For some reason, most of us are notoriously bad at remembering what we ate just a short time ago. And while a food diary seems like an easy solution, its precisely our forgetfulness which precludes us from keeping such a ledger up-to-date. Only the truly organised and committed are able to painstakingly take note of every morsel of food passing their lips. Soon though, we might not have to remember.
Keeping Track of Our Diet Could Soon Be Easy
British scientists have been working on a urine test that essentially keeps track of the food we ate for us. It’s thought that the test will prove useful for those looking to lose weight and also pinpoint dietary imbalances.
The research team behind the study comprised scientists from Newcastle University, Imperial College London and Aberystwyth University. They found that by analysing urine samples, they could determine the structure of chemicals within it that are created when the body digests food. The chemical structures, in turn, reveal the composition of recent meals and even longer-term dietary proclivities.
“But I Know What I’m Eating!”
At this point, some people might be wondering why the study is such a big deal. “So the test could reveal to me what I’m eating – so what? After all, I know what I’m eating.”
Admittedly, this is a fair point. Unless you’re a blindfolded hostage being spoon-fed by a silent captor, in every likelihood you know exactly what’s going into your digestive tract. While you might not remember today’s lunch tomorrow, you are probably conscious (and guiltily so) when you eat an entire platter of Doritos topped with melted cheese, thank you very much.
Even so, the test could be used to inform food policy implementation and classify dietary patterns on an unprecedented scale. Although the test will not be ready to roll-out for two years, it could well presage a step change for public health nutrition, since it provides a more efficient method of accurately surveying dietary intakes.
The Future of Dietary Disease Prevention?
Researchers, who were funded in their efforts by the UK National Institute for Health Research and the UK Medical Research Council, think that the results could help lower people’s obesity risk or their susceptibility to type-2 diabetes. Of course, the typical western diet – high in sat fats, cholesterol and sodium, low in vegetables, fruit and fibre – has long been associated with coronary heart disease, obesity and cancer. Poor health brought about by unwise dietary habits is nothing new. A new way of monitoring what the public are really eating is an encouraging rung on the ladder towards improved wellbeing.
Going back to the food diary, we would certainly recommend keeping one – especially if you feel it’ll keep you on the straight and narrow where nutrition is concerned. Ultimately, eating healthily requires a conscious effort to fuel your body with the food it needs to operate efficiently. Shunning processed food in favour of fruit, greens, fatty fish, lean meats and nuts is beneficial in all kinds of ways, giving you more energy, fighting disease, enhancing your mood and keeping your mind sharp. Sadly, too many people simply link healthy food with a healthy weight and don’t see the bigger picture.
If you’re in the midst of a January detox, or if you’re simply looking to make some positive dietary changes in 2017, why not take a look at our range of super greens? These combinations of alkalizing vegetables and plants are great for throwing in the blender or NutriBullet and make for an invigorating morning smoothie.