Lumen Metabolism Review: The Ultimate 21st Century Diet Plan?
These days there are countless diet strategies out there. Between keto, paleo, low carb, intermittent fasting, meal planning and dozens of others – there’s no shortage of different ways to try and lose weight.
I’ve never really adhered to a specific diet, but I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of intermittent fasting.
The idea is you only eat during a specific window during the days to get your body to more effectively burn fat rather than carbs.
For instance, all your food intake might be between 11am and 7pm. And you fast the other 16 hours of the day.
When you’re in a fasted state after sleeping, your body and metabolism in a perfect world will shift to burning fat rather than carbs.
So by delaying your food intake, it theoretically helps you make it easy to burn fat and lose weight.
But any time I’ve started dabbling in intermittent fasting, which for me is just code for “skipping breakfast,” I’d always find myself wondering: am I actually in fat-burning mode? Does this really work? How do I know what type of fuel my body is actually burning?
Until recently it was very difficult if not impossible for the average person to know the answer to this.
But recently I came across a new biohacking device called Lumen Metabolism that says it will tell you what fuel your body is burning.
This allows you to “hack your metabolism” to lose weight, have more energy, and actually reach your health and fitness goals.
But the real question is: does it work?
That’s the answer I set out to find in this review. Read on to find out.
First Impressions of Lumen Metabolism
You’ve gotta give props to the Lumen team, the device is very well-designed.
No, I mean, really well designed.
The experience starts with the box and packaging. In nearly every product review I do, I talk about the “Presentation.” How do the packaging and design enhance or detract away from the product itself?
Well with a device like Lumen, which is not only a new company, but a completely new type of product to most people – the presentation is incredibly important.
If you spend $300 on a device from a company you’ve never heard of, and end up with cheap packaging that’s not well-thought-out – that experience will put you in a negative mindset. Now you’re expecting the rest of the product to be lackluster as well.
But the opposite can also be the case. If something looks high-end, is packaged in a high-end way, and has little bonus features that you aren’t expecting?
Then you’re preparing yourself for the rest of the experience to be positive as well.
Fortunately, Lumen falls into the latter camp.
In fact, it may be the best example of this concept I’ve ever seen.
I wasn’t very familiar with Lumen before receiving my device. I was admittedly skeptical of the quality of the product and if it would actually work.
But it took mere seconds after opening the box, to make me think “oh, maybe this is the real deal after all.”
Quite simply, Lumen Metabolism is a beautiful device.
There’s a color-changing LED ring on the front that illustrates various modes, and the black silhouette down to small details like a metal cap – all feel a step or two above what I’d expected.
In the box, you’ll find the Lumen device, a carrying case, a charging doc, and a USB-C cord that plugs into the dock.
It’s a very nice package, but for as good as the physical design is, it doesn’t mean much if that app design and usability falter. So does it?
Setting up the Lumen Device
Setting up the Lumen is super easy and intuitive.
It connects via Bluetooth and walks you through the process for getting going which is very fast.
Despite being easy to setup, there is a little bit of a learning curve here.
This is to no fault of the Lumen itself, but rather the fact it’s essentially a completely new type of product.
The chances are you’ve never used a smart device that tracks your metabolism before.
There’s also a good chance you don’t know much about the science that goes into it.
So Lumen needs to not just educate you on the science of switching from burning carbs to burning fat, but it also needs to educate you on the ins and outs of the device itself.
Things like when to track, how many times per day to track, what you need to do to get different results etc.
I’ve found Lumen to do an excellent job of educating me, and not making myself (quite) as overwhelmed in the process.
But it is a lot to take in and takes a few days of using it to get comfortable with how to use it properly.
My First Readings with the Lumen
Now I’m a reasonably in-shape 36-year-old, who is fairly active. So I expected my initial readings with the Lumen to be halfway decent.
Using the device is pretty simple.
You fire up the app and turn on the Lumen and tell it you’re ready to take a reading.
The app walks you through exactly what you need to do each time.
You’ll start by deeply inhaling through the Lumen for about 10 seconds. There’s a meter on the app that will show you how hard you’re sucking, and you’ll need to keep it within a certain range.
When it tells you you’re done, you’ll hold your breath for 10 seconds, and then proceed to exhale through the Lumen – again keeping your exhale volume to within a certain range.
Then you’ll do it all one more time.
The whole thing takes around 2 minutes to do and once you get the hang of it, it’s very easy to use.
When you’re done, Lumen will give you a score of 1-5.
1 means your body is in full-on fat-burning mode and 5 being you’re basically only burning carbs.
The goal is to promote “metabolic flexibility.”
So you’re not aiming for 1 and 2s every single time you meter, but at specific times throughout the day, like first thing when you wake up in the morning, that’s where you want to be.
In my head, every time I’d fasted for 12-14 hours overnight, I was burning fat when I woke up.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
I’ve pretty consistently had 4s every morning after waking up, and even some 5s in the afternoon after eating. I had one 3 after a couple days of being moderately conscious of my food intake.
