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Portable laser can tell if you're eating your fruits and vegetables

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Researchers are developing a laser that can tell your fruit and vegetable intake by measuring biomarkers in the palm of your hand.

Yale veggie laser
Yale veggie laser

For those of us that often forget — sometimes conveniently — how many fruits and vegetables we eat each day, a new kind of laser could help reveal that information with a minimum of fuss. Developed by researchers at Yale University and the University of Utah, the solid-state laser fires a blue beam at a patient's hand, which measures carotenoids in the skin, a biomarker that indicates a high-vegetable and fruit diet. Traditionally this has been measured by taking blood, but the new process is non-invasive and a whole lot quicker — it takes about a minute for the laser to measure the carotenoids and then process the results.

It's potentially an ideal way to objectively measure fruit and vegetable intake, but there are a few kinks to be worked out. Scientists don't currently know the half-life of carotenoids in your skin, for instance, so it's unclear just how long a period of time the laser's measurements reflect. But once problems like that are resolved, who knows — the next Nike+ FuelBand might know what you had for dinner.