The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #63 - Daniel Tal (Lumen)
Daniel Tal Mor is a seasoned entrepreneur, co-founder, and CEO of Lumen, a company developing consumer nutrition management platform, based on a small device that measures metabolism in a single breath and provides personalized food, lifestyle, and health recommendations.
Lumen was founded in 2014, and the company spent 4 years on research and development to create a product that accurately determines the source of the body's metabolic fuel. In 2016, beta trials for the Lumen device began, and in 2018, Lumen was officially launched on Indiegogo, where Lumen sold 10,000 devices during the pre-sale campaign alone.
Before Lumen, Daniel co-founded Wibiya, a platform that offered publishers tools for integrating, managing and tracking applications on their websites. In 2011 the company was acquired by Conduit where he held the positions of Vice President for almost three years. Before founding Wibiya Daniel co-founded another company called Joongel, a consumer online search engine.
Daniel lives in Tel Aviv, Israel with his spouse and 3 children.
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1:40 - IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook Group For A Weekly Episode GIVEAWAY, And To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!
1:50 - Lumen Lovers: Biohack Your Carb And Fat Burning (With Melanie Avalon): Join Melanie's Facebook Group If You're Interested In The Lumen Breath Analyzer, Which Tells Your Body If You're Burning Carbs Or Fat! You Can Learn More In Melanie's Episode With The Founder (The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #43 - Daniel Tal) And Get $25 Off A Lumen Device At MelanieAvalon.com/Lumen With The Code melanieavalon25
2:00 - LUMEN: Measure Your Breath To Instantly Find Out If You're Burning Carbs Or Fat! Get $25 Off A Lumen Device At MelanieAvalon.com/Lumen With The Code melanieavalon25
The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #43 - Daniel Tal
5:00 - Lumen History
6:00 - Using Lumen For Weight Loss Vs. Metabolic Flexibility
8:30 - The Lumen Journey: How Often To Use
9:05 - The Breathing Technique
10:30 - Listener Q&A: Patrice - Why Are The Breathing Directions Changing?
Breath: The New Science Of A Lost Art (James Nestor)
12:15 - The Calibration Phase
14:05 - Updating The Technology
15:15 - Listener Q&A: Jill - How Do Lapses In Readings Affect Things?
15:30 - Listener Q&A - Annie: IF You Miss A Few Days Does It Affect Anything?
16:20 - Lindsay: Do You Have To Take The Breath In The Morning?
17:45 - Listener Q&A: Kim When Will Fasting Be More Supported By The App?
19:15 - Carb Burning During The Fast
19:35 - Listener Q&A: Diane - Why Did I Go From Fat Burning To Carb Burning?
21:25 - Prep Dish: Weekly Grocery And Recipe Lists Which Are Gluten Free And Optionally Paleo, KETO, AIP, Or Alkaline! Get A Free 2 Week Trial At Prepdish.Com/Melanieavalon
23:10 - Listener Q&A: Nicole - Will Lumen Support Menstrual Cycles?
25:40 - Deciding Recommendations
29:25 - Is Lumen Accurate If You Don't Follow The Eating Plan?
30:25 - Listener Q&A: Lindsay - How Does Lumen Use The Info About Your Diet? And Increasing Carb Recommendations
31:40 - Listener Q&A: Patrice - Why Does Lumen Only Ask About Carb Goals And Not Fat Or Protein?
35:00 - Listener Q&A: Annie - Less Weighing And Measuring Vs Damon - More Measuring
36:00 - Will There Be Other Apps Integrated? (Fitbit, Apple Watch, Etc. )
36:45 - Should You Over Or Underestimate Carbs?
39:25 - Engaged Community
42:00 - Listener Q&A: Margaret - What Do The Breath Tags Do?
43:20 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Non-Toxic Beauty Products Tested For Heavy Metals, Which Support Skin Health And Look Amazing! Shop At Beautycounter.Com/MelanieAvalon For Something Magical! For Exclusive Offers And Discounts, And More On The Science Of Skincare, Get On Melanie's Private Beauty Counter Email List At MelanieAvalon.Com/CleanBeauty! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: Melanieavalon.Com/Beautycounterquiz
45:45 - Does Lumen Detect Dietary Or Body Fat?
47:00 - The Differences In Measuring Fat Vs Ketones
The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #53 - Trey Suntrup (Biosense)
49:00 - Listener Q&A: Lindsay - How Does Alcohol Affect The Readings And Fat Burn
51:35 - Listener Q&A: Yvonne: How To Practically Implement The Results
56:30 - Lumen Lovers: Biohack Your Carb And Fat Burning (With Melanie Avalon): Join Melanie's Facebook Group If You're Interested In The Lumen Breath Analyzer, Which Tells Your Body If You're Burning Carbs Or Fat! You Can Learn More In Melanie's Episode With The Founder (The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #43 - Daniel Tal) And Get $25 Off A Lumen Device At MelanieAvalon.Com/Lumen With The Code Melanieavalon25
Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, welcome back to the show. I am so excited about the conversation that I'm about to have, and I know my listeners have been eagerly, eagerly awaiting it. This is kind of a unique special episode. I haven't done this before. I'm here with Daniel Tal, he is the founder of a product called Lumen that has been a game-changer for me, for my audience, you guys are obsessed with it. It's fascinating. It's a breath analyzer, and it determines if you are burning carbs or fat. It uses the science of indirect calorimetry. And we talked about this the first time I had Daniel on, but this was the first time that that science-- which previously and still is used in clinical trials, basically, and in studies. The first time that it's available to the public, and the science is incredible. The Lumen device is just so cool, and it comes with an app. It shows you if you're burning carbs or fat. It makes food recommendations, dietary recommendations.
