Take a breath for the ultimate answer on how to burn more fat
Simple detector shows when the body begins to burn fat stores
The prototype fat burning sensor developed by a team at NTT Docomo Research Laboratories. Photograph: IOP Publishing’s Journal of Breath Research
If you don’t burn fat you won’t lose weight, but how do you know if you have done enough exercise to achieve this? Japanese researchers have come up with an answer, a sensor that detects when your body begins to break down fat.
They believe it may help those attempting to lose weight through exercise, but the sensor could also be used to help keep diabetes under control.
Many struggle to lose weight and have little success even though physically active. The main problem is it can be difficult to keep energy intake as food lower than energy expenditure as exercise. Until this situation is reached the body will not burn stored energy as fat.
To help keep on the correct side of this equation the team from NTT Docomo Research Laboratories developed a simple breath analyser designed to detect acetone. This chemical arises in the blood when you burn fat stores, but it is also exhaled. Acetone on the breath means fat is being used up.
The device is about the size of a deck of playing cards and weighs about 125g. The user just blows into the device and it can detect acetone at levels between 0.2 and 50 parts per million.
Once it measures the acetone concentrations these can be sent wirelessly by Bluetooth or by a cable to a smartphone for processing.
The researchers used their prototype design in a small trial involving 17 healthy adults who all had body mass indexes above the Japanese standard. Details are published this morning in the Institute of Physics Publishing’s Journal of Breath Research.
The subjects were broken into three groups. These included controls who did not use the device or do any exercises, a second group taking part in exercises but with no food restrictions, and a third group who exercised and who were also put on a diet to limit their energy intake.
Every day for 14 days they measured body weight, body fat percentage and breath acetone using the prototype device.
The first two groups saw little or no change in their weight, but those in third group saw significant fat loss and recorded significantly increased acetone levels on their breath.
The researchers believe their very simple device could help diet-conscious people to monitor their own fat metabolism at home.
“It is also known that when diabetes is out of control, patients have elevated levels of breath acetone,” says the study’s principal investigator Satoshi Hiyama.
“It is possible that our prototype could be used to assess how diabetic control is being managed at home.”