Pocket-sized breath sensor gauges fat burn

Calorie counting devices or heart rate monitors might soon be a thing of the past.

A new device developed by a group of researchers from NTT DOCOMO Research Laboratories can instantly tell if your body is burning fat – just by reading your breath.

Acetone detection

Acetone, a compound primarily produced in blood when fat is broken down, is also detectable through the exhalation of breath via tiny sacs in the lungs called alveoli.

The device, which can detect acetone concentrations in the range of 0.2 to 50 parts-per-million, is 10 cm long and weighs 125 g. It requires two AA batteries to operate.

When a user blows into the device, the acetone levels can be calculated and then sent to a smartphone within seconds.

A tool for weight loss?

A study using the device found that volunteers who performed an exercise regime and had restricted caloric intake were able to lose significant amounts of fat while also increasing their breath acetone concentrations.

Researchers said the device might be helpful for people who want to feel more in control of their weight loss:

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.

The device was presented July 25 in IOP Publishing's Journal of Breath Research.

Source: Science Daily

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