Ever had one of those moments when you swore to yourself that you were going to start eating healthy? If that moment was followed by the realization that you’d have to either eat or throw out half the food in your pantry, you’re not alone.
Many of us choose to eat that stock down, despite our good intentions – fooling ourselves, and maybe our doctors, about what really goes in our mouths.
But in the near future, a simple urine test may be able to show the truth about what you’re eating. Then maybe we can finally get real with ourselves.
For a study recently published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, researchers asked 19 participants to follow four different diets. The diets ranged from very healthy (high in fruits, vegetables, and protein) to super unhealthy (low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber; high in sugar, fat, and salt). Participants were observed in the lab over four three-day periods. During each stay, researchers collected urine samples each morning, afternoon, and evening
Those samples were then analyzed for chemical biomarkers that occur when the body breaks down food. Those compounds, in turn, reveal what a person ate – from broad categories of foods to specific ones. From these results, the researchers developed a model urine profile of healthy eating.
Being able to gauge diet in this way could be a boon to nutritional research.
Professor Gary Frost, from ICL, who led the study, says in a statement: “A major weakness in all nutrition and diet studies is that we have no true measure of what people eat. We rely solely on people keeping logs of their daily diets – but studies suggest around 60% 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.”
But not only may this accurate, objective evaluation of dietary intake help improve offer public health nutrition; it may enhance an individual’s own understanding of the relationship between their diet and their health.
Once it’s commercially available, it may provide a full and accurate picture of our individual food intake, giving us a way to more accurately address dietary roadblocks that interfere our overall health and well-being.
Image by Gin Gri