5 Years of Senza
It’s been a little more than five years since we launched the Senza app for keto and fasting, and the time feels right to reflect on what’s transpired. Back in 2015, when our concept for a dedicated keto app began to take shape, committing resources to build free tools for the keto way of eating probably sounded just a little bit crazy.
We knew from personal experience that keto worked to resolve many chronic health problems. But it was not well understood as a lifestyle medicine strategy, except among bodybuilders and a few active Reddit groups. We saw an opportunity to create an informative and social app that would support each phase of the Keto Journey. These are the objectives we had in mind:
Priority 1: Accurate food data
If people were going to limit their NCs to 25g a day, they needed a reliable source of nutrition facts. At a time when the most popular food tracking apps charged premium rates for access to user-generated net carb information, Senza built a free app now with more than 2 million food records and NCs verified by a dedicated support team.
Priority 2: Efficient daily logging & tracking
Keto works best when you do it consistently, so we planned for features like Save as Meal and dozens of Build Your Own constructors for logging popular keto meals. For the technical keto crowd, we also wanted to track fasting, ketones, glucose, active calories, sleep, mood, and more. With Senza, we imagined, you'd be able to put all of the pieces together to live a happy keto life.
Priority 3: Inspiring keto meal ideas
What should I eat? Even once you're familiar with common keto food swaps, this is the hardest decision to face day after day. To delight its users, we thought Senza needed to provide a constant flow of suggestions for easy and delicious low-carb meals. We identified the Top 100 Keto Foods to encourage cooking from scratch, and we set about creating a set of Senza-branded keto recipes that would be tested in our own kitchens and published on ad-free, blog-free pages.
Priority 4: Connecting people in health
Because it is so different from the standard American diet, most people try keto alone, yet they find they need accountability and support to continue. We wanted an app with social features that could link people who were learning keto together. So we figured out how to support setting up friend links, rating and reviewing foods, and logging from a friend's food journal.
With these priorities in mind, we got to work building the kind of app that we’d want to use every day. Along the way, we hoped to form a community of people who are tired of our broken food and healthcare systems and motivated to take control of their own wellbeing.
Senza debuted at the 2017 Metabolic Health Summit in Tampa, Florida - the world's leading international scientific conference on metabolic health - and was released to the app stores soon after that. Early input from experts like Patricia Daly, Tommy Ragnar Wood, Rachel Gregory and others helped to shape the experience we provide today.
Since our launch, more than 600,000 people have used Senza’s free keto and fasting app to learn the basics, track their nutrition and fasting windows, plan low-carb meals, and get help from our small team of professional health coaches.
Collectively, the Senza community has logged more than 66 million food journal entries, and they have measurable results to show for it. Through the coaching window, we hear about the wins and setbacks and breakthroughs that people are experiencing every day. Their stories keep us motivated to do even more.
As we’ve continued to experiment with new programs like meal planning, group coaching, and even a grass-fed beef CSA, we’ve learned some key facts about food and health:
- The root cause is food, not exercise. “Move more, eat less” is terrible advice. Change what you eat, and the rest will follow in time.
- Moderation doesn’t work. Any amount of ultra-processed food causes damage to your body and messes with your mind. 100 fresh foods are all you need to thrive; just avoid the rest.
- Habit change is hard. Understanding behavioral science is critical for undoing bad habits and creating new ones that will last.
- To improve it, you have to measure it. Tracking nutrition intake, logging streaks, and daily scores works because you can see the resulting trends day by day, week by week.
- We all need the human touch. The best digital tool in the world will not be enough by itself. People need guidance and reassurance as they navigate the difficult journey to optimal health.
Earlier this year, we were delighted to receive recognition from BestApp.com in “The Best Keto Apps of 2022” review, which cited Senza as “Best for Beginners.” While we've been included in various round-up articles over the years, this was the first to do a deep dive into our mission, purpose, and capabilities. We are grateful for the resulting write-up.
We always try to remember what it felt like to be new to keto, when we were often confused by all the dogma and had to sort the truths from myths. If we can help every keto beginner who finds our app make a successful transition right from the start, we believe they will stay with it, embrace the lifestyle, and ultimately help others do the same.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
If this is the progression of new ideas, then the keto way of eating is on a path to win, and we’ll be proud to look back and say we played a small role in the development of a vibrant keto community.
Content provided by Senza is not medical advice. It is intended for informational and educational purposes only.