New devices creates a personal nutrition plan with a single breath
Most of us associate breathalysers with being pulled over by the authorities on suspicion of drink-driving. But a technology start-up in Israel has created a version of the device which offers you daily advice on your diet.
After raising $2 million through crowdfunding, the company aims to launch its product, called Lumen, later this year. It’s small enough to fit into a handbag and was exhibited at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Technology reporter Chris Fox was shown on the BBC website breathing in, holding his breath and breathing out, while Lumen cofounder DrorCeder explained: “It’s going to measure Chris’s metabolism, and then build a personalised nutrition plan for him.”
The idea of Lumen is that you breathe into it each day and the accompanying app will show you information like how much carbohydrate it thinks you should eat that day, along with meal and snack recommendations. There is also a search feature so you can look up certain foods to find out how much carbohydrate they contain. You don’t have to log your food intake or physical activity, but you can submit photos of your meals to nutritionists for feedback.
Lumen works by measuring how much oxygen you breathe in, and how much carbon dioxide you breathe out. From this it can calculate whether you are mainly getting energy from your carbohydrate stores, or from body fat (the latter means you breathe out less carbon dioxide than the former).
However, while paying attention to your diet and health is a positive thing, it’s important not to overcomplicate matters, and what isn’t clear with Lumen is how it improves upon the age-old advice: eat a balanced diet, with everything in moderation. Carbohydrates should make up around a third of your diet, partly because they are an important source of nutrients and fibre, and partly because they are the easiest way for the body to obtain energy. Too few carbohydrates can cause your body to go into ketosis, causing headaches, weakness, nausea, dehydration, dizziness and irritability.
Lumen has spent four years developing its device, testing it through clinical trials, in hospitals and universities around the world, and with hundreds of preliminary users. Co-founder Michal Mor added: “In future we hope to address diet changes for a wide range of medical conditions.”
To use Lumen, you have to be 16 or over. The company also lists on its website various medical conditions which mean you should either not use Lumen, or check with your doctor before doing so.
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