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Find the perfect diet using a urine test
As unique as a fingerprint, a new urine test provides an overall impression of a person's eating habits. The test can reveal individual strengths and weaknesses in the diet.
Imperial College London researchers recently presented a urine test that is capable of assessing a target person's diet. The test measures the level of 46 different so-called metabolites in the urine. Metabolites are intermediate products of metabolism that allow conclusions to be drawn about the diet. The study results were recently presented in the journal "Nature Food".
Impact of nutrition has so far been difficult to measure
“Diet is a key factor in human health, although it is known to be difficult to measure accurately because it depends on the ability of the individual to remember what and how much they ate,” says study author Dr. Joram Posma. Often the reports do not exactly reflect what and how much was really eaten.
Metabolites don't lie
The measured metabolites are considered an objective indicator of the quality of the diet, because certain metabolites only arise when certain foods are digested in the body. "This technology helps provide detailed information about the quality of a person's diet and whether it is the right type of diet for their individual biological composition," explains the nutritionist.
Test also measures alcohol and meat consumption
As part of the study, the test has already been tested on 1,848 people in the United States. The results show a relationship between 46 metabolites in urine and the types of food or nutrients consumed by people. For example, certain metabolites correlate with alcohol consumption, while others are associated with the consumption of citrus fruits, fructose, glucose and vitamin C.
The team also found urinary metabolites associated with the intake of red meat, other meats such as chicken, and nutrients such as calcium. Some metabolites even provide clues to health conditions, such as high blood pressure.
Interaction between nutrition and health
"By carefully measuring people's eating habits and collecting their excreted urine, we have been able to establish relationships between food intake and urinary metabolism, which can contribute to a better understanding of the effects of our diet on health," summarizes study co-author Professor Paul Elliott.
The study also showed that healthy diets are associated with patterns of metabolites in the urine that indicate healthy conditions, whereas unhealthy diets lead to patterns of metabolites that are associated with ailing conditions.
Simple precision nutrition
The test can be used by medical personnel to assess a person's eating habits within five minutes. This results in what the one eats too much or too little. Based on the test, individual advice on healthy eating can be provided quickly.
Why nutritional recommendations cannot be general
"Here we show how different people metabolize the same foods in a very individual way," adds Professor John Mathers from the research team. This has an impact both on the understanding of nutritional diseases and on more individual nutritional advice to improve health. (vb)
Also read: Nutrition: Inflammatory ingredients in food.
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Isabel Garcia-Perez, Joram M. Posma, Edward S. Chambers, et al .: Dietary metabotype modeling predicts individual responses to dietary interventions; in: Nature Food, 2020, nature.com
- Imperial College London: Urine test reveals quality of your diet - and whether it's’s best for your body (published: 22.06.2020), imperial.ac.uk