And it has been so popular with my audience, so popular. People were talking about it left and right in my Facebook group, IF Biohackers, that I decided to start another Facebook group just for it because that's how obsessed you guys are. So, you guys should all join there if you're at all interested in learning more about the Lumen. I've since brought in the group to also include the Biosense device, which measures ketones so that anybody who wants to do breath measuring of any kind, and maybe, Daniel, we can talk a little bit about the differences between those devices. That group is called Lumen Lovers & Biosense Biohackers.
But in any case, I will refer listeners to the first conversation that I had with Daniel, and I'll put links to that in the show notes. That was melanieavalon.com/carbfatburning was the first episode if you really want to dive deep and learn all about the science of Lumen. But I thought for this episode, I've had so much feedback, so many questions from listeners that you guys were begging to bring Daniel back and ask him some questions. So, that's the purpose of this conversation. So, Daniel, thank you so much for being here.
Daniel Tal: Thank you, Melanie, and [unintelligible [00:02:10] not needed, you have given a better introduction than I can probably ever give. So, I'm happy to be here.
Melanie Avalon: It's been absolutely wonderful. I was telling you this just before. I know we could dive deep and we could talk about just the Lumen device for the next hour. But since I did want to ask a lot of questions straight from listeners to you, I was wondering if just to start things off, for those who are completely new to Lumen, could you just tell them a little bit about the device? What it is? How you created it? What it does for the user?
Daniel Tal: Sure. Lumen is basically a tool that helps you understand and improve your metabolism. To be a bit more precise, what we look at is the carb versus fat usage of the body in real-time in different context. By breathing into this device on a daily basis, and then in the mornings, and then on several occasions throughout the day, you start learning more about yourself, how your respond to food, and eventually you can tweak your body to reach your goals. So, it would be weight loss, or it could be performance, or it could be just metabolic flexibility and health, which is something we're promoting and introducing now.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, awesome. Actually, you just touched on something that I've been getting questions about. Because I think in our first conversation, I don't know if I asked the question, but in any case, we talked about whether or not it was appropriate for people who were obese. I think the impression that was given was that it wasn't for obese people, and I think people since then have taken that to mean it's not to be used for weight loss, either. So, I just wanted to clear up that confusion because a lot of people have been asking me about that.
Daniel Tal: No, it can be definitely used for weight loss, but we don't perceive weight loss as the primary goal. We look at metabolic flexibility as the primary goal or metabolic health. Weight loss and better performance and better health in general are basically a secondary or a derivative of that. So, yes, people can use this to lose weight and definitely can use this to improve performance. But if you ask us, why do we exist? We come to kind of empower people to understand and make better decisions around their metabolism and nutrition.
Melanie Avalon: I love that so much. That's basically my mentality about diet and lifestyle anyway. Even intermittent fasting, people, which is a big part of what I talk about in my audience, and people often come to that for weight loss, but I think it's more about the benefits of your overall health and metabolism, and then, like you said, weight loss is just a side benefit.
Daniel Tal: Weight loss also is something that eventually-- you don't want to continue losing weight for the rest of your life. You want to find balance. And in a way to find balance, you need the tools to understand where you're heading and make small adjustments, not necessarily tweak your complete diet to something extreme or completely different than what you're used to doing. You want to introduce fasting to your habits. And with those habits, eventually, you can lose weight. but what Lumen will show you is your journey in metabolic health, which is pretty singular to Lumen, because know that there can be many diets that you can take and just purely lose weight. So, this is not us.
Melanie Avalon: I love it. That is one thing I've been seeing in the groups is, people are following all different diets. I think they're finding it really interesting to see how their bodies react to it. Something about the science. So, when I first got the device-- because for listeners, you get the Lumen device, and it's not just like you breathe into it, and you're done. It's like a whole like-- what would the word be?
Daniel Tal: It's a journey as well. You start with the calibration phase, and the system gets to know you, and you try to bake it into your routine in the mornings, and then you can find more opportunities to use it throughout the day. Some people are really curious about their body in different situations. So, they breathe through it several times a day. It's about the learning that you get, and the journey and the small decisions that you make, to make an impact for the long run.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 100%. With the breathing specifically, I think I understand more now why when you take the breath, you don't just breathe through it, there's like steps to it. You have to breathe a certain way. You have to sit in a certain way. You have to do everything a certain way. I didn't understand-- I mean I understand exactly why the reasoning for that. But then, I've been reading James Nestor’s new book Breath, and it's all about breathing. He talks a lot about though, like carbon dioxide and oxygen and how breathing affects that. And I was like, “Oh, I understand now why in your app, you have to breathe a certain way.” I'm guessing, this is just me guessing. But is it in order to get the deep lung sample correctly?
Daniel Tal: Yes, that's true. We are working very hard on reducing friction. So, you can take that measurement while standing up, and maybe in the future to take less measurements, less sessions per measurement. So, there are things that we're doing to improve it, but yes, we sample a very specific point within your lungs where we can see the exchange from CO2 and O2 on a deeper level. So, that's true.
