Portable Fat Breathalyzer Let You Know About Your Burning Fat

Portable Fat Breathalyzer Let You Know About Your Burning Fat by analyzing your breath


While there's no shortage of breathalyzers capable of detecting if you’ve had one too many drinks, a prototype breathalyzer developed by NTT DoCoMo Research Laboratories that promises to instantly let you know whether your body is currently burning fat.

The portable, pocket-sized sensor, produced by a group of researchers in Japan, works by measuring increased levels of acetone on the breath – a good indicator of when the body has begun to break down fat.

The device, which is 10 cm (4 in) long, weighs 125 g (4.4 oz) and is powered by two AA batteries, features a pressure sensor to detect when someone breathes into it, and two types of semiconductor-based gas sensors that are capable of detecting acetone concentrations of 0.2 to 50 parts-per-million. After detecting the exhaled breath, the device calculates the acetone concentration levels and transmits the results, either via cable or Bluetooth, to a smartphone within 10 seconds.

In their study, the researchers recruited 17 healthy adult volunteers (11 men and six women), whose body mass indexes (BMIs) were above the Japanese standard, to test the device.

The volunteers were split into three groups, the first of which carried on with their normal life and were not restricted to a specific numbers of calories in their diet and not required to take part in exercise.

The second group were required to take part in light exercise, such as jogging or fast walking, for 30-60 minutes a day and the final group were required to take part in the same exercise routine and also consume a limited number of calories in their diet each day.

Each day before breakfast for a period of 14 days, all volunteers measured their body weight, body fat percentage and breath acetone concentrations. In addition to using the prototype device to measure the acetone concentrations, a standard measuring instrument was used for comparison.

Results showed that the volunteers in the first two groups – those leading a normal life and those performing daily exercise – were not able to lose significant amounts of fat. Their breath acetone concentrations also remained constant, while the volunteers in the third group showed a significant increase in their breath acetone concentrations and were able to lose significant amounts of fat.

Principal investigator of the study, Satoshi Hiyama, said: “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.”

“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 programmes.”

“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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Write by: RC - Thursday, July 25, 2013

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