In the coming weeks, you may notice a new device at our clinical office or might be asked to exhale into a small pod during your check-in. This device is LEVL, a new feature at Enara that will help monitor your weight loss! This machine measures trace amounts of acetone in your breath to determine how much fat you are burning.
There are many factors at play when you are losing weight. At Enara, our goal is for you to burn your body’s fat while maintaining muscle mass. The numbers on your scale do not give you enough information. Your weight may be dropping but it does not always indicate you are losing fat — you might be losing muscle, which we want to avoid. Or your weight will stay the same or even increase due to water retention or other factors but you might actually be burning fat.
One tell-tale sign that your body is burning fat is the presence of acetone in your breath. Fat deposits in your body are made up of fatty acids, which, when broken down, produces ketones. Acetone, a type of ketone, has a relatively small structure and when your body breaks down a lot of fatty acids, acetone will appear in your exhaled breath. This is where the LEVL device comes in. One deep breath into the breath pod and a few moments later, the device tells you how much acetone is in your breath and what that means for your fat loss.
Normally, your body will use carbohydrates that you consume for energy. Carbohydrates such as rice, bread, and sugars get converted to glucose which your body uses for energy. However, on special diets such as a ketogenic diets, low-carb diets, or low-calorie/VLCD, you are not getting enough carbohydrates to fuel your body the usual way. At this point, your body turns to your fat deposits and starts to burn the fatty acids for energy and thereby causes weight loss. As the fat deposits are being converted to energy, acetone and other ketones are produced. In fact, the ketogenic diet (one that restricts carbohydrates and increases calories from fatty foods) gets its name from the ketones that your body produces from burning fatty acids in the absence of carbohydrates.
The LEVL device will give you a numeric value that indicates the acetone PPM (parts per million) in your exhaled breath. At values below 2.0 PPM, your body has not turned to fat as a source of energy; you are still primarily using carbohydrates for fuel and will need to reduce your carb intake or overall calories in order to switch to fat metabolism. Your LEVL reading reflects your body’s metabolism from the past 12-24 hours. This information gives your Enara providers insight as to whether or not a certain diet program is compatible with your body and helps us develop the best plan for your goals.
Breath acetone measurements are ideal for patients on the VLCD program or on a gradual, low-carb diet. To take full advantage of the LEVL device, we recommend that you schedule weekly appointments, around the same time, so that you get a consistent, weekly reading of your acetone level.