Melanie Avalon: It's so incredible. I understand now a little bit why this hadn't been done before, because getting the lung sample correct seems to be such a tricky thing and it's pretty incredible that you guys have made this technology accessible to us. One listener, Patrice, she wanted to know why the breathing directions have been changing because with the app, it's constantly evolving and updating. She says that, for the first two weeks that she did it, she was inhaling and exhaling three times and then taking in the Lumen breath, then the next week, she was exhaling a little through the nose. Now, she says it's asking her, I guess, a different way to take it. When a person uses it, are those updates because you're finding better ways to measure the breath?
Daniel Tal: Yes. It's not just better ways. There is a reception to the guidance of how to take a measurement. Sometimes, the instructions themselves put some people into stress, or they're harder to execute. We're testing different types of breathing guidance, that's one aspect. The other aspect is, yes, that we're constantly improving our ability to accommodate for more mistakes and allow people to take that measurement a bit more easily. We're constantly changing and testing things. But basically, this is not going to be something that we're going to continuously do forever because we're at a point now where we see that most users as they start, and let's say about two weeks into that experience, they really become accustomed to a certain way that they breathe and it can be repetitive, and so their results and their, let's say, habits of taking that measurement is already becoming constant enough, so we don't need to change anything to that.
The answer is we're constantly testing stuff, but currently now only on new users, to improve. And once we really make a break and find new discoveries, we’ll gradually introduce them to existing users.
Melanie Avalon: To that point, actually, you touched on it already, but the calibration phase because-- for listeners when you first get the device, there is a calibration phase, where you are calibrating.
Daniel Tal: Yeah, there is news on that actually. Now, we removed the calibration phase. So, there is no day that you should high carb to an extreme or low carb to low carb before that. Basically, you start, you answer a few questions, and the system learns as you go, because we already have so much data from thousands of users who are actively using our device on a daily basis that we already manage to tailor the device much better to every person on the day he opens the package. So, that's also maybe news. You're already done with calibration, so it'll not impact you but for future users, it's nice.
Melanie Avalon: Wow. Okay, I had a lot of questions about that, but I guess they're no longer relevant. Yeah. Because a lot of people wanted to know because you've had to eat higher carbs and stuff like that. So now, when listeners get the device, if they're new, they won't have to?
Daniel Tal: Yeah, we're basically asking them if they're on a ketogenic diet or low-carb diet in the past few days, and that's it. And if they are, they're not, they're just answering and we start, and we kid of tweak it as we go. But we already have such a solid baseline, so the real need for calibration is no longer there. Because that was a lot of friction for a lot of people that they somehow immediately are offered or are asked to take a very high-carb day and it's not in their comfort, and they not sure that they did it enough. We listened to our users in that sense, and really worked on reducing that friction of the first day.
Melanie Avalon: That's really awesome. We talked about this in the last episode, but that's the beauty of this whole technology. Once you have the Lumen device, the app can always be updated, always be evolving. Anybody who gets a device at any point will be continually up to date with everything.
Daniel Tal: Yes, that's a super important point. We're about 45 people in the company, and the people who do hardware are less than half. So, most of our engineers and most of the team that is working to build this experience is data science and engineers and product and design. So, most of us invest in exploring and expanding the experience through the app. The device we're constantly improving as well, but most of the team is really focused and zoomed in on the app experience and how we can help people get to their goals and become healthier.
Melanie Avalon: That is so incredible. While we're still talking about the breaths and everything and taking the readings, we have some questions about actually taking the readings. Jill wants to know, how do lapses in readings affect things. She said, she got a puppy, and she was not sleeping well, and she stopped taking readings for two weeks. And then, she went back to it. She wanted to know, would those two weeks really affect things? Or similarly, Annie says if she misses just a few sporadic days, does it affect everything?
Daniel Tal: No, it doesn't. As long as you get four readings a week, we can kind of understand where your body is. Out of seven days, we need about four readings. With that, we can update and help you reflect on your own metabolic health score or flexibility score. And I think the question refers to that, because eventually every week that you take measurements, those measurements sum up and either improve your metabolic health score or decrease it. So, if you miss a few days, no, it's not as big of a deal. I also miss some days, it's fine. It happens.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Love it. Lindsay wants to know specifically about the breath that you take when you wake up or start your day, she wants to know, does she have to measure it 20 to 30 minutes after waking up? Because a lot of my listeners do intermittent fasting, she wants to know if she can do it later in the day. Or does it really needs to be right in the morning?
Daniel Tal: The morning is very much indicative to what we want to see because we want to see your body response to the sleep and to the fasting time you had, in the morning. The answer is, the morning routine is important, but and having that said, fasting about 40%, I think 50% of our users are actually fasting or doing some sort of time-restricted feeding. This is a new feature we are introducing as well, and that is going to be actually to take to understand where you were in the morning time. Let's say you wake up on a three, three is carbs and fats, and we want to see how your intermittent fasting is impacting. There will be more measurements throughout the day in context that you can actually test and see whether your fasting got your body to stress or your fasting helped your body really to tune more into fat burn. So, this is really planned in the next, let's say, two months.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, perfect. Well, you answered Kim's question. She wants to know when fasting was going to be more supported by the app. Yeah, because, obviously, lot of my listeners, and then it seems from what you just said, a lot of the users in general are doing fasting. So, that'll be exciting.
