New urine test could help doctors evaluate weigh-loss programs by more accurate representations of what people are actually eating.
Researchers in the United Kingdom say they have developed a five-minute test of a person’s urine that will tell them in great detail what that person has been eating, and that could lead to a revolution in monitoring weight-loss programs for overweight patients.
The test involves taking a sample of the urine, which can be broken down to identify biological markers created when certain foods are digested, and this information could be compared against the patient’s own recording of their food consumption.
Many times, persons who have been placed on a restrictive diet for weight loss fail to record correctly what they have actually eating, either through trying to look as if they are complying with the instructions, or simply forgetting to record in-between snacks or other foods. This new test would allow doctors to get a better evaluation of whether the diet the patient is using is working as it was intended, or should another approach be tried.
According to reports, the new test could actually specify what types of foods have been eaten, such as red meats, vegetables, and chicken, and while not the exact amounts of these foods could be discerned, the total amount of fat, sugar and fiber eaten can be determined.
The findings, published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, said the study involved 19 volunteers who participated in various diets and submitted urine samples for analysis.
“A major weakness in all nutrition and diet studies is that we have no true measure of what people eat,” commented Gary Frost, senior author on the study and a professor at the Department of Medicine at Imperial. “We rely solely on people keeping logs of their daily diets — but studies suggest around 60 per cent of people misreport what they eat to some extent. This test could be the first independent indicator of the quality of a person’s diet — and what they are really eating.”
The researchers admit there is more work to be done on the project, but say the promising results could be a valuable tool for physicians for understanding the eating habits of their patients in weight-loss programs.