"Better" is not necessarily good or exact, though, which is where the app comes back into play. It not only keeps track of your data, but it can also give you information on how much of a problematic substance is in a given food, even identifying the suspect from a photo. It's a common belief that dairy contains lactose, meaning intolerant people tend to avoid all such products. But in reality, some foods have more lactose than others. Many cheeses, for instance, have less than one percent while ice cream may be as much as eight-percent lactose. So, while a pizza could make you sick, sprinkling a bit of Parmesan on your linguine may leave you feeling fine. The app will take the guesswork out of that, as you can consult its database before taking from that cheese platter that mysteriously appeared in the office kitchen.
Although it's tempting to think you'd never need to see a gastroenterologist again, the app can't diagnose you if you have something more serious like a bacterial infection. But it can point you and your doctor in the right direction by collating a lot of the relevant data -- traditional diagnosis usually involves tedious tasks like keeping a food log. The AIRE provides long-term information for the doctor to analyze -- and the company has plans to make the data exportable to other health and fitness apps, and maybe even a website where a physician can look up your records.
In addition to making certain conditions easier to diagnose, having patients do such a basic test at home just frees up the doctor's time for more difficult procedures and more quality time with patients. FoodMarble's chief medical officer James Brief, a licensed gastroenterologist, likens it to what the home pregnancy test did for obstetricians: The first thing many women do after testing positive is head to the doctor. The test acts like a referral, not a replacement for professional medical care.
As someone who's waited almost two hours to see my doctor, I certainly appreciate anything that can make office visits more efficient. And anyone who's ever had digestive problems will love an exam that works on their schedule. The AIRE is expected to sell for $149 when it hits retail, but you can pre-order it now on FoodMarble's website for a special price of $99, with orders expected to ship in August 2017.