Breath test to tell when the fat starts to burn off

January 23rd, 2011 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 23 (IANS) A breathalyser to reveal how much fat you burn off at the gym is being developed by scientists.

Exercise machines currently estimate when people enter the “fat burning zone”.

The breathalyser works by picking up minute changes in the levels of a molecule called acetone in people’s breath, which is given off when the body starts to burn fat, the Telegraph reports.

Gus Hancock, chemist at Oxford University who has set up a company, Oxford Medical Diagnostics, to develop the machine, said: “Acetone is a molecule that is produced by people who are burning fat rather than food.

“This is of great interest in sport studies and dietary studies to find out how people have worked out in the gym. That is an area we are trying to explore and we are trying to produce a monitor of how well you have burned off some body fat.”

Hancock began working on the breathalyser technology in the hope of developing a way of screening patients for diabetes, a disease which creates elevated levels of acetone in breath.

It works by using a detection method known as spectroscopy, which measures the wavelengths of light that are absorbed by different molecules in a gas.

By shining an infrared laser through a complex series of mirrors they can detect even tiny changes in the levels of acetone when a person breathes into the breathalyser.

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