Are Portable Breath Analysers useful for health and wellbeing?


Have you ever seen adverts on how to lose 32kg in one week or why you need to adopt a keto diet? While some of the advertised solutions for weight loss are legitimate, others are merely clickbait. However, they all emphasize the importance of physical fitness.

The global increase in the number of diseases attributable to physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle is alarming. It is, therefore, better to take an ounce of prevention by keeping fit and maintaining optimum body weight. Basal metabolic rate is an important key to understanding how the body works in weight loss or weight gain.

What is Basal Metabolic Rate?

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy (measured in calories) that the body needs to carry out its functions while at rest. This includes energy used in breathing, circulation, cell production, and nutrient processing. Basal metabolic rate is determined by various factors such as

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Ethnicity
  • Body composition
  • Genetics

You can estimate your BMR using this equation.

For women: BMR = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) – 161

For men: BMR = 10 x weight(kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5

This is the Harris-Benedict equation. It is thought to be the most accurate manual BMR equation. However, even the Harris-Benedict equation must be used with care because it provides a rough estimation and might differ from the body’s current state.

Daily life involves much more than the activities carried out at rest. Therefore, the level of daily physical activity one ima can be used to determine their caloric needs.

To know your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as shown below:

Calories Requirements

  • Sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  • Lightly active (light physical activity/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  • Moderately active (moderate physical activity/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  • Very active (vigorous physical activity/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  • If you are extra active (very intensive physical activity/sports & a physical job) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9

How Breath Analyzers Help in Optimising Healthy Lifestyles

A breath analyzer is a portable device that uses a person’s breath to define how the body works. More than checking the number of calories burned, such devices allow tracking how the body reacts to food to fuel the various daily activities. This can enable the user to make an informed decision regarding their health and fitness. How is such a device able to do this? It measures the users’ oxygen usage and carbon dioxide output and uses it to estimate the basal metabolic rate.

The basal metabolic rate it has determined can offer valuable suggestions on the calories a person needs. It can also offer other health suggestions, but this depends on the complexity of the device in question.

Breath analyzers can be in two forms:

  • Laboratory Breath Analyzers: These breath analyzers function just like mobile analyzers. However, the difference lies in the fact that they are used in the laboratory and require a trained professional to generate and interpret the results.
  • Portable Breath Analyzers: These breathe analyzers are portable devices used to determine the BMR and function in a similar manner to laboratory bench analyzers, but they are a do-it-yourself solution. Users can view their results from the gadget’s mobile app, which is installed on their phone.

What are the pros and cons of portable breath analyzers?

Portable breath analyzers have several pros and cons that potential users should consider. Some of these include:


  • They are movable devices with sleek designs.
  • They do not need a professional to use or interpret results.
  • They improve your knowledge and practices of health and nutrition.
  • They have easy-to-use applications.


  • They require regular analyses.
  • They can be expensive.
  • They must be backed uo by high quality sensors to provide meaningful results.

Portable Breath Analyzers You Should Watch Out For

Several companies are involved in the design, manufacture, and marketing of portable breath analyzers. Here are some of the most viable offerings

Lumen Metabolic Device

The lumen metabolic device prides itself as the world’s first metabolic tracker applying long-held scientific views through new technology. It measures the carbon dioxide exhaled in a single breath and determines the type of fuel your body uses.


This device is synchronized with a mobile app that enables you to track your metabolism and reports how your daily activities – nutrition, physical activity, and sleep affect your metabolism. You also have the chance to be your nutritionist with personalized meal plans. It also lets you customize your workout session. Check our full review of the Lumen device.


KetoScan is another portable device that uses the technology of breath analysis. It measures the ketone level in exhaled breath and uses this information to analyze the level of ketosis, checks your fat metabolism, and advises accordingly.


It is more suited for those who have adopted keto diets but works well for other nutrition and fitness programs. The new KetoScan was one of our top ketone meters pick for 2021. It is also synchronized with a mobile app that enables you to record and monitor your level of ketosis.


Food marble is another powerful device that analyzes exhaled hydrogen gases and uses this analysis and records to determine the foods that suit your body most. After a meal, which is logged to the mobile app synchronized with your device, you can take a breath test and develop a digestive profile using results obtained from the breath tests.


When these results are considered holistically, they enable you to identify a plan that suits your body system and supports you to eat healthier. It has an additional feature called FODMAP, which is available on request. This feature allows you to diagnose intolerance to fructose, lactose, sorbitol, or inulin.

Keyto Breath Sensor

The Keyto Pen is another alternative to Ketone analysis. The device aims to provide an accurate reading of the ketosis level and provide personalized weight loss nutrition advice based on the famous Mediterranean diet. Unfortunately, despite our numerous requests to the company, we did not have the chance to test it. So there is not much we can say about this product which on paper appears as promising.

To wrap up

LumenKetoScanKeyto PenFoodMarble
Sensor TypeCO2AcetoneAcetoneHydrogen
Battery TypeRechargeableRechargeableAAARechargeable
Useful for tracking KetosisNoYesYesNo
Useful for Metabolism TrackingYesYesYesNo
Useful for catabolism trackingNoNoNoYes
Useful for weight lossYesYesYesNo
Useful for tracking food allergiesNoNoNoYes

More devices and gadgets are expected to be launched in the BMR and breath analysis space. However, it is important to note that while these portable breath analyzers may be helpful for BMR calculation and other dietary solutions, they do not take the place of a trained professional.

Most of the factors determining BMR are fixed, but weight and lean muscle mass can be influenced by diet and exercise. Therefore, a holistic approach that uses the best devices one can afford and professional support is most likely to provide the best results.

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