Daniel Tal: And this is also for us, when we listen to feedback of that sort, we really try to understand where can we be valuable with a single measurement. If we just add one more measurement-- because we can ask people to measure themselves every hour, but we know it's friction to their day to day and we want to be as valuable as we can. We try to find and pinpoint that time, which is probably the end of fast that you should be measuring. And checking to see if your body is still in fat burn, lower and deeper into fat burn, or possibly, and that's the interesting aspect, therefore, your body switches to burning sugars, even though you've still been fasting since morning and haven't eaten anything. That's an interesting opportunity to start getting to know what is the ideal time for you to break your fast? What is the ideal timeframe for you? From when to when should you be fasting, night to morning or to lunch?
Melanie Avalon: In the Lumen group, people post about this all the time. Because they are fasting, maybe following a keto diet, maybe doing both, and they're just really shocked because a lot of people seem to have a trend where they feel like they're fat-burning, or Lumen says their fat burning, and then they go longer into the fast. And all of a sudden, it seems like they're carb burning. Or they do exercise, and then it shows that they're carb-burning. I got a lot of questions about it. Like Diane said, she says, “I'm fasting since 8:00 PM last night, I woke up and blew a 2. Three hours later, I'm still clean fasting and I blew a 3. I'd like to understand why I went from burning mostly fat to burning a mixture of carbs and fat?” But that's been kind of a trend.
Daniel Tal: Assuming that measurement was really taken in the proper manner of taking measurements, she was relaxed before and she sat down and got her resting heart rate to get to basic, yes, that could definitely happen. Once your body is not comfortable with the fast-- and not all people are fat-adapted, or sometimes the demand from your body for energy is a bit higher than it's used to, the body starts using carbs from glycogen stores. I'm not talking about people on extreme keto diets, those could also be explained. But, yes, definitely once the body starts resting, the fast becomes inefficient in that sense and you will see that your body's shifting a bit more towards carb-burn, even if you haven't been eating anything. So, that could happen. That's usually an indication that you should have broken your fast a bit sooner, and maybe not prolong the fast.
A lot of people believe that the more they fast, the better. It's really personal and it's really something that you kind of train your body to. Sometimes-- and there could be for females specifically, it could be a specific phase in their cycle. For men, it could be maybe post-workouts or something. Sometimes, the demand for the energy from the body is increased and the body will not feel comfortable burning fats in a sense, so that could happen.
Melanie Avalon: Nicole had a question. She wanted to know if Lumen will consider taking into account menstrual cycles in the future?
Daniel Tal: It's a huge spoiler. But, yes, definitely, this is something so impactful on so many of our users that we couldn't leave that behind. Pretty soon, nutrition recommendations will also include a menstrual cycle. This is something our scientists are designing and already using it and testing it on themselves. And it's amazing. We have so many users asking about this because they see messed up results in specific mornings in a specific phase in their cycle. Even if they haven't eaten any carbs at all and they've been doing great and felt great before, they wake up and they're burning carbs and even to the extreme, even a 4. So, we decided that we must include that and very, very soon. Because we see a huge opportunity to really give better recommendations and to deal with those days that we understand are extremely frustrating with unexpected hunger or cravings or sensations. And it's something that Lumen really wants to help people master.
Melanie Avalon: That is very exciting. Very exciting.
Daniel Tal: Yeah, I'm super excited as well. Even though I'm not a client for this feature, I have one at home, my spouse, Michal, I can feel what she's going through when I'm so close with her and seeing her measurement, and I'm excited for that as well.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, actually speaking to that, I know what I saw for me when I first started using Lumen, I was doing a low-carb diet-- I was kind of doing a cyclical ketogenic diet, so I was doing low carb with a carb up day. And I would see this trend where I would pretty much stay in fat burning pretty nicely throughout the fast. But then as the week crept on and I think I was really going through those carbs stores, then I started getting 3s and 4s in the fast until I did a carb up day and then it would start over.
Daniel Tal: That's a common thing. Again, as we go ahead and improve and really personalize the food recommendation and the macro recommendations, I think the system will get even more comfortable and really better and more accommodating these situations, either cycle or your own decisions of what diet are you practicing and how do you want to do it. It's an interesting line between how do you recommend people, but still accommodate what they were doing and their own diet and their own habits, because people want tools to help them understand, not necessarily change everything for them. So, this is something the product team is now really researching deeply to understand how we preserve our way as a tool on the one hand, and show and explain the science and explain and give the insights and try to help people change some stuff, but still accommodate whatever they are doing and not give them a sense that they're not playing the right game in a way.
Melanie Avalon: That really is a complicated thing to address because especially, especially in the biohacking health sphere, lot of people are on very specific macronutrient diets, they don't want to change for whatever reason. Even for me when I was doing it, in the beginning, I would not necessarily do what it would recommend. And then, I would just adjust to say what I had done.
Daniel Tal: Yeah, we see that a lot. And you have different types of audience. You have your audience-- people who really know their body, probably know their macros, they know better than Lumen to some extent what's working for them and what's not. Lumen can just help them reflect and make some adjustment. But you have the other side of the spectrum as well, people who really want to a full plan that will really guide them what to eat and give them everything. That's a struggle, a product struggle to accommodate different types of needs. People who want to be told exactly what to do, and people who really know what they're doing and they just need some small nudges in the right direction, or to open up to a new metric and to figure out some more stuff that they haven't so far.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I love that. You've said exactly what I was going to say. On the flip side, there's the people that are just like, "Tell me everything."
