Urine tests target everything from kidney disease to ganja use, but now something surprising can be added to the list: your risk of becoming overweight.
That’s according to a study from researchers at Imperial College in London, which was published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine. They took over 2,000 samples of human whiz and examined their metabolites, byproducts of the body’s metabolic processes, like digestion.
“You would be amazed how much frozen piss we have,” Jeremy Nicholson, one of the study’s researchers, told NPR.
Using spectroscopy, the researchers profiled subjects’ pee samples twice, each three weeks apart, and each over 24 hours. Zeroing in on these tiny metabolites, the scientists linked specific ones to activities like diet and exercise. In total, they found 29 species of metabolites whose levels fluctuated depending on the individual’s BMI.
Whether you’re outwardly thin or heavyset right now doesn’t really paint a full picture, but mapping out the relationships between your BMI and metabolite levels could provide insight on how easily you might gain weight or have metabolic problems in the future. These techniques could also eventually help you better protect yourself from the host of health problems associated with obesity, like high blood pressure or type-2 diabetes.