Urine Test Tracks What You Eat
Science isn’t saying that it doesn’t believe you, exactly.
But in the words of President Ronald Reagan, the idea is to “trust but verify.” That’s one way to look at the new test developed by a team of scientists from the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C.
Generally, scientific studies regarding what people eat rely on population studies to make associations between certain foods and, for instance, cancer prevention. Participants track their diet in a log, which can result in unreliable data. At best, people forget things; at worst, they alter their records to appear more favorably to researchers.
The new test can efficiently assess levels of specific food compounds in human urine -- in other words, the proof is in the pee. Researchers believe the tool could replace current methods used in population studies, making it easier to identify the effects of diet and particular foods on cancer.
For the study, the team looked at cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and watercress, which have previously shown protective benefits against lung cancer.
The test looks for specific members of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) family, along with other compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. Studies on animals and cells have shown that different ITCs have various anticancer properties, meaning they aren’t all equal in protecting against the disease.
This test could help determine which ITCs work best against cancer.