Daniel Tal: Yeah. And we constantly have that debate within the product team. How could we eventually come to serve and who will feel most comfortable with a Lumen? That's fun. That's part of the product creation and feedback from users and from our audiences is basically what guides us in this.
Melanie Avalon: The way I would love to interact with it would be if it still wanted to recommend, obviously, the plan that it thinks, but then-- it's basically what I was already doing. I guess if it was just posited as this is the recommendation, but then if you don't do it, you tell what you did do.
Daniel Tal: Right. No, that's exactly the point. The suggestions and recommendations should be there, but if you're not taking them, you shouldn't feel that you're not playing the game well or not doing well within the system. This is something in the works at the moment as well because when we launched this, we wanted to make sure that people will get results and we wanted to make sure that people will get the transition from fat to carbs because we believe that's healthy, and we still believe that is healthy. But the friction of having a very specific nutrition plan for some users, and I imagine that for your audience as well, it's not always-- doesn't give them the full comfort that the system knows them very well and the system appreciates them as very good users within it. So, that's something on the path to change.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. This is so exciting. It's like we're on the same page about everything. Diane, she wants to know, “Is Lumen accurate if you don't follow the eating plan?”
Daniel Tal: Yes. Well, we get that question a lot. Lumen is accurate regardless of anything. It's a product decision that we made early on, which we're reconsidering now as we speak, about asking you to log a bit what you did yesterday before that morning measurement. There is absolutely no link between whatever you log manually and what Lumen shows you. Lumen really reflects the CO2 concentration that it sees, and it just conveys that at a level. That's it. In the future, not in the far future, we're going to put that morning questions that come before your measurement, we're going to push that just afterwards, so people will not ask and will never feel that there is anything related to what they see on their data, or what they log to the result they see in front of them.
Melanie Avalon: To that point, Lindsey wanted to know how Lumen uses the info that is put in about carb serving sleep fast hours before we unlock our day. So, is that what you were talking about?
Daniel Tal: The way we use that information, and we will talk specifically about the carbs servings that you log of the previous day, is basically to understand how your body receptivity to carbs in a way. If you ate more than planned and ended up on fat burn, Lumen takes that into account and potentially can increase your carb recommendations or your allowance for different types of days. As people become more and more flexible, and basically more metabolically healthy, they can actually have more carbs, their body can sustain a bit more carbs in their diet. And so, Lumen will increase carb recommendations as you improve. The goal is basically to have a feedback loop and understand what you've done yesterday, and to understand how it impacted over your body. That's how we take into account the carb logging in the morning.
Melanie Avalon: Also to that point, Patrice wants to know for that morning breath, “Why does Lumen only ask about the carb goal and not the fat and protein goal?”
Daniel Tal: That's a great question. You can see some of the questions, the product-- and not the struggles but the conflict the product team has, by really understanding what we recommend, and what do we take expect our users to follow. Because if I ask a person to follow just a low, medium high-carb day in general, that's a certain level of friction. If I ask him to count carbs, that's probably a bit higher friction. If I asked that person to count carbs, proteins, and fats, that's even a deeper level of friction. So, it's a constant struggle, how deep should Lumen recommend stuff? We gave proteins and fat to help people who care about that and want to master everything, to give them the ability to do so. But Lumen is trying to cater to something that you will be able to manage with very little cognitive effort, which is basically carbs. It could be measured in servings. So, one carb serving is 15 grams of carbs. It could be measuring in low-carb day, high-carb day, no-carb day, or medium-carb day. But if you start measuring or managing the three metrics, it's huge cognitive load and we don't think that it's right for people.
We actually don't recommend to eat everything, to know every bit of gram of different macro you put in your mouth unless you're optimizing for something very specific, but we think that you can get by with a little less than that. So, that's why we don't ask people to log fats and proteins the next morning, because we believe it will be even harder and put more friction on users and they will feel challenged and not playing well into the game or teaching the system what it should really know.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, this is just me thinking about it. Maybe it'll be really cool if it asked the user, how much they do want to weigh and measure or track, so then people who just want to do the minimum and then some people don't want to like track everything, can put it in.
Daniel Tal: That's an option. For me, I'm trying to find the silver lining because I don't think even the ability to quantify everything-- like normal people who don't work, really quantifying macros all the time can get it wrong. My tendency is, yes, let's allow it to people who want to really log everything perfectly. But for the standard user, what we call our high-value users, the one that we want to go through that journey, learn new things, learn his body, and improve his health by managing nutrition, but not getting completely-- not obsessed, but not fixated on every gram of every macro. So, we want to give some sort of sense of freedom in Lumen and not enforce more and more friction on people's life around nutrition. But that's a good point, noted.
Melanie Avalon: With our diets, we are all also different, and we all measure it different ways. Even to what you just said, like Annie, for example, she said she would rather weigh and measure her own carbs, rather than use the looser guidelines of “servings.” On top of that, since she's following IF, she'd actually prefer to eat to satiety rather than weigh and measure at all. But then on the complete flip side, we have Damon, who said since it primarily concentrates on carbs, he says there should be a way to upload what you eat to track it. So, he had actually rather an even more--
Daniel Tal: Yeah, it's a complex problem, because really different types of people really need to find themselves in the system. It's always complex because people are doing different things and putting focus on different things because nutrition is complex. And even fasting is complex. It's something that we keep in our mind constantly and probably be changed more and more in the coming future.
Melanie Avalon: Do you have any plans to implement other health tracking apps or programs into the app? Will they be integrated with it? I got a lot of questions about that. People want to know if Fitbit or Happy Scale or Apple Watch or different programs?
