Inspiring people to make better lifestyle choices—through isotopes

phys.org | 1/24/2019 | Staff
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Fitness goals are typically at the forefront of new year's resolutions for many Americans, and a recent study from ASU provides a new way to understand diet and exercise in a more holistic way, and may help us reach those goals.

Geologist and isotope chemist, Gwyneth Gordon of the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development, along with co-author and researcher Amrita Rhoads, recently completed a study using breath and hair to determine metabolism and increase of calories burned during exercise. The surprising results of their study have been published in the journal Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies.

Gordon - Background - Geology - Isotopes - Researchers

Gordon, who has a background in geology and isotopes, worked with researchers from both the ASU Biodesign Institute and the ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change to develop various methods to measure metabolism rates for this research.

To conduct their study, Gordon and Rhoads recruited female participants who varied in age, body mass index, cultural affiliation, age, and exercise history. For each participant, the researchers measured breath carbon isotopes before and after exercise to document metabolic increases with moderate exercise.

Isotope - Measurements - Increase - Calorimeter - Breezing

They then compared breath isotope measurements of metabolic increase with a smartphone-enabled indirect calorimeter, called Breezing, developed by ASU's Erica Forzani of the Biodesign Institute.

Participants also kept a log of what they were eating, which the researchers then compared to the analysis of their hair, providing baseline data about past eating habits. For the hair analysis, Gordon consulted with Kelly Knudson, of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, who works on understanding human diet through hair isotopes. "Hair isotopes are typically used to gain an understanding of lifestyles of archaeological populations," explains Gordon. "but the same type of analysis can be used in modern populations as well."

Techniques - Researchers - Participants

Using these techniques, the researchers found that participants were...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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