'Clinic-in-the-cloud': Weight loss programme that is home delivered, made to suit your needs

Health tech start-up has launched a virtual weight loss schedule which promises results that are based on each person’s unique metabolic data


Lamya Tawfik

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Published: Wed 28 Dec 2022, 6:00 AM

Imagine a personalised, clinic-in-the-cloud-based weight loss programme that is home delivered and made to suit you and only you. A health tech start-up has launched just such a virtual weight loss programme which promises results that are based on each person’s unique metabolic data.

Based on their experience working with diabetes management through their platform GluCare.Health, meta[bolic] have decided to expand and deliver value to non-diabetics who are on a weight loss journey by launching Zone.

Ali Hashemi, Co-founder of meta[bolic], said: "meta[bolic]’s data analytic platform helps Zone members and their coaches identify the biological blockers that prevent the individual from losing weight. The Zone multidisciplinary team helps patients reach sustainable weight loss results over a six-month period through a combination of doctor-prescribed FDA-approved medication, wearables that provide digital biomarkers, and behavioural modification."

He added that the results and clinical outcomes that GluCare.Health has delivered are vastly superior to regular episodic diabetes care.

meta[bolic] co-founders (L) Dr Ihsan Almarzooqi, (R) Ali Hashemi. Photo: Supplied
meta[bolic] co-founders (L) Dr Ihsan Almarzooqi, (R) Ali Hashemi. Photo: Supplied

Unlike GluCare, which has two components, a physical infrastructure comprising a clinic, labs and doctors in addition to a digital infrastructure which monitors patients remotely and continuously, Zone only comprises the latter.

“We realised that managing diabetics in the way it has been done — episodic and heavily based on medication — isn’t going to move the needle. We see it all the time: advances in every part of healthcare from drugs to diagnoses to access and yet very poor outcomes,” said Dr Ihsan Almarzooqi, Co-founder of meta[bolic].

The reason, according to Dr Almarzooqi, is that healthcare providers haven’t changed the model of care to suit the 21st century. “Diabetes does have a genetic component but it’s essentially a disease of mostly behaviour, not of genetics, and you can’t solve a behavioural problem in an episodic five-minute conversation every quarter with your doctor,” he said.

Zone captures metabolic data all day through digital wearable devices and those enrolled in the programme are constantly monitored by a healthcare team comprising a coach, endocrinologist and a dietician, who monitor, engage and provide continuous feedback to members through the zone.health app. This holistic approach of personal data monitoring and precision medication improves metabolic health and achieves sustainable weight loss quickly and safely.

“We have a whole clinical team in the cloud,” Dr Almarzooqi said.

Following an initial home visit and a two-week observation, which the company calls Continuous Metabolic Monitoring, the first titration of medication is administered, and the glucose continues to be monitored. Every month after that, the medicine is titrated up or down. “This is what physicians don’t do. They are given medication for three months,” he said.

Studies show that the guarantee of weight loss by using weight-loss medication only — and not implementing parallel behavioural changes — can result in a five per cent loss of a person’s body weight. By contrast, Zone Health’s pre-launch clinical study with its members showed that, on average, a person who follows the complete programme loses 10 per cent or more of their body weight over six months. In fact, the latest Zone health research of 179 members showed an average weight loss ratio of 11.48 per cent over this period.


Throughout the six-month programme, participants need to send pictures of the food they’re eating so that the glucose data is accurately measured. “The glucose monitor is a great behavioural change tool. It shows the foods that should be avoided for each individual because you see the spike. We don’t have this binary approach of stop eating carbs or not,” he said.

By closely monitoring the participants, a lot of the guess work is eliminated. “Any data point which will help move the needle on behavior we capture it and we want to synthesize and corelate it against another sources of data,” he said adding, “We have no prescriptive approach in terms of how much exercise is needed and how much food must be eaten.”

More news from UAE