Daniel Tal: There are a couple of things in the works. Now, I can't announce them yet. But there are already couple of things in the process. Integration and data are basically our next direction. So, instead of recommending deeper specifically on nutrition, we want to put all the data that we can on one surface and put metabolism in the focus. So, definitely Fitbit or different types of integrations to the Watch, and so forth, those will be coming, hopefully pretty soon as well.
Melanie Avalon: Exciting. This is the exciting teaser episode of all the exciting things to come. While we're still talking about it, one more thing for the carbs. Nicole wants to know if she can't quite gauge her carbs for the day-- she enjoyed the food or the celebration, she didn't count, she doesn't want to count. Is it better to over or underestimate how many carbs she ate?
Daniel Tal: She should try to be as accurate as she can, but probably over-- yes, I would say probably over, but the answer to that question-- basically that question is probably touching the roots of our problem. If we don't give her the right tool to reflect what she did yesterday because she didn't count, she's feeling not doing her best or not doing or not letting the system know exactly, so she feels short in the system. So, it's a product problem and it's not her problem. It's something for us to launch and introduce exactly what we want people to answer. And it should be with minimal cognitive load. The fact that she need to remember the number and she hasn't is something that we should-- as you suggested before, we should put as something that is basically advanced or permission, you don't have to do that.
Melanie Avalon: Just to reiterate for listeners, I just think this is just so incredible. Because we haven't talked since the first time I interviewed you, so I wasn't sure how this conversation was going to go, but it's incredible. It sounds you guys are really on the same page and really taking into account all of this and making it the best that it can be for everybody. And people are already loving it. Wow! As it continues to evolve, it's going to be even better and better.
Daniel Tal: We're working for those people who are breathing every day. This is the mindset of the team. Any comment like that, and probably the comments you hear in your community are the ones that we get in our customer success as well. So, things are repetitive for our users. It's not-- probably common starts to go back and back, and we talk a lot, we hear a lot about integrations and we hear a lot about opportunities for more data and we hear a lot about the menstrual cycle. We just know it's easy for us because we have such an engaged community. We never sit and say, “Okay, what can we develop and build today?” It's more, “Okay, let's see, what is the biggest opportunity to make impact on huge portion of our users that care about something, and let's do it.” It's very much satisfying to get that feedback and to know that you can basically act on that and improve.
Melanie Avalon: To the point about the engaged community, I've had these shows for years now. I've had my original Facebook group, IF Biohackers, for probably a year and a half, and I've worked with a lot of biohacking products. And never until Lumen was I like, “I need to start a new Facebook group for this.”
Daniel Tal: Wow, it's super flattering.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because people were just posting every single day about Lumen and I was like, “We just got to get them all talk,” because then people would all be talking about it and I was like this needs its own separate community within my community. Did you anticipate this though, when you first created this device that it would manifest into this whole thing?
Daniel Tal: Yeah, it's hard to anticipate, because when you're doing this alone or when you're a team of 10 and doing this, to really imagine thousands of people will be getting that and then creating movement around that, it's hard to imagine. But I had a sense that it could potentially be there because people are really obsessed about their food and really understand that it's so impactful on our health, and it's so impactful on the way we age, and so impactful on our performance. We become a bit more and more aware to our body and to changing demands in a way. I definitely saw the potential of that.
I just didn't know if people as opposed to, let's say, Fitbit, or Oura ring, or Whoop. So, these are things that you just put in your finger, putt on your hand, and you let them be, and you explore them on your own terms. Lumen is different, in that sense that it has more friction because it's a breath, it's something that you really need to actively take a step and go and do, and it's not something obvious. Though people should really want to know what's happening and should actively engage. That's really fun to see that people are getting hooked. And it feels that the device is a compass to them and to me as well. It's really a compass that guides and nudge, and allow you to be strict on your nutrition, and sometimes allows you to let go and say, “Okay, I have that compass, so I can have a free evening. It's fine. I can let go.” And it shouldn't necessarily be always, always a struggle.
Melanie Avalon: It is a compass, that’s so great. While we're still in the breath world, the breath tags that you can add, a lot of questions about those. Like Margaret, she just says, “I would like to know what happens to the tags when I take a tag?”
Daniel Tal: Tags, at the moment, are two things. One, it's for the person to basically to log stuff by himself and to allow him to explore. It doesn't change anything in the system, in your scores, or in anything else. For us, it was the ability to look and understand what context do people care about and really bake that into the product experience better. We have morning measurement today, and pre-workout and post-workout, and we have a boost measurement, which is a measurement to see that your body is actually shifting to use carbs. Pretty soon, we're going to have more measurements and more opportunities to measure that are basically based on what users are already doing. So, those tags, even though they don't make any impact on the system, they make impact on us, the product team that designs the future experience. So, we learneby understanding that.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, perfect. Yeah, because that was a question and I don't have the name of who said it, but they wanted to know, does the app take these into account with its recommendation? So, it does not.
Daniel Tal: No, with the tags, it doesn't take.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Here's a huge foundational question which people keep asking. Nicole wants to know, does the Lumen device detect if we're using dietary fat or body fat?
