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Veg-O-meter

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Blood test may reveal diet adherence

The hardest part of being on a diet is holding yourself accountable for your food choices. Whether you work with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to manage your weight or you choose to do it on your own, you are the only one who knows what foods you eat each day. When food intake is central to research, it is one of the most important variables, which is why many times scientists opt to provide all meals during a study so there is no question regarding intake. When it’s left to participants to self-report what they ate, it’s easy to omit or simply forget meals and snacks that were consumed making it difficult to get a real picture of their dietary intake. Well those days may soon be over!

According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists may be able to tell if you stuck to your prescribed diet with a simple blood test. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed samples from 329 participants following the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. They assessed metabolites in the blood to see if there were any similarities between those that followed the diet compared to those that didn’t. Almost 100 metabolites were significantly different in those that followed the DASH diet.

As a result, investigators believe that a metabolite profile can be made for the DASH and other diets to evaluate whether or not a patient adhered to the recommended foods. Although we may be years off from this blood test becoming readily available, there is a “veg-O-meter” of sorts already in use that is able to provide a score on your vegetable consumption with a simple finger scan. Tools like these will be useful for both researchers and those who seek validation for their food choices.

Published September 1, 2018

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