Study Finds That A New Urine Test Can Instantly Detect Whether A Person's Diet Is Healthy

  • comments
  • print
  • email
Jan 17, 2017 05:51 AM EST

A recent study conducted at the MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre has found that a new urine test can now detect how healthful a person's diet is in a more specific and reliable way. The test is conducted to check and measure the levels of the biological markers created when foods such as meat, fruit and vegetables are broken down by enzymes in the body. 

The markers are indication that a person consumes a healthy diet - one that is rich in all classes of food in the right proportion, lead researcher and a research associate in the Imperial College London Department of Medicine, Isabel Garcia-Perez said. The test result can be determined within five minutes.

The researchers conducted the study on 19 people who were asked to maintain four different diets that ranged from very healthful, to somewhat unhealthful.

They asked the study participants to maintain each of these four diets. The participants stayed at a lab on four different occasions, for three consecutive days, and the researchers collected urine samples in the morning, afternoon and evening from the participants during each stay, according to Live Science.

The urine samples were then analyzed for the various chemical compounds that are produced when the body breaks down food substances, known as metabolites. Most of the compounds indicate that a person has recently consumed a particular type of food, such as meat, fish, chicken, fruits or vegetables.

However, some of the compounds provide a more detailed insight on diet by showing that a person recently consumed specific foods, such as grapes, citrus fruits or leafy green vegetables.

The researchers designed a model profile of urine compounds that indicates that a person is eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, based on their findings from the test result.  This model profile of urine compounds can be compared with a person's urine profile, so as to instantly determine how healthful a person's diet is.

The study authors also tested the accuracy of the new test by checking urine samples and dietary information from 225 people in the United Kingdom and 66 people in Denmark from a previously conducted study. They were able to accurately predict the diet of this group of people (291 volunteers) based on just their urine samples, according to Imperial College London News.

The test could also be utilized in studies that investigate into people's dietary habits. In contrast to the self reported information previously used to determine a person's diets during a study, the new test provides a more objective and accurate information.

Meanwhile, Garcia-Perez noted that the development of the new test is still in its initial stages and not yet commercially available. The researchers said that once the test is further developed, it could be used in future for weight-loss programs to monitor if patients are maintaining their diets. They published their findings in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.

Join the Conversation
Real Time Analytics