Device could help you learn how to burn fat

woman running to burn fat

Could a handheld device help you hack into your metabolism and lose weight? That’s the sort of question you might expect to hear emanating from your TV late at night when the home shopping shows have taken over. But the latest scientific research suggests the answer to that question could well be ‘yes’.

The device in question is called Lumen, and its aim is to shift your focus away from a ‘calories in, calories out’ approach to your diet and turn your attention to what your body is actually burning – carbohydrates or fat.

There has been a big push towards low-carb diets in recent decades, and while much of it is marketing hype designed to get you to buy the latest diet-related product or book, there is some science behind the concept.

Read: Boost your metabolism with these simple lifestyle tweaks

Generally speaking, when it comes to burning calories, your body will go to carbohydrates before anything else. It will only burn fat when it has no more carbohydrates to chew through. If you cut down on carbs, your body will get stuck into burning fat and your weight will drop.

That’s the theory, anyway. But as science brings us ever closer to understanding our bodies, it has become clearer that the variation in the metabolic processes from human to human is greater than most realise. (Yes, when someone claims they struggle to lose weight ‘because of my metabolism, they could well be right.)

These huge variations have even been observed in identical twins. A ‘one size fits all’ diet then, is not going to have a great chance of success. And this is where Lumen comes in. It can give you a personal measure of your current metabolic phase.

Read: Why eating late at night is so bad for weight loss

Described by New Scientist reporter Catherine de Lange as “resembling a sleek electronic cigarette”, Lumen requires you to inhale slowly for 10 seconds and then exhale through its mouthpiece.

As soon as you’ve done that, you can check your ‘score’, ranging from 1 to 5, on your phone app. If you are wanting to burn fat, then 1 is the score you’re looking for. If you’re ‘blowing a 5’ it means your body has a carbohydrate bonfire going on.

How will knowing your score help?

Excellent question! There’s little point in knowing what your score is if you don’t know what to do with it. The idea is that your Lumen score will help you identify when you are more likely to be in fat-burning mode and how to get there. To use one of the newer technical terms, it will help you monitor and improve your ‘metabolic flexibility’.

In general, human metabolic flexibility is enhanced by exercise and eating at the ‘right’ times (not right before you go to bed, for example), but we are all different and Lumen could help you decipher how your own metabolism works, which will in turn help you to ‘train’ it.

Read: Can supplements or diet reduce symptoms of arthritis?

Ms de Lange found she was able to do just that. After finding it “impossible to avoid getting a reading of at least 4 on the 5-point scale” she reached “fat-burn mode”, a score of 1, several weeks later.

The developers of Lumen have been able to pool data from thousands of users to identify patterns that could help people improve their metabolic health. One such finding was that 40 per cent of users fast for too long, putting their body in a state of stress. As more users come on board, further patterns are expected to emerge.

Could Lumen help you? It probably could, specifically by enabling you to measure your own metabolic patterns. Less specifically, it might simply help to remind you to stick to healthy eating patterns.

Do you struggle to burn the calories? Have you found any fat-burning tricks that work for you? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Written by Andrew Gigacz

Andrew has developed knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income and government entitlements, as well as issues affecting older Australians moving into or living in retirement. He's an accomplished writer with a passion for health and human stories.

Leave a Reply

middle aged couple speaking with financial advisor

Age group hurtling toward retirement stress

couple whose super fund switch investments

Funds ‘accused’ of switching investments without member knowledge