An op-ed from the Editor…
Understanding your metabolism just got easier with the new breathalyzer device, Lumen. Developed through years of scientific testing and validation, Lumen is the first handheld, portable device, and app that measures your metabolism in real-time, simply from your breath.
For the first time, you can track your metabolic flexibility from the comfort of your home or on the go! As the Editor in Chief of Millennial Magazine, I was lucky enough to receive the device and test it out for the last few weeks. My results, however, were interesting.
Receiving My Lumen
The unboxing experience was special. Here arrived this beautifully sleek black box with a suede finish to the touch. Opening the box, the device, its charger and carrying case were neatly placed inside. The branding and overall aesthetic of the packaging were quite striking as well. So far so good… that is, until I couldn’t get the device to connect.
The welcome guide immediately invites you to download the app and connect the device. However, I had some problems initially connecting to my phone, and it took me a few minutes to figure out why the device wasn’t working. There was no mention of needing to charge the Lumen in the welcome guide. Instead, I found this information in the fine print of the user manual, which took some time to discover.
The user manual recommended charging the device for a few hours before using it. Make sure the light on the Lumen goes from red to green to purple. Once it turned purple, the device connected instantly.
Using Lumen for the First Time
Lumen provides quite a bit of information on the app. The first thing you will notice is the measurement scale. The scale goes from one to five, with one being the best fat burning rate, and five being the highest carb burning rate. The app also prompts the user for their metabolic goals, whether general interest in understanding your metabolism or wanting to use the product for weight loss.
Once you start measuring your breath, the app will devise a custom nutrition plan for your day. The plan will use “macros” instead of calories or carbs to calculate how much to eat throughout the day. You can learn more about this specific metric and even find meal plans available in the “tools” tab.
With my device connected to the app, I could start testing my metabolism. This was the exciting part! I’ve always been a generally healthy person. I work out often and do my best to maintain a wholesome diet, so I was genuinely intrigued how I would measure on the metabolic scale.
I measured my metabolism first thing in the morning as the app suggests. According to the scale, my first recording was great. I scored a two, which indicates that after waking up, my body was in the 60-80 percentile of burning fat. As the day continued, I kept measuring and oddly kept scoring a two. Cool, but strange, I thought. I was eating my typical diet, and thought the score would increase. For some reason, it didn’t. “I must have a flexible metabolism,” I thought.
The next day, I measured again at two. At this point, I thought perhaps the product was flawed, providing me false data, since I didn’t see any movement with my score. But by day three, I started seeing changes. My metabolism score had hit a three, then the following day a five. Uh-oh … what was I eating for the Lumen to register a five? Luckily the following day was back down to two. Phew! …or so I thought.
The numbers just kept going up from that point forward. Every day since has been a four or a five, and my metabolic flexibility score has gotten worse and worse since using this device. The first week my Lumen score calculated a 12.8. Week two scored a 11.2, and week three was a 10.8.
I started out so excited, but with each passing day, have gotten more and more frustrated at my body’s inability to be flexible. What was I doing wrong? What could I do to become more flexible? I turned to the Lumen “tools” to find out.
The Pros and Cons of the Lumen
Unfortunately, the app doesn’t provide any information on how to get your body back into a fat burning state – whether through specific menus or exercise. It provides a ton of detail on the different states of the body, but it doesn’t direct you on how to make those key shifts. Sure, it gives you a minor nutrition plan (things to keep in mind and portions to allocate), but even that didn’t help bring my metabolism back into the fat burning state.
So with no information on HOW to make my desired change, what the Lumen score even means or how to get it to increase, I started to experiment on my own. I thought, “ok, why don’t I just fast for longer periods of time?” I tried not eating all day, and then measured after a 20-hour fast. But to no avail, I kept receiving fours and fives on the scale. This was starting to really bother me. I tried eating only vegetables, and unbelievably, STILL, I was measuring high. I tried doing extra intense workouts, but the best I could get was a three. Some change, albeit, but nothing significant.
In the world of health and fitness, the new adage is “don’t step on the scale, just judge yourself based on how you feel and look in the mirror.” Well, I’m starting to think this can be applied to the Lumen too. Alright, alright, I can hear the CEO saying now, “WAIT, your body takes 2-5 days to shift from carb to fat burning.” Then why am I killing myself and seeing no results?
To Buy or Not to Buy the Lumen?
While I think it’s wonderful that the company is based on the ability to “hack your metabolism.” On the contrary, I haven’t been able to do that with this product. I’m instead frustrated at myself for constantly being in a carb burning state, and trying radical remedies to counter my inflexibility.
Each passing week, my “Lumen Score” has been going down, and my insecurities about myself have been going up. I’ve been searching for ways to increase my metabolism, and unfortunately, the info is not coming from Lumen…at least, not at this time.
I would recommend a few things to make this a better user experience:
- Add ways for the user to catalyze a fat burn when they are in high carb states. Provide diet tips, exercise routines, or natural ways to increase metabolic flexibility.
- Provide the user some type of understanding about the Lumen score. What does it mean and how can I improve it?
- Offer an offline mode. I found myself without service a few times and wasn’t able to calculate my score.
Frustrations aside, I do think this product is helpful in understanding your metabolic rate. Perhaps, it requires patience and experimentation to figure out what works best for you. But one thing is for sure, this is a new product and you can’t expect perfection right away. The food menu inspiration and user-friendly interface of the app is clean, insightful, and has the bones of a truly iconic and revolutionary product.
In the meantime, I plan to continue using my Lumen until I’m consistently back to where I started – the twos. Now, that’s perseverance!
The Lumen tracker retails as a subscription service, starting at $249 for a 6-month plan, and goes as high as $349 for the 18-month plan. Check out their website to learn more.