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Rapid urine test tells the truth about your diet, even if you don’t

With various health tests already requiring a sample of it, we’ve long known that urine isn’t always something that should be simply flushed down the toilet.

The usefulness of one of our body’s waste products has just been highlighted by an international team of researchers that’s created a fast urine test capable of measuring the quality of a person’s diet.

Researchers at Imperial College London collaborated with colleagues at Northwestern University, University of Illinois, and Murdoch University in Australia to examine the levels of 46 so-called “metabolites” — widely seen as an objective indicator of diet quality — in the urine of 1,848 people in the U.S., and how they link with a person’s diet, according to an Imperial report.

Different metabolites are produced by the body according to the type of food and drink being digested. For example, certain metabolites will be produced by alcohol consumption, while red meat will produce different ones.

The test can provide detailed information about an individual’s diet, making it useful for a range of health specialists, including doctors and nutritionists. With diet a key factor when it comes to health and disease, a health specialist will be keen to learn about a patient’s diet. But accurate information can be hard to come by as the process relies on an individual’s ability to accurately recall details of their food intake — while some people may simply be reluctant to reveal their penchant for sticky donuts and the like.

But the new urine test doesn’t lie. In other words, the five-minute test can help to quickly provide reliable data on the composition and quality of a person’s diet, and also whether it’s the right kind of diet for their biological make-up.

Further research by Imperial, this time carried out in collaboration with Newcastle University and Aberystwyth University in the U.K., and Murdoch University, showed that the test can also create a person’s unique urine “fingerprint,” which isn’t as messy as it sounds.

The “fingerprint” can be used to calculate an individual’s Dietary Metabotype Score, or DMS, that could prove useful for health specialists working with patients to create a new diet, something the researchers call “precision nutrition.”

The results of the research were published this week by Nature Food. Additional work is now being carried out to see how a person’s DMS score may link to their risk of certain potentially life-threatening health conditions.

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