My Executive


    Aug 01, 2013

    Handy aid to working out and burning fat

    WANT to know if you're working out hard enough and burning fat? Just take a deep breath and blow.

    Scientists in Japan have created a portable, breathalyser-type device that can tell users whether or not they have entered the fat-burning phase of their exercise and diet regime, by detecting levels of acetone in the breath.

    Acetone is produced in the blood when fat is broken down. It's also expelled through tiny sacs in the lungs called alveoli.

    The pocket-sized device can detect acetone concentrations of between 0.2 and 50 parts per million. After breathing into the device, levels of acetone are calculated and the result can be sent to a smartphone by either Bluetooth or cable within 10 seconds.

    For their study, scientists at the NTT Docomo Research Laboratories recruited 17 adult volunteers who had a body mass index higher than the Japanese average.

    One group served as the control group and was told to carry on with their normal lifestyle. The second group was put on a light exercise programme which involved 30 to 60 minutes of jogging or fast walking every day. The third group was put on the same exercise programme but was also put on a calorie-restricted diet.

    The experiment lasted 14 days.

    Volunteers were asked to breathe into the device before breakfast each day. Results showed that while the first two groups failed to lose any significant amount of fat, the third group succeeded in melting off the pounds.

    Breathalyser tests also corroborated the results, as breath acetone concentrations increased significantly with the last group.

    The study was published online in the Journal Of Breath Research.

    Researchers say the lightweight device, which is powered by double AA batteries, could serve as an important tool in the battle against the bulge and weight-related illnesses such as diabetes.