Daniel Tal: That's a great question. It cannot detect dietary fat or body fat because essentially it detects lack of CO2, which is basically fat usage. So, it's a great question. But morning time at fasting, which is the time where people will take that measurement, we expect to only have body fat and not dietary fat. So, in the context of a morning measurement, we're okay. If you are eating, let's say, a ketogenic diet or if you're eating very low carb or no carb at all-- your fat or any type of fat, we don’t know if that's a dietary fat or is it your body now burning its own fat stores. We don't know that.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Basically, if you're certain you're completely fasted, there's no food in your system and it says you're burning fat, then it's body fat, otherwise, potentially, one of the either.
Daniel Tal: Exactly.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Very cool. Still in this realm of measuring because I mentioned at the beginning, I've also had on the makers of the Bioscience device, which is a device that measures ketones, not carbon dioxide. For users that have both devices-- Well, first of all, do you have comments about the difference between those two devices? If a person is ketogenic and they're in ketosis and they're fat burning, what are the benefits or the differences or the upsides or downsides to measuring fat versus measuring ketones?
Daniel Tal: I would say first, I don't know the specific sensor they're using for acetone measurement. But if you're someone who is also not eating a full ketogenic diet and you're also eating carbs from time to time, more than 30 grams or more than 50 grams, most of the acetone sensors that I know are not selective for acetone specifically, that could be a problem. So, people who are not fully into a ketogenic diet should probably not measure themselves with any acetone sensor that currently exists on the market. I'm saying that with this one caveat that I don't really know, but most off-the-shelf acetone sensors that I know of, cannot really detect-- Well, they could also respond to carb to a certain type of DOC that is a result of carb metabolism as well.
Melanie Avalon: Really quickly to that point. So, I had them on the show, and I do know it was measuring acetone, but I'm going to ask them about that because I actually had that question, could it potentially respond to anything else? So, I will ask them. Listeners, stay tuned.
Daniel Tal: As far as I know, acetone really increases-- if you're doing a ketogenic diet, as an understanding of how deep into ketosis you are, acetone can be an indicator. There are some scientists also mentioning that acetone is not perfect as predicting ketone bodies in the body. Once you get very deep into ketosis, it becomes not as accurate as a urine stick. But that's one difference in terms of measuring acetone and measuring CO2. CO2 is actually responding to carbs. We look at fat burn by the lack of CO2 in your breath. So probably, if you want to measure both, it really depends on your diet and on your nutrition.
But Lumen really focuses on flexibility. In order to see flexibility, you must see that your body is also using carbs. And I don't think acetone sensors can actually show that, and show the intensity of your body in using those carbs. It really depends what you're optimizing for. If it's metabolic health and metabolic flexibility, and you want to have carbs as part of your nutrition and part of your life, and you understand and believe that there are important aspect to optimizing your performance and to socialize, and that there are a lot of good foods that you can benefit from that have carbs. And if that's the mindset, then probably optimize for metabolic flexibility and health. And if you're into keto or very low-carb diets, and you want to dismiss all carbs, I would not recommend that. But then, probably figuring out how deep into ketosis you are, will be more your thing. So, acetone is your sensor, and therefore, Lumen is probably not.
Melanie Avalon: Gotcha. And I realized, in this episode, I don't think I ever actually said the data that Lumen gives you about if you're measuring carbs or fat. For listeners, who are not familiar, it's on a scale of 1 to 5. And 1 and 2 are fat-burning, 3 is a combination of fat and carbs, and 4 and 5 are carb-burning. And question from me, because I know last time we talked, you talked about how 1 to 5 was how you guys chose to present the information but the spectrum might actually be more than that. Do you think you're going to stay with the 1 to 5 scale or do you think that you'll make any changes there or--?
Daniel Tal: We'll definitely make changes. As part of the fact that we can now see the calibrate-- Well, there is no requirement for a calibration day and we can see the user's scale as he starts because we collected enough data from enough people, we're going to also introduce a new sensor in the next device and we're going to improve the granularity of the levels. I cannot say yet exactly by how much, but it's going to be more granular. Definitely, to you and your audience, and to me as well, it's going to be much more engaging. So, you can get small sense of progress or a small regression as well.
Melanie Avalon: When you release the new sensor, if we already have the device, will they be able to upgrade it at all? Or will that be a whole new device?
Daniel Tal: It's going to be a new device because it's a new hardware, but not necessarily the levels are dependent on the new sensor. So, it's still TBD exactly when we will release and which form. But there is going to be a new sensor, and there are going to be more levels for sure.
Melanie Avalon: Very exciting. Another fun little question. I know we're running up on time. Alcohol. So, how does alcohol affect the readings? Lindsey wants to know. I guess, she had a meal that included alcohol in it, and it had carbs. She was surprised that she actually said she was a 2 after. She wanted to know, “Was my body burning the alcohol. I know that metabolism prioritizes the alcohol first. So, what does CO2 output look like while the body is burning alcohol?”
Daniel Tal: You actually gave the answer. So, alcohol metabolizes first, basically and the way the organ in our body that's responsible for alcohol metabolism is delivered and it's exactly where you see fat burn as well. So, alcohol has an RQ, that's the metric we measuring, and a very similar RQ to fat burn. So, alcohol describes itself as when you drink alcohol and you make a measurement, you will actually see that your bodies is more tuned into fat burn, it could definitely happen. And so, alcohol really distorts the measurement for us in that sense because it could mistakenly show you that you're burning fat, but you're actually metabolizing alcohol. And usually what happens is that once the alcohol is not in our system, the body will tune to carb burn. So, you should see that spike.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, she actually said that she tested about two hours later, and it had gone up to a 3. That's so interesting. Do you think you would ever add an update where we would put in alcohol?
