■ The 38-year-old doctor and TV medical expert talks about poor sleeping patterns, AI doctors and smoothies
Do you use any fitness gadgets?
I do quite a lot of exercise and I use a Fitbit. I didn’t realise how erratic my sleeping pattern was and the Fitbit has helped me regulate it. My work life is very varied — I’m a GP as well as doing TV work on This Morning, and I work with Public Health England — so I can get between three to nine hours of sleep a night, which isn’t good for you. It’s helped me become stricter about sleep and I feel better for it.
Are phone health apps a good idea?
There’s a place for them but not for diagnosis — you need to see your doctor for that. But if you have a lifestyle condition, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, a lifestyle app that helps monitor your activity or calories can be a good idea. I did a show looking at apps and depending on what phone you used to monitor your heart rate, for example, the readings would be different, so the data needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. But apps can encourage people to become more active.
Do you use anything that helps with healthy eating?
I’ve got a NutriBullet, which I love. I use it to make smoothies, sauces and pancakes. There aren’t many places near where I work as a GP to get healthy food so I’ll make a soup and put it in the microwave at work.
What’s your view on AI doctors?
I did a Horizon about this and I was very sceptical at first. We asked if a robot could take over my job as a GP and the answer was no, but it could help. I met the people from Babylon Health who are developing AI medical technology, and maybe there are bits of my job, such as inputting data, that the AI could do. Potentially, the technology could diagnose simple conditions. They’ve demonstrated they can diagnose a throat infection but can’t diagnose things such as mental health conditions or chronic problems.
If you could invent any gadget what would it do?
It would take any form of food and remove the fat and sugar and add vitamins and fibre — and it would taste the same.
Can any gadgets actually help with weight loss?
I was asked to test the Modius, which is a headset you wear for an hour a day that helps with weight loss. The science behind it is credible and it’s been developed by a neurosurgeon. It stimulates the nerve that is linked to seasickness. Stimulating the nerve reduces appetite and tells the body to store muscle and burn fat.
What’s the most mediocre gadget you’ve bought?
There’s lots of stuff I’ve bought but never used. I bought a face steamer and hand massager — those have both stayed in the box. One useful thing I bought recently was a Pulse Roll. It’s a foam roller that vibrates. After you’ve been exercising, the rolling helps reduce muscle soreness and so does the vibration.
What do you watch TV on?
Because I’m on the go a lot I watch TV on my phone. If I’ve had a busy day and I don’t have anything to do in the evening I do like putting my feet up in front of the TV. I love Poldark and Britain’s Got Talent.
Catch Zoe on This Morning on weekdays at 10.30am on ITV