Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2019 Sep 27. pii: ocz159. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocz159. [Epub ahead of print]

Automated meal detection from continuous glucose monitor data through simulation and explanation.

Author information

Computer Science, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA.
Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.



Artificial pancreas systems aim to reduce the burden of type 1 diabetes by automating insulin dosing. These systems link a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin pump with a control algorithm, but require users to announce meals, without which the system can only react to the rise in blood glucose.


We investigate whether CGM data can be used to automatically infer meals in daily life even in the presence of physical activity, which can raise or lower blood glucose.


We propose a novel meal detection algorithm that combines simulations with CGM, insulin pump, and heart rate monitor data. When observed and predicted glucose differ, our algorithm uses simulations to test whether a meal may explain this difference. We evaluated our method on simulated data and real-world data from individuals with type 1 diabetes.


In simulated data, we detected meals earlier and with higher accuracy than was found in prior work (25.7 minutes, 1.2 g error; compared with 48.3 minutes, 17.2 g error). In real-world data, we discovered a larger number of plausible meals than was found in prior work (30 meals, 76.7% accepted; compared with 33 meals, 39.4% accepted).


Prior research attempted meal detection from CGM, but had delays and lower accuracy in real data or did not allow for physical activity. Our approach can be used to improve insulin dosing in an artificial pancreas and trigger reminders for missed meal boluses.


We demonstrate that meal information can be robustly inferred from CGM and body-worn sensor data, even in challenging environments of daily life.


artificial; continuous glucose monitoring; diabetes mellitus type 1; meal detection; pancreas


Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center