About Zone Scores


This article provides an overview of the Levels Zone Score system. Learn more about Zone & Meal Scores on the Levels Blog

In this Article:

What is a Zone Score?

A Zone Score is an analysis of all logged food, activities, and notes that take place within proximity of each other, and it provides a score (between 0-10) for the combined effect of these decisions.

Lifestyle decisions don’t happen in a vacuum: a snack, a nap, and a workout each have a metabolic effect on their own, but when these decisions happen close together, their effects combine in ways dependent on one another. 

Zone Scores are Levels way of capturing and informing you of these multi-factor effects that impact your response to a meal. By analyzing all logged activities that take place within proximity of one another, Zone Scores essentially provide a grade for the combined effect of your decisions.

Interpreting your Zone Scores

Scores range from 1-10, with 10 being optimal (minimal glucose response) and 1 being poor (high glucose response). In general, we want to aim for minimal, controlled glucose responses.

  • 10 – Outstanding; Almost no glucose response increase.
  • 8 – Good; Minimal personal glucose response.
  • 6 – Moderate; Pay attention. Testing alternate configurations may work.
  • 5 – Poor; High glucose response. Eliminate, minimize, or test alternate configurations.

How Zone Scores are Calculated

To calculate your Zone score, we look at two primary factors:

  • How much your glucose rises following your meal in total. We look at this through two metrics: the maximum height of the glucose rise, and the total rise, or Area Under the Curve (AUC), which reflects both the height of the glucose rise as well as the length of time your glucose is elevated. Though moderate changes in blood sugar are perfectly normal and healthy, big surges or long periods of elevation indicate that you’re consuming sugar faster than your body can use it. Smaller increases, therefore, earn higher scores.
  • How quickly your glucose rises. Metabolically-healthy food tends to produce a slow, gentle rise in blood sugar. Carb-rich and processed foods, by contrast, quickly flood the bloodstream with glucose. To keep your score high, aim for less steep slopes on your glucose graph.

In addition to glucose dynamics, we also consider the quality of the food you log, including its macronutrient and micronutrient content, and whether it is highly processed or contains seed oils.

  • Meals high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats—which can blunt glucose rises and help improve metabolic health—will improve your score. Meals high in carbohydrates—which drive glucose rise—or unhealthy fats will lower your score.
  • Meals that contain foods that are highly processed or contain seed oils are detrimental to overall health and can drive inflammation, obesity, and other damage, so these decrease your score.
  • Foods rich in micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, which support the healthy functioning of all our body’s processes, can boost your score.

However, these factors minimally impact your final score:

  • The maximum change you can get from macros is ±1 point.
  • The maximum change you can get from ingredient quality is -0.6 points

Why didn’t I get a Zone Score?

This is typically related to:
  • The log is an exercise or a note only, without a meal.
  • The zone contains a strenuous exercise log. If an exercise is marked as strenuous, the entire zone score wont be calculated .
  • You're experiencing connection issues resulting in gaps in data. If you notice gaps in your data during this time, check out our troubleshooting articles here.

Why did the same meal score differently?

There are several reasons this can happen:

  • There could be a small difference in the Zone Score algorithm; we round up or down to the nearest whole number.
  • Additional factors, such as quality of sleep, previous activity, hormones, etc could contribute to your glucose stability with a particular meal.

Best Practices for Improving your Zone Scores

With Zone Scores, you can experiment with adding or removing different variables to see how it affects your overall metabolic response and Zone Score. For instance, eating pizza and then taking a nap will likely produce a different Zone Score than eating pizza and then taking a walk. By experimenting with Zone Scores, you might discover which variables are helping, or hurting, your goal of maintaining a steady glucose. 

If you have questions about Zone Scoring, please email the Levels Support team at support@levelshealth.com.

What Glucose Spikes May Mean for Variability & Control: Early research findings | Dr. Taylor Sittler

Further Reading:

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