Can't Understand Why Your Gut Is Always Causing Trouble? Try This Breath Monitoring Device

·3-min read

Gut problems are, for want of a better phrase, a real pain.

And a whole lot more of us suffer from sensitive stomachs than you might realise.

According to research from the University of Leeds published in 2020, more than one in 10 people worldwide struggle with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – and that’s just one of many potential conditions which causes digestive issues.

Aside from the constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence, cramps etc etc., one of the most frustrating parts of having gut problems is understanding what causes them.

Digestive triggers are usually different for every person – but just how do you figure out what sets your own off?

Well, that’s where this new device comes in.

How does it work?

Created by FoodMarble, it uses an app-connected hand-held breath tester called AIRE which looks at how much hydrogen and methane is released when you exhale after eating certain food.

The app then calculates the fermentation score from zero to 10 on your phone screen within a few seconds – a high score means there was a lot of fermenting going on, and you might be uncomfortable.

However, there is a catch.

Just because the food you’ve just eaten gives you a high fermentation score doesn’t mean you can’t eat it.

It’s only if there’s a high score and you have gut discomfort that there’s likely to be a connection.

It can also help you understand what kind of recipes you should be trying to eat.

You can even have a six-week programme to identify, restrict and reintroduce any food causing an issue, too.

How could it change how we think about food intolerances?

Data from AIRE users appears to have debunked some myths about food as well.

According to a report from The Times, the device has found that dairy – which is the most commonly eliminated food among FoodMarble’s users – actually had a pretty low rate of intolerance among Brits, with just 43% have a reaction to it.

In comparison, sorbitol (found in apples, pears and stone fruits) and often used as an artificial sweetener, upset 78% of British users.

It also found that slow-fermenting complex is garlic, onions, some root vegetables and wheat can cause a similar problem.

The team behind the new device were inspired by the Fodmap diet (based around avoiding highly fermentable carbohydrates) often recommended for IBS sufferers.

Hospitals also use hydrogen breath test machines to diagnose digestive problems as well, by looking at how much gas gut bacterial create after a patient has consumed a certain food.

As FoodMarble nutritionist Dr Claire Shortt told The Times: “It’s really about identifying what can create a lot of gas for you, and how much gas is too much — because you’ll find over time you can tolerate a certain amount on certain days, but when you’re tired or stressed, or after exercise, your digestion is less optimal.”

She added: “It’s never about entirely eliminating foods. Even if you’re lactose-intolerant, you can still eat a certain amount of lactose in a day.”