New urine test helps assess whether someone follows a balanced diet

Camille Bienvenu
Fri, 13 Jan 2017
New urine test helps assess whether someone follows a balanced diet
A group of researchers from Imperial College London, Newcastle University, and Aberystwyth University have developed a five-minute urine test which could be a good indicator of the overall quality of a person's diet.

With this test, the urine would be tested for metabolites, which are compounds that are created as by-products of the foods we eat. That way, it can track with more or less precision how much of a certain macronutrient a person is getting from his/her diet.

The test could be another helpful tool that people can use when they consider whether to make changes to a particular regime or to stick with it. Changes may include lowering intake of a macronutrient or correct a deficiency in another.

Previous studies have also shown a tendency to either under or over-report daily food consumption, and this test could represent what people actually eat.

In the original study, published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, researchers tested urine samples of 19 participants to design the test, which they then use to assess the diet of 291 volunteers from the UK and Denmark.

The group of 19 volunteers followed four different types of diet ranging from very healthy to very unhealthy by the standards of dietary guidelines from the World Health Organisation.

By measuring levels of metabolites in the urine samples collected from participants, researchers were able to understand the metabolite signature of each diet.

They then used the metabolite profile of the diet that contained the most fruit and vegetables as a reference to assess whether the 291 volunteers in the second phase of the study had a balanced diet or not.

Researchers believe that the test, which may become widely available within two years, could accurately track someone's diet over time and help this person decide what would be the best course of action if the urine metabolite profile detected is 'unhealthy'.
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