The trend has arrived in space European astronauts are now logging their meals on a tablet and analyzing with diet trackers. To make sure they are getting the right amount of nutrients.
Research shows that energy intake in orbit is usually lower than on Earth some even call it ‘spaceflight anorexia’. From tubes to cans and rehydratable packages, space food has evolved to meet nutritional requirements and boost crew morale. An optimal diet, paired with constant exercise, is essential to counteract the effects of spaceflight on the human body. Bone loss, muscle atrophy and depleted nutrient stores such as protein, fat and vitamin D are among the negatives of space travel.
Since gaining weight unusual for astronauts, flight surgeons have always consulted astronauts building their menus. Doctors want to ensure the crew are fueling themselves with a balanced diet suitable for space demands and the return to Earth.
NASA has shown interest in using it to complement their results from standard blood and urine tests on the Space Station. The data will also help to optimize the amount of food needed for missions into deep space.
EveryWear is an iPad-based application that collects physiology and medical data from astronauts on the International Space Station. It is connected to wearable biomedical sensors that record exercise, heart rate and sleep quality.
Its main use is as a food diary. The astronaut simply scans the barcode of the food with the built-in tablet camera. Classify it as breakfast, lunch dinner or snack, and add the amount of water consumed.
The crew can also add food by tapping on a specific product. The app comes loaded with a database containing all the food on the Space Station, both in English and in Russian. If something is not listed, there is an option to take a picture.
EveryWear conceived in conjunction with France’s CNES space agency and the MEDES Institute for Space Physiology and Medicine for Thomas’ mission. But ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli, currently in space, is also giving it a go.
An added value of the tool is that it connects the astronaut with nutrition experts on Earth, some 400 km below. Ground teams receive the information and can suggest the best combination of meals for a healthy stay in orbit.
In addition to the weekly expert advice, the app delivers automated nutrition reports for astronauts. To monitor their daily intake and check the recommended dose. The focus is on calories, protein, water, carbohydrates, fat, sodium, calcium, iron and potassium.
Thomas was the first to use EveryWear in orbit. Even though asked him to use the app only for a week. Enthusiastically logged in more than 1200 food and drinks throughout his six-month mission.
It produces reliable data because limited number of food items . The menu cycle is repetitive, and portion sizes and nutrient content are exact.
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