The more I dig into my personal health journey, the more I want to explore and understand even more. There’s so much more to health and being healthy than just eating nutritiously and moving your body. Our bodies are so much more complicated than that.
Have you ever had the experience of trying a diet or even a particular food that someone else saw tremendous success or results with only to experience the complete opposite? I know that I certainly have. So many diets and nutritional guidelines are focused on creating a one-size-fits-all solution when in reality, our bodies are vastly different from one another.
So how do we get a little more granular, intentional, and personalized when it comes to our health? Well, it starts with finding out more about who you are, how your body works, and what role your biology is playing in your wellness.
Wellness and nutrition go hand in hand, so it makes sense to understand how our unique bodies respond to food so that we can then develop a plan for optimal health, right? Right.
This is where Zoe (JoinZoe) comes into play. This revolutionary wellness company is making huge strides in the human condition, from helping us to analyze our DNA and gather the data needed to make optimal nutrition choices to conducting the largest COVID-19 study to date, ZOE is on the cutting edge of health, so of course, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out for myself.
Quick Summary of Join Zoe Nutrition Review
Zoe (Join Zoe)
Those who want to optimize their wellness through biology testing kits and have a personalized action plan based on testing results.
Test Kit Price:
Starting at $59 per month
FHM10 for 10% OFF
Avg. User Rating:
4.3/5 (192 reviews)
What is Zoe?
Zoe is a first of its kind program that includes microbiome analysis, blood testing, food logging, and continuous glucose monitoring to help you understand how your unique body responds to food. The clinical professionals at Zoe believe that everyone has a right to understand their body so that they can make decisions about how to move it and fuel it for optimal health and wellbeing.
Zoe has identified that generic nutrition simply isn’t working. The nation’s biggest medical concerns which include diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic health problems aren’t improving. Traditional approaches to treatment and management of chronic diseases like these aren’t accounting for the fact that everybody is unique and different. They are treating weight gain as the problem rather than the symptom of poor metabolic health that it is.
At Zoe, they believe that the first step to achieving your best, most efficient health is to discover and unlock exactly how your individual body works and then retrain your biology from the inside out. This is accomplished by avoiding dietary inflammation and improving your gut health. The goal of the Zoe wellness program is to unlock energy, manage your hunger and weight, and ultimately, reach your best health in the safest and most natural way possible.
ZOE PREDICT Study
ZOE, together with scientists from leading Universities (Massachusetts General Hospital, Stanford Medicine, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and King’s College London), conducted the largest in-depth nutrition study in the world. This study is called PREDICT and it has shown that there is up to a tenfold (10x) variation in responses to the same meal for different people.
The findings were published in Nature Medicine in June 2020.
A Holistic Approach to Understanding Your Body
Based on the results of the PREDICT study, ZOE’s at-home test kit can provide you with comprehensive insights into your biology, including information on your gut microbiome and dietary inflammation, both of which play a significant role in your ability to lose weight and maintain optimal health.
ZOE uses the term “dietary inflammation” to describe the unhealthy effects that can be caused by the foods we eat. When there are excessive blood sugar and fat spikes, your body’s natural, healthy responses can become overwhelmed. This can then trigger a variety of damaging responses ranging from blood sugar crashes, hunger, and inflammation in the body.
When these habits are repeated often enough, your body will respond by gaining weight and even developing chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. ZOE studies have found that the presence of “good” gut bacteria can provide a protective effect against these negative responses and support lower levels of body fat and inflammation.
The second factor that ZOE focuses on when it comes to your health and ability to lose and maintain weight is your gut microbiome. ZOE’s research is the first to identify a clear set of “good” and “bad” gut microbes that are linked with specific foods and metabolic health.
Their unique microbiome test uses deep metagenomic sequencing to understand which good and bad microbes you currently have. Armed with this information, they can then provide you with a personalized recommendation for helping you to increase your good microbes (through diet) to improve your health, decrease inflammation, and allow you to lose weight.
What’s Included With the ZOE Program?
