Study: Urine test recognizes food patterns and can prevent problems from occurring
Certainly, many people generally pay attention to a healthy diet. But how can we actually determine whether our meals are really healthy for our body. British researchers have now developed a urine test to help identify users' eating patterns.
Scientists at Imperial College London, Northwestern University and the University of Southern Denmark found that a simple urine test can show how healthy our meals are. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology".
Self-assessment of nutrition is usually very unreliable
In their new study on nutrition and health, the experts tried to find out whether there is a better and more reliable way to assess the impact of our diet than a notoriously unreliable self-reporting and self-assessment. While conducting the study, it was found that most people are prone to personally inaccurate reporting of unhealthy food consumption compared to personal reporting of healthy food consumption, the researchers explain.
Urine samples were examined for metabolic profiles
In the current small study, the 20 participants consumed four different types of diet. With regard to international guidelines, these were classified as very healthy and very unhealthy. Then, the test persons' urine samples were tested for substances which are associated with certain types of nutritional patterns. These are also known as metabolic profiles.
More research is needed
The researchers were able to find out that urine tests are actually able to identify the participants' nutritional patterns. The levels of 19 substances (metabolites) found, for example, were significantly increased among the consumers of the healthiest nutrition group, say the doctors. However, because the study had a very small sample size, it was necessary to carry out additional research on this topic.
Keep a food diary
If you want to try to make your diet healthier, you can keep a so-called food diary. In this, you should then write down exactly what you have eaten instead of trusting your unreliable memory, the experts advise.
Unhealthy eating increases the risk of illness
The randomized controlled crossover study examined whether food intake in individuals can be analyzed and measured with urine samples. Because an unhealthy diet can significantly increase the risk of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Test provides a method for assessing the nutritional behavior of the population
Current so-called nutritional tools are not always able to assess the effects of political changes on nutritional behavior in the population, the researchers explain. The current investigation should clarify whether metabolic profiles in the human brain can reflect the intake of food. This could offer an alternative method to assess nutritional behavior in the population.
Subjects were between 21 and 65 years old
Between August 2013 and May 2014, healthy volunteers between the ages of 21 and 65 with a Body Mass Index (BMI) between 20 and 35 were selected for the current study from a database of the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) / Wellcome Trust Imperial Clinical Research Facility (CRF) is recruiting. First, 300 people were invited to the study. Of these, however, only 26 people were classified as suitable and finally 20 of these subjects were included in the study.
Carrying out the experiment:
The test subjects were asked to participate in four inpatient stays of 72 hours (separated by at least five days). During this time, they were given one of four different food compositions, the authors explain. Adherence to food intake was carefully monitored, with food being weighed immediately before and after administration to participants. In addition, the participants were only allowed to do very light physical activity. This was also closely observed and recorded.
Urine was collected three times a day in the experiment
During the inpatient stay, the test persons' urine was collected three times a day: there was a morning collection (9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), an afternoon collection (1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) and a sample during the evening and night stay (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.). Then a chemical composition analysis method was used.
Analysis of the urine could predict risks for diseases
The so-called urine metabolism profiles were clear enough to differentiate the foods consumed. The investigation of the metabolite models excreted in the urine could classify people as users of certain nutrients, the researchers explain. The experts emphasize that lower or higher risks for non-communicable diseases based on multivariate metabolite patterns could be associated. (as)