Health & Wellbeing

Lumen reveals if your body is burning fat or carbs with a single breath

Lumen measures your body's respiratory quotient and can tell you if you're burning fat or carbs
Lumen measures your body's respiratory quotient and can tell you if you're burning fat or carbs
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Lumen suggests morning before breakfast is the best time to get clear readings
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Lumen suggests morning before breakfast is the best time to get clear readings
The app tracks your progress over several days
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The app tracks your progress over several days
And can customize a diet plan to your specific metabolism
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And can customize a diet plan to your specific metabolism
The specs for Lumen
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The specs for Lumen
The traditional method for recording a person's RQ
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The traditional method for recording a person's RQ
You can get updates on progress throughout the day by just breathing into the device
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You can get updates on progress throughout the day by just breathing into the device
Lumen measures your body's respiratory quotient and can tell you if you're burning fat or carbs
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Lumen measures your body's respiratory quotient and can tell you if you're burning fat or carbs
The app also tracks your exercise and activity
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The app also tracks your exercise and activity
If you should eat less carbs to switch your metabolism to fat-burning the app will tell you
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If you should eat less carbs to switch your metabolism to fat-burning the app will tell you
The design development
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The design development
You can use the device before exercise to see if your body is in an optimal fat-burning or carb-burning state
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You can use the device before exercise to see if your body is in an optimal fat-burning or carb-burning state

There are a growing number of fitness trackers hitting the market that claim to offer detailed insights into your heath using a variety of biomarkers. Perhaps the most striking of these devices to date is Lumen, a tiny breathalyzer-styled gizmo that is claimed to measure a person's metabolism from just a single breath.

Lumen's technology is based on the very real metabolic measurement called respiratory quotient (RQ). For decades scientists and dieticians have used RQ to determine how a body is metabolizing macronutrients and which energy pathways are being individually favored, from carbohydrates to fat.

The RQ value for a person is calculated by measuring the volume of carbon dioxide produced by the body, compared to the level of oxygen consumed by the body. Traditionally, this is tested using a complex breathing apparatus connected to a computer that tracks your breathing for around 20 minutes. RQ is usually presented as a decimal between 0.6 and 1.0, with 1.0 indicating your body is metabolizing energy mostly from carbohydrates, and around 0.7 signaling your body is mostly burning fat.

And can customize a diet plan to your specific metabolism
And can customize a diet plan to your specific metabolism

RQ is most certainly a real, and valuable, metabolic benchmark that scientists can derive a great deal of information from regarding an individual's overall health. Lumen's big claim is that it can generate an accurate RQ measurement from just a single breath.

Instead of delivering your RQ value as a dry decimal, Lumen translates that data into a spectrum that spans fat to carbs and then suggests meal plans that can optimize your day according to your specific metabolic profile. Via a paired app, the system can subsequently track your sleep and activity to constantly modulate its recommendations.

You can get updates on progress throughout the day by just breathing into the device
You can get updates on progress throughout the day by just breathing into the device

This is undeniably a fascinating approach to tracking health and fitness, and while the company suggests its patent-pending technology is accurate, we will have to just take their word for it.

There is a hint of "too good to be true" to the technological development at its core, translating a metabolic measurement that classically needs up to an hour of analysis and large machines, into a tiny hand held device that only needs a single breath. However, the makers of Lumen call it breakthrough technology, and if it works as claimed then it surely is, although it's difficult to not be a little skeptical about the fundamental claims.

Still, the crowdfunding game is all about exciting moonshot ideas and this certainly fits the bill. The company smashed its Indiegogo goal soon after launching the campaign. The current super early-bird price is US$179 (or $199 if you miss that window), and shipping is expected to commence in February 2019 if all goes to plan. After several years of prototype development and beta testing, the consumer device is reportedly ready to move into manufacturing stages later this year.

Take a look at the campaign video below for a closer look at the Lumen.

Source: Indiegogo

LUMEN | Hack Your Metabolism & Lose Weight

3 comments
Brendan Dunphy
It would be useful to know more why the RQ test is carried-out today but is there really a need to do this on a daily basis? I very much doubt it.
jd_dunerider
I don't need a device like this to know if I'm burning fat energy or carb energy. Keto diet and intermittent fasting have changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined! I'm almost always burning fat.
zr2s10
If it truly works, it could be a good tool for diabetics. I'm currently learning how hard it is to balance blood sugar/carb intake/insulin intake, for my son's Type 1. This could be an alternative to ketone urine test strips. If you're constantly burning fat instead of carbs, you end up in ketoacidosis. This test could be a heads up before you end up in that state.