I want to know if I am burning fat. Is there an app for that? Most likely yes! A new gadget has been revealed that allows you to check if you are burning fat and sends the data to your phone. A group of researchers from Japan’s NTT DOCOMO Research Laboratories have conducted a study and built a prototype gadget that will soon hit the market.
The gadget works similarly to a breathalyzer. You breathe into it and it checks for one specific compound called acetone. This compound has been used to indicate whether a person is burning fat. When fat breaks down in your body during exercise or lack of other energy sources, acetone is produced in the blood. Eventually it gets expelled to the lungs and is exhaled. This device measures the level of acetone in your breath and is fairly compact; It is about 4 inches long and weighs about a quarter of a pound.
Once you exhale, the device calculates the concentration levels of acetone (the more acetone you have the more fat you are burning) and sends it to the smartphone either via Bluetooth or a cable. This is all achieved within ten seconds.
The study lasted 14 days and used 17 adults of which 11 were men and 6 were women. All of their BMIs were above Japan’s average. The volunteers were split into three groups:
- (Group 1) Carried on normal life, no calorie restrictions, no exercise requirement
- (Group 2) No calorie restrictions, partook in light exercise 30-60 mins a day
- (Group 3) Calorie restricted, partook in light exercise same as group 2
Every day before breakfast, they were required to note down their body weight, fat percentage and breath acetone concentrations. Upon concluding the study, results show that the first two groups were not burning fat in significant amounts. Their acetone level also remained unchanged. The third group, however, experienced a significant increase in acetone concentration as well as the rate of burning fat.
With the world population becoming more and more obese, fat acceptance is becoming the norm, as well as dangerous. The main investigator of the study, Satoshi Hiyama, had this to say:
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. 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.
However if this device allows us to monitor how our dieting affects our fat burning, this might alter the way we think about food and exercise altogether. We may start to alter our diets ourselves more frequently.
The prevailing issue is still the fact that this was conducted with only 17 individuals. A small sample pool such as that could bring down the credibility and accuracy of this gadget. But even if the accuracy and consistency of the device is proven to be solid, the challenges that still remain are the acceptance of the new technology and whether it will achieve its main goal: to alter people’s dieting habits for a permanent improvement.