If you’ve ever heard somebody say, “I just have a slow metabolism,” likelihood is they don’t truly know that for certain. And actually, it is probably not “slow” per se, however relatively—to cop Lumen’s terminology — rigid.
Created by twin sisters and Ironman triathletes, Merav and Michal Mor, each of whom have PhDs in Physiology (whole underachievers, proper?), Lumen emanated from the Mors’ want to assist individuals attain their diet, efficiency, and/or weight reduction targets by rejiggering their metabolisms. The premise is that if you understand at key moments in the event you’re burning largely carbohydrates or fats (or a combo platter of each), you possibly can decide what your physique must perform optimally—aka “personalized nutrition.”
Typically to gauge one’s metabolic fee, a person should bear costly testing in a lab setting. However, Lumen says they convey you an equal—or not less than scientifically supported (opens in new tab)—at-home choice whereby you possibly can measure your personal metabolism everytime you need, all due to the glossy little breathalyzer you obtain whenever you join this system.
To discover out extra, I attempted Lumen for a month to see whether or not the claims had been appropriate. Read my full Lumen overview beneath to search out out extra.
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Lumen overview: What precisely is Lumen measuring?
To perceive what any of this implies to you, we have to take a second to elucidate how the Lumen machine harnesses the tenets of metabolic science.
Basically, Lumen measures your metabolism/metabolic fee primarily based on the focus of carbon dioxide (CO2) in your breath. The larger your CO2 focus, the extra you might be burning carbs for gas. This is as a result of when your cells metabolize carbs, they produce extra CO2 in comparison with after they metabolize fats.
If you went in for an expert lab take a look at to have your metabolism measured, you’d get again your Respiratory Exchange Ratio (RER), which is the quantity of CO2 exhaled divided by the quantity of oxygen (O2) inhaled. That quantity in the end lets you understand your metabolic effectivity.
With this in thoughts, it’s simpler to grasp the premise of Lumen, which is that you could now get your RER anytime you need by respiratory into your Lumen, no lab take a look at required. A excessive CO2 studying means you’re burning carbs, a low CO2 quantity signifies you’re torching fats.
But is it correct? Lumen says its validity as a metabolism measuring machine has been reaffirmed by a San Francisco State University study (opens in new tab). However, this positively appears to be a product that continues refinement the longer it’s available on the market (it debuted in 2020).
But how do you employ your RER quantity in day-to-day life? This is the place the “hacking your metabolism” half lastly comes into play. The final objective of Lumen customers is to realize “metabolic flexibility,” a time period coined by the corporate that principally means your metabolism turns into extra environment friendly at burning fats and never simply carbs for vitality. If you’re within the Lumen fat-burning mode extra usually, they declare it turns into simpler to reduce weight and keep lean.
Just like your muscular tissues develop into fitter with common exercises, apparently so does your metabolism in the event you take note of how your physique switches between burning carbs and fat. And if you may get your self right into a state of metabolic flexibility, Lumen says you’ll find yourself with an entire bunch of rewards, akin to:
Easier weight reduction and upkeep
Better lean mass/muscle constructing
Stable blood sugar ranges
Enhanced bodily efficiency
Lumen overview: Price and availability
Lumen is barely available as a “subscription” service through the Lumen website (opens in new tab). You get the Lumen machine for “free” alongside along with your paid subscription. Pricing is as follows:
6 Month “Metabolism Booster” = $249
12 Month “Advanced Fat Burn” = $299
18 Month “Optimal Health” Track = $349
There is a 30-day money-back assure and a 1-year guarantee on the machine.
Lumen overview: What comes within the field?
The small sq. starter field comes with the Lumen machine, its docking station, a USB cable for charging, a journey pouch, and the Lumen App Getting Started Guide.
The latter half is very necessary as a result of, with out the corresponding app, you’re truthfully going to be form of misplaced. The written “directions” included with the Lumen are fairly paltry, and that is one Lumen element that could possibly be strengthened. It offers primary directions for find out how to cost and switch it on, however it doesn’t provide you with any of the data I simply spelled out for you within the first a part of the article.
Lumen overview: App
While my Lumen was charging, I turned my consideration to getting the Lumen app arrange. It hyperlinks to your machine through Bluetooth, so that is an integral step for utilizing the Lumen.
You have to start by creating an account after which answering a battery of way of life and physiology questions. This requires fairly a little bit of time and should all be completed manually. During the setup course of, you aren’t solely requested to enter issues like top and present weight but additionally estimated hours of sleep and day by day train habits.
I discovered this irritating as a result of whereas I’m tremendous energetic, my train routine modifications day by day and I don’t all the time know what my exercise will entail forward of time. You can return and edit a few of this later, however as I used to be filling it out at first, I did really feel a little bit hampered making an attempt to construction my exercise schedule.
It is feasible to hyperlink Lumen to your Apple Health, Google Fit, or Garmin IQ account when you’ve got one (which could provide you with much more correct readings for exercise ranges and such). But since I didn’t have any of these, I used to be left doing every part by hand.
