The Ketogenic Diet: Breath Acetone Sensing Technology

Omar Alkedeh, Ronny Priefer
Biosensors 2021 January 19, 11 (1)
The ketogenic diet, while originally thought to treat epilepsy in children, is now used for weight loss due to increasing evidence indicating that fat is burned more rapidly when there is a low carbohydrate intake. This low carbohydrate intake can lead to elevated ketone levels in the blood and breath. Breath and blood ketones can be measured to gauge the level of ketosis and allow for adjustment of the diet to meet the user's needs. Blood ketone levels have been historically used, but now breath acetone sensors are becoming more common due to less invasiveness and convenience. New technologies are being researched in the area of acetone sensors to capitalize on the rising popularity of the diet. Current breath acetone sensors come in the form of handheld breathalyzer devices. Technologies in development mostly consist of semiconductor metal oxides in different physio-chemical formations. These current devices and future technologies are investigated here with regard to utility and efficacy. Technologies currently in development do not have extensive testing of the selectivity of the sensors including the many compounds present in human breath. While some sensors have undergone human testing, the sample sizes are very small, and the testing was not extensive. Data regarding current devices is lacking and more research needs to be done to effectively evaluate current devices if they are to have a place as medical devices. Future technologies are very promising but are still in early development stages.

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