A blood test can tell your doctor if you’re cheating on your diet  

A blood test could soon tell on you if you cheat on your diet.

Scientists have developed a screening tool that measures dozens of metabolites that whether a person is eating their fruits and veggies, or sneaking unhealthy snacks.

Poor diet is a risk factor for nearly every chronic disease and doctors are increasingly prescribing better nutrition instead of medications to their patients. 

But, like any other prescription, a healthy eating does not do much good if you don’t keep it up consistently – and most of us don’t. 

A new blood test may soon tell doctors whether you’re sticking to your diet or sneaking midnight snacks, research suggests 

Soon, with the help of the test developed by Johns Hopkins University researchers, doctors may be able to tell when their patients are really committed to making the change and when they are still caving to cravings. 

We could all benefit from better nutrition. More and more research shows that well-balanced diets can boost energy and brain function and help us dodge obesity and chronic disease.  

But when we’re faced with our favorite salty, sweet or carb-heavy treats, all the health benefits of saying ‘no, thanks,’ don’t look half as delicious. 

Doctors know this, but the only way they have been able to track their patient’s adherence to diets has been to ask patients, who know they are not supposed to cheat, what they have been eating.   

About a quarter of patients copped to lying to their doctors, according to a 2015 survey – and, considering the subject matter, it seems likely that that is an underestimate. 

These little omissions might make us feel better in the moment, but they don’t help our doctors help us get healthy. 

Scientists at Johns Hopkins want to circumvent the stressful conversations and get a straight answer about what people are really eating. 

So, they have devised a way to watch what you eat by pricking your finger. 

To establish the test, they compared blood samples from 329 people involved in a DASH diet trial to the blood of a group of control patients on no particular fodo regimen. 

‘DASH’ is an acronym for ‘dietary approaches to stop hypertension,’ or high blood pressure. 

The diet is widely recommended, and involves a relatively simple balance of fruits and vegetables while keeping intake of dairy foods and fat low. 

When they analyzed the diets of those who had done the DASH diet versus those who had not, the scientists found 97 metabolites that were present in notably different amounts depending on what diet a person was on. 

‘There was a clear differentiation in metabolite profiles between the DASH diet and the control diet,’ lead study author Casey Rebholz says. 

Metabolites byproducts of the process by which the body converts food into energy. 

So, as the researchers suspected, each type of food leaves behind its own unique trace in the blood. 

They found another 67 metabolites that differed depending on whether a study subject was on a DASH diet or a more generic ‘fruits and vegetables’ diet, suggesting that this measure can tell not only if someone’s diet is ‘bad’ or ‘good,’ but if they are adhering to the particular one they are prescribed. 

‘This approach certainly could be adapted for other dietary patterns, and I hope it will be,’ Rebholz says. 

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