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DnaNudge wristband tells you what you should and shouldn't eat

After a mere cheek swab, the product scanning device on display at CES learns what nutrients you need.

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DnaNudge aims to help users make small lifestyle changes that could make a big difference in health over time. 

Shelby Brown/ CNET
This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom floor and the hottest new tech gadgets around.

Small lifestyle changes can mean positive outcomes over a period of time. This isn't a new idea, but Chris Toumazou, CEO of DnaNudge, is taking it into the digital age. As we shake hands here in Las Vegas at CES 2020, a red wearable peeks out from under his sleeve. It's not a Fitbit or an Apple Watch... this is a DnaBand.

London-based DnaNudge, which Toumazou and his team have been developing for three years, wants to offer a simpler way to make healthy choices when you shop based on your own DNA. Wearables are a familiar technology, even for fitness goals, so the DnaBand could very well pioneer something new. 

"This is a familiar territory," Toumazou said of wearables. "So we wanted to go from familiar to less familiar."

The diet you don't know you're doing

Similar to 23andMe DNA tests, DnaNudge requires a cheek swab to get started. Instead of sending off your sample, the test takes place onsite, in about 30 minutes. After calibration and analysis in a special cartridge, your DNA is extracted and loaded into a capsule, which fits into the DnaBand. From there, you can start scanning food. There's also a DnaNudge app so you can learn more about your unique DNA report and get product recommendations. 

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The DnaBands also have a social component.

Shelby Brown/ CNET

"We don't keep any genetic information. We look at your traits and relate it to macronutrients in products," said Toumazou, a professor of engineering at Imperial College London. "So we've got every single macronutrient and every single product in the UK in the cloud. Therefore we know, if you've got this particular propensity of DNA, we know what macronutrients you should or not be aware of, and that's what's then integrated into barcode scanning on the app." 

The DnaBand also eliminates any confusing interface. If a food should be avoided based on your DNA, the wearable blinks red. If it's OK, the wearable blinks green. Again, Toumazou takes the product a step further and encourages exercise alongside healthy eating. 

"What was green for me, based on my DNA, now becomes amber if I've been sitting too long," he says. 

For now, DnaNudge is only in the UK, but Toumazou says the company is looking to try out the product in Los Angeles soon. 

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The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.