Urinalysis has long been used to identify for drug use, pregnancy and certain types of infections. Now, scientists are using urine to detect what food and how much of it a patient has consumed in previous days. The research promises to bring a new level of gravity to the phrase “You are what you eat.”
As reported by the BBC, university scientists at Aberystwyth in Wales and Newcastle have created a “lie diet-tector,” which the researchers hope will become an important tool for identifying causes of disease.
The test in its current stage, which included findings from 60 people over the past two years, measured chemical “fingerprints” known as metabolites for healthy foods such as raspberries, salmon, broccoli and orange juice.
“What we eat has a big impact on our health but it is very difficult to measure exactly what, and how much, people eat in everyday life – and people find it difficult to record honestly…Measuring what people eat can help prevent illness by showing definite links between particular kinds, and amounts, of foods and specific diseases.”
-A spokesman for Aberystwyth University
The researchers hope to develop a sensor which can be dipped into a urine sample and provide a read-out of all the foods that the person has consumed. Professor John Draper at Aberystwyth Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, said, “This kind of test has enormous potential as a weapon against many chronic diseases. It will help doctors, nurses, dieticians and nutritionists to work out what their patients have been eating.”
The link between eating and personal health has always been strong, but this kind of tool will provide a much more definitive understanding of what really “does your body good.”
Since it may be a few years before you dietician can offer you a simple pee-on-a-stick solution to have your eating habits analyzed, I recommend cutting out the oreos, chomping on broccoli and checking out our recent post on How to take control of your health 2012, in which we introduced you to the Greatist blog, an educated, upbeat and go-to source for all things fitness, health and happiness.