Once all of your primary information has been collected, it’s a must to choose your observe. There are three choices: Metabolic Health, Fitness Performance, and Healthy Weight Loss. I made a decision to pick out “Healthy Weight Loss” to begin.
The app additionally permits girls to trace their month-to-month cycles, which could possibly be nice data to have when analyzing metabolic shifts. However, with the present restrictions which have simply been levied surrounding feminine reproductive well being and privateness, in the event you’re a girl within the United States, sadly, you might want to depart that function toggled off.
Lumen overview: The Lumen machine
Once my Lumen was totally charged (as indicated by a inexperienced mild whereas it’s cradled within the docking station), I set about pairing it with my Lumen app. Bluetooth functionality is required to get these two to speak to one another, however I had no points as soon as I powered my Lumen on.
Weight: 75 g
Height: 10.2 cm
Materials: Soft-touch with a magnetically connected cap over metallic mouthpiece
I continued to be impressed by the standard of the particular machine. Though admittedly it appears like an outsized vape, it’s actually strong and effectively constructed. As a transportable and hand-held machine, it’s mild whereas nonetheless encasing a stress sensor and a CO2 sensor inside its ergonomic casing.
If you need to preserve your Lumen clear, do NOT wash it. That’ll tank the entire machine. But because you’re blowing into it typically a number of occasions per day, you’ll profit by often wiping down the metallic mouthpiece with an antibacterial wipe. And although you could possibly technically “share” your Lumen by organising separate accounts inside a household, you most likely don’t need to (hiya, Covid and different shared cooties).
In the app there’s a “breathing” tutorial — Lumen ads say it takes solely 10 seconds to get a measurement, however it’s a must to inhale for 10 seconds, maintain your breath for 10 seconds, after which exhale for 10 seconds. That’s 30 seconds by my depend. And normally it’s a must to do this twice to get an correct studying (ready 15 seconds between every take a look at).
The app has a useful little bouncing ball you might be coached to get within the heart of a circle to be sure to’re not respiratory too arduous, too delicate, or too quick. I positively didn’t get it proper the primary few occasions I attempted.
This might be why they explicitly encourage you to be seated and relaxed earlier than taking a measurement. Rookie tip, don’t set free an excessive amount of air without delay after they allow you to lastly exhale otherwise you’ll run out of air earlier than time is up.
Fortunately, after some follow I bought fairly good at it. Mastering this step is important, nevertheless. Because all of your subsequent measurements are primarily based in your respiratory expertise.
Lumen overview: Lumen scale
Your Daily Measurements
Once you begin respiratory into your Lumen at common intervals, every time you’re taking a studying you’ll be given an assigned “score” on a five-point scale. That quantity tells you whether or not you’re burning largely fats (1, 2), largely carbs (4, 5), or carbs and fats (3).
Once you’re taking your morning measurement (which ought to occur earlier than you eat or drink something), predicated in your targets, the app may also provide you with an task of a low-carb, medium-carb, or high-carb day. It comes with suggestions for the utmost variety of grams you need to ingest of carbs, protein, and fats—your macros — for that day. It additionally has recipe options within the app, however I’d be form of stunned if most individuals are trolling the app for recipe concepts.
Theoretically, when you’ve got good metabolic flexibility, quick in a single day and have burned off all of your carbs from the day before today efficiently, you have to be fuelling your energetic wants largely with fats within the morning. If not, then your food regimen wants adjusting. Or so goes the dietary logic of this factor.
Lumen positively encourages intermittent fasting. Though not a keto program (as a result of they consider you typically do want carbs to maintain your metabolism “guessing” and never storing them), it additionally appears to closely lean in direction of a prescription for low-carb consuming — not less than if weight reduction is your chosen observe.
Also, to get your most correct readings, you’re imagined to enter each gram you eat at each meal of every macro (which it’s a must to do manually). If counting grams of carbs isn’t one thing you need to partake in, you’re most likely not going to see a lot of a shift in your outcomes over time, particularly since Lumen appears to be arrange such that you just get a “better” rating in the event you’re burning extra fats than carbs.
Your Flex Score
Nothing about this course of is fast and endurance is critical. Lumen has to develop into a behavior, and so they say it takes 30 days to create a brand new a kind of, proper?
At the very least, it’s going to take two weeks of constant measurements earlier than you get your first Flex Score. By Lumen’s definition, your Flex Score is a quantity between 0-21 that tells you ways effectively your physique is working with what you’re placing in your mouth, and likewise what your metabolic flexibility is at this juncture. Here’s what the totally different scores imply:
0-6 (Low metabolic flexibility)
7-14 (Medium metabolic flexibility)
15-21 (High metabolic flexibility)
I used Lumen for a month — this is what occurred
When I began this about three weeks in the past, I routinely assumed my metabolic flexibility could be excessive. I’m lean and really athletic, eat effectively, and exercise day by day. Oh, how unsuitable I used to be.
