Ever wonder if all that hard work at the gym is paying dividends? Now you don't have to guess. Japanese sports scientists have developed an iPod-sized pocket device that can instantly tell if your body is burning fat and calories — the key to losing weight.
Engineers from from NTT DOCOMO Research Laboratories detailed their development of the device in the Journal of Breath Research, published by the Institute of Physics.
"Because obesity increases the risk of lifestyle-related illnesses, enabling users to monitor the state of fat burning could play a pivotal role in daily diet management," said lead researcher Satoshi Hiyama. "Current standard methods, however, are still not practically suitable for point-of-care instrumentation for diet-conscious people who wish to monitor their own fat metabolism at home or outside."
Acetone is primarily produced in the blood when fat is broken down, but is also present in exhaled breath. This new device includes a pressure sensor to detect the exhaled breath and two types of semiconductor-based gas sensors to detect acetone.
After a user blows into the device, acetone levels can be calculated and sent to a smartphone within 10 seconds.
The researchers tested the device on 17 healthy adult volunteers and found it effectively measured acetone and tracked weight loss in individuals following a diet and fitness plan.
"Considering that the effect of dieting could be estimated from changes in breath acetone concentrations, we've shown that our prototype is a practical and alternative checker that can be used in individual dieting programs," Hiyama said. "It is also known that when diabetes is out of control, patients have elevated levels of breath acetone. It is possible that our prototype could be used to assess how diabetic control is being managed at home."
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