Scientists at the Imperial College London Department of Medicine, in conjunction with Newcastle University and Aberystwyth University, in the United Kingdom have developed a urine test that can tell how healthy your diet is within five minutes.
The development and study of the test was detailed in the medical journal The Lancet.
The test was created in order to help doctors and scientists better assess the health of patients they treat so they can give better advice on diet and exercise.
According to many health providers, self-reporting on diet is extremely unreliable, so it was necessary to create a test that could objectively measure what a person is eating on a daily basis.
According to researchers, 60% of people do not accurately report their diet to their doctors.
It was found that the heavier the person is, the more likely they are to under report what they are eating.
Additionally, those suffering from eating disorders, for example, may over report their intake.
In order to develop the tests, researchers used metabolic profiles, which show up in urine samples.
These metabolic profiles reveal at least four different types of diets that patients are eating.
Currently, the tests can only assess a few types of diets, but the team hopes they can hone in on it and create a more detailed approach that will allow doctors to see even more accurately into exactly what it is their patient is consuming.
For the study, 20 randomized individuals were asked to stay at the laboratory for 72 hours four times with a period of 5 days rest in between.
During their stays, the participants were given a random diet that they doctors would later be testing for in the urine profile.
Their physical activity was restricted to ensure their bodies would not metabolize the food before their urine could show it, and they had to give urine three times a day during their stay.
Doctors found that they were able to correctly identify which diet patients were were given by testing the samples they received.
In the end, only 19 of the participants completed the trial.
Because of the small sample size, scientists cannot make a full accurate conclusion on whether or not urine can be used to monitor healthy eating habits.
But the initial stages are, indeed, promising.
“Though this research is still in its early stages, it’s grappling with essential methods in food and diet studies where advances are really needed.
Measuring what we eat and drink more accurately will widen the benefits of nutrition research, developing better evidence-based interventions to improve an individual’s health and reduce obesity.”
If successful, this type of intervention could work well for both combating obesity and monitoring individuals who are in treatment for eating disorders.