are not suggesting this supplement should be used to treat any disease or medical condition, but we would like to share some clinical research on the effects of cinnamon supplementation and blood sugar.
A medical review published in the Annals of Family Medicine journal found that cinnamon consumption reduced fasting blood sugar levels, reduced total cholesterol levels and reduced triglyceride levels.
A clinical trial from 2006 found that cinnamon extract caused a 10.3% blood sugar reduction in type 2 diabetics, while placebo pills only caused a 3.4% reduction.
For consumers interested in cinnamon extract supplements, we recommend choosing a Ceylon cinnamon extract rather than a Cassia cinnamon extract, because Ceylon cinnamon has negligible levels of a toxin called coumarin that's high in Cassia cinnamon. A medical review published in the Nutrition Journal concluded that ceylon cinnamon was safer for this reason.
Illuminate Labs manufactures a ceylon cinnamon extract supplement that's potent (standardized to minimum 8% flavonoids) and is third-party tested to ensure purity and label accuracy.
Interested consumers can check out Illuminate Labs Ceylon Cinnamon Extract at this link.