Part of the difficulty—or so I assumed—was that the minute I began doing my day by day measurements, I had an sudden work task take me out of city. So as an alternative of my typical nutritious diet and routine, I used to be consuming haphazardly (not poorly per se, however inconsistently) and sleeping erratically (thanks stress and a loopy schedule). As a end result, I didn’t really feel my first week of measurements had been remotely indicative of my physique’s typical tempo.
In a panic, I wrote to see if I might reset my Lumen (you possibly can message a Lumen knowledgeable any time you need within the “Support Chat” a part of the app, which is admittedly a pleasant function). I simply needed to begin the entire thing over. Unfortunately, I used to be informed “no.” I couldn’t reset my Lumen, however I used to be, nevertheless, supplied a free one-on-one onboarding session with a Lumen consultant if I needed assist (each new subscriber can benefit from that).
I used to be informed I shouldn’t fear as a result of my Lumen would proceed to study extra about me as soon as I saved taking measurements. But I used to be apprehensive. Once I used to be dwelling, I nonetheless continued to get at least a 3 on a morning studying. Ever. And more often than not on subsequent day by day readings (like earlier than and after exercises), I used to be nonetheless solely within the carb-burning territory. And this felt extremely irritating.
If you’re somebody who is able to make a change in your dietary habits and also you’re prepared to place within the effort, Lumen does make you extra conscious of what you’re consuming and the way it’s affecting your physique.
But you actually should be devoted to all of it, not solely respiratory into the machine a number of occasions a day. That means retaining an in depth meals log, recording each minute you’re employed out, updating your weight, watching what number of hours you sleep, and so on. And it’s a number of work.
For some individuals, nevertheless, until they’ve that form of accountability, they gained’t ever stick with a food regimen. Lumen completely makes you take note of what you’re consuming, how a lot you’re consuming, and the way the timing impacts your metabolism.
There are additionally tons and many movies within the app that will help you study extra about find out how to get probably the most out of your Lumen expertise. And you’ll get emails with webinars you possibly can attend on totally different diet matters.
Additionally, it gives a Facebook group customers can be part of with 20,000 different “Lumeners.” You can consider it like your personal Lumen assist group. Individuals who need tips and a gaggle they will chat with whereas engaged on their food regimen could discover this moreover motivating.
I’m a really disciplined human by nature. I used to be consuming clear, figuring out arduous, fasting in a single day, sleeping for eight hours, and nonetheless waking up with my first measurement at a 3, 4, or 5. Then I’d get a message that stated “Your body is good at burning carbs. Now let’s get it to fat burn mode” and I’d need to throw the factor.
Eventually, I began to surprise if it was partly as a result of I used to be by no means getting into something in my meals log. But as somebody who spent too a few years counting each single calorie she ate, I felt actually immune to having to depend and document each single gram of meals I ingested. While which will assist some individuals with portion management, it’s not a wholesome means of consuming for me personally.
However, that undoubtedly impacts your means to realize Lumen’s definition of metabolic flexibility. Not listening to their macro options will completely affect your “score” and subsequent day by day suggestions. In my first three weeks with the Lumen, not as soon as did it inform me I might have something apart from a low-carb day till I switched my observe from “Healthy Weight Loss” to “Metabolic Health” and bought one medium-carb day prescription.
When I bought my first Flex Score after weeks of constant morning measurements, it was barely registering “Medium” for metabolic flexibility.
None of that felt like I used to be “winning” with the Lumen, regardless of the encouraging messages the app saved sending me. And belief me, I’m all for a cheerleader, however in the event you’re not getting the outcomes you assume you have to be getting, effectively I is likely to be responsible of getting stated “Yeah, whatever Lumen,” greater than as soon as between breaths.
Lumen overview: Verdict
This is a flowery little machine, however know that it’s not going to routinely repair your metabolism for you simply since you’re respiratory into it on the common. The Lumen is one “piece” of an total program.
Does it work? If we’re speaking concerning the precise Lumen itself, sure. Absolutely. This machine is the primary moveable metabolism measurement machine available on the market, and it appears to have an affordable diploma of accuracy. But if you wish to reduce weight and never simply to see how your physique is burning what you eat, then you definately’ve bought to decide to the entire program. That contains taking breath exams a number of occasions a day, but additionally manually getting into all the information it requires and following your personalised dietary prescription to the gram.
In different phrases, don’t anticipate your Lumen to provide you outcomes simply since you’re good about respiratory into it any greater than you’d anticipate your scale to immediately drop in kilos simply since you get on it repeatedly. It’s a measurement instrument, not a magic wand. Your success with Lumen is totally reliant on what you do with it and the way devoted you might be to all of the parts.
If you’re somebody who wants accountability, motivation, suggestions, and a number of group assist, then that is positively a novel new means of studying about your physique and the way what you eat impacts it. But don’t anticipate the method to be uncomplicated. If you resolve to make the numerous funding, plan for a much less fast repair and extra Lumen long-haul.