ZOE is a comprehensive biological testing system that includes the following:
Gut Microbiome Test
A simple, at-home stool sample test that is patent-pending with the most advanced analysis on the market.
Blood Sugar and Fat Test
These simple tests are designed to measure your blood sugar and blood fat levels when you eat food. These tests are conducted using a finger-prick blood test, test muffins, and an optional CGM (continuous glucose monitor).
6 weeks after testing, you will get detailed feedback that will help you understand how your body responds to food based on your unique testing results.
Gut Health Guidance
This is where you will discover how well your microbiome works and what specific foods will help you to boost the good microbes that your gut is missing.
During your first four months, you will have access to the ZOE companion app where you’ll discover your unique responses to any food, meal, or recipe. Inside the app, you can track your diet and get a daily score to discover ways to improve your nutrition and wellness.
With your personalized program, you will learn how to eat for your biology with a 4-week plan that guides and empowers you to make better decisions each day.
How Does It Work?
ZOE is one of the more complex biological testing systems out there, but it doesn’t mean that it's complicated or confusing. Let me walk you through how ZOE works and what my experience was like getting started. Below is the cliff notes version before we dive deeper into the nitty gritty of ZOE.
Step 1: Take the quiz and get signed up
Step 2: Receive your at-home testing kits and muffins to test your gut health, blood fat and blood sugar. The testing phase lasts between 1-14 days and the kit includes the following:
- ZOE metabolic challenge muffins
- At-home finger prick test to measure your metabolic responses
- Simple gut-health test to measure your microbiome health
- Continuous glucose monitor* - if you choose to take part in our study, that measures your blood sugar levels so you can see how your body responds to different foods, in real time
Step 3: Get your insights around 6 weeks after you complete all your testing. These insights will be delivered to you in an easy to read report.
Step 4: Retrain your biology using the personal insights gathered from your test results. This will be placed into a 4-week plan that’s tailored to your unique biological needs. You will have access to the ZOE insights app which will provide you with your own guided week-by-week program on how to change your eating habits and your biology.
Step 5: Learn how to eat for life. With four months free of the ZOE app, you will learn how to make sustainable, lasting changes to your diet and lifestyle.
The ZOE app is personalized to your individual needs and provides you with a database of thousands of foods and how they score based on your biology as well as recipes and guidance on how to combine foods so that you can achieve your goals. The amazing thing is that there are no calorie restrictions and there is nothing that’s off limits. ZOE is committed to helping you find the foods that work best for you so that you’re always in control of your diet and life.
Unique App Features
While the testing phase is a big part of the ZOE program, the app is also an invaluable tool for taking the information gathered from the home tests and putting it to work for you.
AI-Powered Personalized Scores
ZOE combines artificial intelligence with the data that they have collected from thousands of participants in their studies to generate personalized scores for any food or meal that you consume. These scores are calculated and delivered to you in real time through the app so you can immediately understand if what you’re eating is going to be beneficial for your body.
With your scores available, ZOE will then show you how to put those into action. The app will provide you with real-time feedback on your meals, including insights about how to avoid dietary inflammation, how to nourish your gut health, and how to better sequence your meals for optimal results. In short, ZOE helps you to learn how to eat for your body for life.
A Closer Look at ZOE’s Tests
ZOE is currently the only at-home testing solution that takes a look at your health as a whole with gut health, blood sugar, and blood fat all playing a role in the big picture of your health. With these unique insights gathered through the scientifically-based testing, ZOE helps you understand your biology from all angles.
Blood Sugar Sensor (CGM) *Optional*
CGMs have been used in blood sugar monitoring for diabetic patients for years now, however, we’ve recently seen a major shift towards using CGMs for weight loss and overall health optimization. With a ZOE CGM, you can get real-time blood sugar insights from a small, painless sensor that attaches to the back of your arm. This sensor is worn for a total of 14 days.
Stool Sample Test For Gut Health
This patent-pending test and technology is the most advanced test on the market for analyzing your gut microbes. By using deep shotgun sequencing, ZOE can identify specific good and bad gut bacteria that can then be linked to good and bad metabolic health markers.
