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This Pee Test Tells You If Your Diet is Healthy Enough

16 January 2017
This Pee Test Tells You If Your Diet is Healthy Enough

It could be one of the biggest developments in terms of dieting so far this decade: scientists in the United Kingdom have created a five-minute test that can measure biological markers in urine that are created when certain foods are broken down, allowing medical care providers to actually figure out a person's exact diet by examining their pee rather than rely on the patient's own flawed memory and diet tracking.

The five-minute process, developed by scientists from Imperial College London, Newcastle University and Aberystwyth University, measures biological markers in your urine that come from the breakdown of food like meat, fish, fruit and vegetables.

'We rely exclusively on people keeping logs of their daily diets - but studies suggest around 60 per cent of people misreport what they eat to some extent. But doctors can only help patients design healthier diets if they know what they are actually eating.

However, the researchers point out that their work is still at the early stages and more needs to be done to improve the test.

He further stated that the test could be used to fight obesity, or trim down on risks for diseases like type 2 diabetes. Each individual in the study surveyed each of these four diets: They remained at a lab, on four separate events, for three days at a time, and during each stay, the scientists collected the people's urine models in the morning, afternoon and evening.

The next task will be integrating this technology into people's homes and daily lives, which will allow them to keep tabs on their own diets. These samples were then analyzed for the presence of metabolites that are produced when certain foods are broken down in the body. The researchers were able to accurately predict these people's diets based on just their urine samples, according to the findings.

In addition to indicating foods like red meat, chicken, fish, fruit and vegetables, these metabolites can also indicate specific foods, such as citrus fruits, grapes and green leafy vegetables, and give a general picture of the amount of protein, fat, sugar and fiber eaten. Scientists were also able to develop a urine profile meant to be associated with a healthy diet. They may underreport the snack foods they have had during a day and overreport the number of vegetables or fruits they have been eating lately.

The idea is this "healthy diet" profile could be compared to the diet profile from an individual's urine, to provide an instant indicator of whether they are eating healthily.

Researchers then assessed the accuracy of the test by looking at the urine samples and daily diets of 225 United Kingdom volunteers as well as 66 people from Denmark.

The next step, he said, is to test a larger group of people.

This will eventually provide a tool for personalized dietary monitoring to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Dr Isabel Garcia-Perez, co-author from Imperial, added: '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'.

Professor John Draper, co-author from Aberystwyth University added: "The future challenge is to apply the technology developed in this laboratory study in a community setting and objectively monitor diet in the home". In contrast, the new test provides information that is more objective and accurate, the researchers said.