Daniel Tal: Yeah, that's a very good point, I believe so. It really depends on the context. You can log your own stuff, and you can log alcohol and you can tag it. But we want to take usage of those tags to help people understand what's happening. What's happening if you had alcohol in the evening, and how do you wake up the next morning. Once you start collecting that data specifically on yourself, you start seeing patterns. For me, alcohol at night is probably not-- Usually, when I get alchol late at night, I will never wake up on fat burn. Never. For me, alcohol is probably, I should start drinking at 5:00 PM, probably stop drinking alcohol at 8:00. And I learned that about my body because I was aiming to wake up on fat burn even on evenings that I drank alcohol before. So, yes, that's a long answer to your question. Yes, it's important and we see that opportunity as something we should implement.
Melanie Avalon: I love it. Well, to bring everything full circle to what we were talking about. In the beginning, we were talking about the device, Yvonne says, “I get the science and how it works. I just like more information on what we should do after each result, not just eat more or less carbs today, but a real picture of what that looks like in practice.” So, yeah, if you'd like to talk one more time about how a person using Lumen integrates it into their life and how they put that into the practice of their life rather than just focusing on the carbs or whatever it may be.
Daniel Tal: First, it's the responsibility of the product team. But if you realize that what you're basically doing is testing your metabolism and using nutrition and fasting in order to improve it and flexing it, so when your body doesn't have any dietary fats or carbs, it will use fats very comfortably. And when you're working out and you have demand for carbs and for more energy that you can utilize immediately, your body will do that shift and use those carbs. That's basically what Lumen wants to see. It wants to see from time to time that your body is using carbs, and morning times of fasting that your body's is tuned into fat. That's the goal. Everything beyond that, how to eat is our recommendation and the way we receive healthy and balanced nutrition. But technically, you can find balanced nutrition, any person can find that basically on whatever is his next step in his nutritional journey.
And for some people, it's introducing fasting and intermittent fasting. For some people, it would be a low carb diet. For some people, it can be carb cycling. And for some people, a short period of ketogenic diet can also be super impactful. Lumen is becoming more agnostic to exactly how to eat. We do encourage people to cycle carbs and to find the optimal amount of carbs to make their nutrition, support their performance, and support their goals. But on the flip side, it's a game we can never win. We can never be the best nutrition plan for people and the best tool, and the best insightful and data platform. We need to make a choice what we do first. It's going to be the data and it's going to be the insights and it's going to be helping people reflect on their health and their body. And, yes, there are always going to be food and carb recommendations and more tools to help people follow. But, first, we want to make people understand. That's way, way more important to us, understand more about their body about patterns, their lifestyle, and how it's impacting. We're doubling down on that.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I love hearing that so much. Just hearing all that makes sense why it's resonating with so many people because that's everything that I believe that there's not one right diet, there's not one answer. We're all so unique. And that's something that you really can explore with Lumen. So, yeah, this has been absolutely incredible. No wonder, like I said, my audience wanted to start a whole community for it. We're almost at 1,000 members, which is kind of crazy.
Daniel Tal: Wow. I'm joining.
Melanie Avalon: Yay. Daniel, we will be there. Yeah, definitely, definitely join us there. So, that brings me to my last question, you might remember that I asked you it on the last podcast, but it's just because I am realizing more and more each day, how important mindset is surrounding everything. So, what is something that you're grateful for?
Daniel Tal: So, last time, I think I was grateful for the team that's working with me. And this time, I need to be grateful for something else because it's the same team, they're amazing. I'm grateful for my two daughters because they're having a very different childhood than what I had. I never knew about nutrition, I never cared. Kids at my age, I was born in the 80s, no one really cared about nutrition and food around me. And I see them now, and I see how they are informed and know and ask questions, and it's really empowering me to see that, “Wow, this thing is changing.” And people get to care more and more and our kids care now. So, it's already game over. We won in a way. People are going to care more, and going to learn more about their body and eventually, I believe nutrition is going to be solved. Well, that's what I'm grateful for them to showing me where it's heading.
Melanie Avalon: I love that so much and so wonderful. Well, this has been absolutely amazing. I've been looking forward to this for quite a while. I know my audience has as well. For listeners, who do not have a Lumen device, you can get your own Lumen device, just go to melanieavalon.com/lumen, and use the coupon code 'MelanieAvalon25,' and that actually will get you $25 off, which is incredible. I'm so, so grateful for that. Before we go, Daniel, is there any other links, any other resources that you'd like to put out there for listeners?
Daniel Tal: No, it's still all on our websites. And we're gradually improving and building knowledge center because all these questions, we want to allow people to self-explore. We'll have a knowledge center open in the coming few weeks. And, yes, please search and ask us and challenge us on things that you see and ask questions, and it really helps us build a better product for all of you. So, really appreciate that and grateful for that as well.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, this has been absolutely incredible and I feel like we're going to have to bring you back, maybe in 2021.
Daniel Tal: Honestly, it's a way for me to really hear from the audience and know that we're working on the right solutions. So, for me, it's probably the best spent hour I can do as a CEO, really.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Okay, well, 2021, we should bring you back and we'll talk some more. Well, thanks, Daniel. This has been amazing. Thank you.
Daniel Tal: Thank you, Melanie. Thank you so much.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Daniel Tal: Bye.