Muffins for Metabolism
This is perhaps the most unique testing done by ZOE as it involves actually eating scientifically formulated muffins to gain a better understanding of your unique metabolism. The scientific muffins sent to you by ZOE are designed to put your metabolism to the test, providing you with unique insights into your metabolism.
Blood Fat Test
After eating the muffins, you will then use finger prick blood tests to measure your fat responses. This is the only test available that gives your insights into this key component of metabolic health.
How Long Does it Take to Get Test Results Back?
Because ZOE is a much more in-depth testing platform, results take a bit longer to process and get back to you. In total, you can expect to wait about 6 weeks from the time you complete all your home tests and return your samples to ZOE before you will get your results back. As soon as your personal results are ready for review, you will receive an email.
Inside your report, you will find:
- Dietary inflammation profile (blood sugar and blood fat control)
- Introduction to ZOE’s food scores
- Personalized food insights for your meals that you logged during your testing week
- Reporting on the abundance of good and bad microbes in your gut health sample
Coaching and Support Inside the ZOE App
Another great thing about ZOE is that it’s so much more than just a testing experience, you are also given access to ZOE coaches who will work with you inside the app to make sure you’re getting the most out of your experience.
All ZOE coaches have at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in nutrition science, so you can rest assured that you’ll be working with professionals who are equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to help you achieve your nutrition goals.
As soon as you login into the ZOE app, you will have access to the chat feature with the ZOE coaches. Throughout your entire program, you get access to unlimited chat with the coaches, so you can always feel supported and accountable in your journey.
How Much Does ZOE Cost?
The ZOE test kit costs $294 or six monthly payments of $49 plus the cost of membership. Membership costs will depend on how long your program lasts. Below is a breakdown of membership pricing:
- 1 month: $59/month
- 4 months: $39/month
- 12 months: $29/month
Who Should Try It?
ZOE is a great option for anyone with a desire to better understand their body and how it works when it comes to food, nutrition, and weight management. For anyone who has ever wondered why certain foods or diets just don’t seem to work for them, the insights and information available through ZOE testing and the companion app will be invaluable in your pursuit for optimal health and wellness.
Honest Customer Reviews and Average Rating
Join Zoe has an average rating of 4.3/5 stars with a total of 192 reviews as a sample size on trust pilot, which is considered "excellent" with the rating system they use. As with any product, some people rave about it, while others say it was a complete waste of money. The fact is though, that the majority of members have used the testing results and personalized recommendations to their maximum potential, and those are the people that absolutely love Join Zoe.
Below, I put together some images of the average user rating and a couple honest reviews left by real people who have actually used Zoe and their testing kits.
Alternatives Compared to Join Zoe
Personalized nutrition based on a multitude of testing options is something many brands are specializing in, not just Zoe. There are some great Join Zoe alternatives, and I wanted to mention those for anyone who doesn't think Zoe is a great fit for them.
For those looking to invest in a CGM, you'll want to check out Signos and Nutrisense CGM - two of the top CGM brands that are on the cutting edge in personalized nutrition.
Vessel Health is emerging as one of the leading brands in optimizing your wellness from home with their urine testing strip, an integrated app and personalized nutrition plan with supplements.
If you're looking to hack your metabolism, you'll want to check out Lumen metabolism tracker, which uses your breath to analyze your nutrition. Lastly, another great alternative to Join Zoe is InsideTracker, an excellent choice for those who are looking for an ultra-personalize nutritional system.
Wrapping Up: Is ZOE Worth It?
ZOE is 100% worth trying if you are someone who seeks to understand more about your biology and how the foods you eat affect your physical results and wellbeing. As someone who is always on a pursuit of healthier living, I find ZOE’s tests to not only be incredibly insightful, but also very trustworthy as everything done at ZOE is based on proven scientific research and data.
Unlike other genetic and biological testing brands, ZOE takes things a step further by using some of the best technology available and by conducting massive studies that allow them to have the best resource for information and validity. While the testing process in and of itself is fairly lengthy and can feel cumbersome, the results and insights that you will get will be invaluable in your journey to weight loss and/or improved health.