Pretty soon you won’t be able to lie to your doctor about your diet. Scientists have developed a new five-minute urine test that can measure the health of a person’s diet.
According to a study from Imperial College London, the test analyzes levels of biological markers in urine produced when foods are digested. By looking at the markers, the test can distinguish between different types of food a person has consumed. The results are accurate enough to even differentiate between types of fruits.
Researchers tested the technology by comparing urine samples of the study volunteers with their reported dietary log. The team correctly identified the diets of all 291 participants.
While researchers are still developing the tool, they hope that eventually doctors, and even those trying to lose weight, can use the test to monitor their food intake. Instead of depending on self-reporting or food diaries, this assessment will allow doctors to detect and measure amounts of fat, sugar, fiber and protein in a patient’s diet.
Still, more work needs to be done before the product reaches consumers. Study co-author Dr. Isabel Garcia-Perez said said that researchers “need to develop the test further so we can monitor the diet based on a single urine sample, as well as increase the sensitivity. This will eventually provide a tool for personalized dietary monitoring to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’re not at the stage yet where the test can tell us a person ate 15 chips yesterday and two sausages, but it’s on the way.”
Photo: Pexels, CC-BY
Jane Snyder is a health intern with Paste and a freelance writer and photojournalist based out of Athens, Georgia.