Combating the Unspoken Metabolic Health Crisis with David Flinner, Levels Co-Founder

Metabolic health is the foundation of our bodies; it’s what turns the food we eat into the energy we need to live. But despite playing a huge role in our energy levels, athletic performance, and weight loss goals, metabolism remains little explored as a health topic. 

That’s why David Flinner decided to co-found the glucose monitoring product Levels. With the help of a wearable armband, Levels users get real-time insights on their unique metabolic processes so they can take action. And as David & Christian explore, Levels is using the power of information to help the public see what’s at stake if metabolic health continues to be ignored.


  • Metabolic health remains an unsolved health crisis.
  • Real-time, continuous feedback on health encourages faster change.
  • Startups should value transparency in building products.

Things To Listen For

  • [0:30] How Levels helps people see how food affects their health in real time
  • [1:30] Why metabolism is at the heart of fixing an “unspoken [health] epidemic”
  • [1:50] Only 12% of the U.S. population is considered “metabolically healthy”
  • [2:10] The difference between real-time health feedback and reactive feedback
  • [3:30] How Levels explores user insights to develop its product
  • [4:45] Explaining metabolism as the process that turns food into energy, and why this process gets less efficient over time
  • [5:30] Why metabolism represents an “upstream” health issue
  • [6:45] Why you can improve metabolism over time, but it takes work
  • [7:50] The difference between weight scales and real-time products like Levels
  • [9:30] How Levels educates users so they can get more out of their journey
  • [9:50] The challenge of simultaneously building a health product and a movement
  • [10:30] The power of Levels’ blog content & telehealth program in educating users
  • [11:40] How Levels introduces “challenges” tailored around improving metabolism
  • [12:40] Why learning from members is driving Levels’ current growth
  • [14:30] Why Levels employs small changes to its product by testing hypotheses
  • [15:30] Exploring David’s background in product at Google
  • [18:00] Why startups should value transparency in their product
  • [19:50] How the Levels team balances what they do know with what’s not known
  • [22:00] How Levels can help you see the many factors that impact metabolism
  • [22:50] The challenge in understanding how your body might react to food
  • [24:00] How Levels’ CEO made a personal discovery around metabolism, and why these discoveries can be different from person to person
  • [26:00] Suggested strategies for managing blood glucose spikes
  • [28:30] How Levels is exploring the breadth and depth of its health product