I clearly have a lot of work to do.
But we’ll get back to me in a minute, let’s talk about the app itself and what else it can do.
Lumen App and Pricing
Before we get too much further into this review, I wanted to touch on something that was a little bit confusing to me at first, and that’s how you pay for Lumen.
When I first became familiar with Lumen, I assumed it was just a piece of tech that you would buy and incorporate into your own diet and fitness plans.
And I believe that is how they started out. But things have changed.
Now the way it’s being positioned is that Lumen itself is your diet and health plan.
Right now for a 12-month membership, Lumen is $299. And with that you get the Lumen device for “free.”
After using the app regularly and getting familiar with it, it’s clear that Lumen is designed to be used as a diet plan – with the added benefit of the Lumen device setting itself apart from pretty much any other diet I’ve seen.
It’s a similar model to what Whoop has done for fitness. You pay for monthly or annual access to the service, and get the device for free.
I see benefits to both models, but if you’re just wanting the Lumen to apply to your own diet or health plans, it can make the service feel more expensive than maybe it should be.
But if you’re ready to go all-in on Lumen and their meal plans and recommendations, then it feels much more reasonable.
How Well Does the Lumen App Work?
To get the most out of Lumen, you’re going to want to get really familiar with the app.
If you’re actually looking to make a change, you’re going to want to do more than just blow into the Lumen a couple times a day.
It does a good job of onboarding you, introducing all of the features, and preparing you for what to expect in the coming weeks as you begin your Lumen journey.
Inside the app, you’ll find a lot of helpful resources geared towards helping you make the necessary lifestyle changes to see results:
- Food tracking
- Weight log
- Workout log
Let’s take a quick look at some of these.
Your diet is honestly going to be the single biggest determining factor to how successful you are in boosting your metabolic flexibility, and the recently released food tracking tool is the crux of the Lumen service.
For the past couple of months I’ve actually been using the Noom app for food tracking, so that has served as a good reference point for how to go about it.
I’ve found Noom to be about as easy as possible for accurately tracking foods throughout the day. When I last tried My Fitness Pal, I found it to be overly complicated, and because of it, I never formed the habit. But while it’s easy to track, the data it gives you about the food is pretty limited.
With Lumen, food tracking generally works well. But because of it’s focus on “macros” there’s an extra layer of complexity when compared to something like Noom. The extra data is nice, but calculating it can be a bit of a pain at times.
Each day Lumen will suggest a daily carb number, as well as tell you what your macros (grams of net carbs, fat, protein) should be for the day based on your morning measurement.
As I got more involved in Lumen it became clear just how important diet and food tracking is if you really want to achieve the goal of better metabolic flexibility.
The issue I have is you’ll get pretty variable results if you’re searching for existing food items to make your life easier:
For instance, if I search for “avocado toast.”
I get options showing me that avocado toast has a carb score of either 1, 2, or 7. And with serving and portion sizes there not being clear, it can be a little bit difficult to track at first.
That said you are able to scan barcodes on packaged food, and when you can do this, it makes it much easier to track. You can easily select your serving size and it automatically adds all of your macro data in there.
I do wish it showed you calories, however. Because traditional calories aren’t really part of what Lumen is considering during your diet, it’s not included. But if you’re going through all the work of tracking this, it’s something that would be nice to see.
It feels like Lumen is still in the early stages of refining this portion of the service, and I’d expect to see continual improvements as they dial everything in and refine what they’re offering.
There are quite a few resources within the app for learning how to use it, the science behind the dieting, and so on – but I still found myself overwhelmed at times trying to understand the why behind it all.
It’s nice that for each daily meal plan Lumen recommends, it provides recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Lumen gives you a number for the day. The higher it is, the more carbs you can have. Everything you eat is also given a number like this as well.
So for instance, today I have a low carb day with a number of 4:
It’s nice because all of the recipes (and any other food you enter) is given a number as well. So I can search for say a breakfast that’s a 1, a lunch that’s a 1, and a dinner that is a 2.
I still don’t know exactly what this number is. But I think it’s just a Weight Watchers-like point score for daily carb intake. The higher the number, the more carbs you can have that day.
One tough thing about building your daily diet around your morning Lumen score is the fact that it makes it difficult to plan. Let’s say you expect to blow a 4 (which will usually translate to having a lower-carb diet for the day), but instead, you blow a 2.
Lumen will change your diet based on that, so if you’ve meal-prepped for say a 135g carb day, and it tells you now you need only 60g, it can throw your meals off.
That said, if you’re anything like me you’ll have a lot of low-carb days ahead of you, so plan accordingly when at the grocery store.
After a week or so of using Lumen metabolism, you begin to see how your metabolism shifts throughout the day and around different activities. For instance, if you have a giant meal of french bread and potatoes, you can expect to see a 5 as your body works off the massive carb intake you just gave it.
Whereas if you follow the plan, the hope is that you’ll start seeing a lot more 1s and 2s in the morning after sleeping and fasting.
Working out is one of those things that can have a big effect on your readings and your metabolism as well.
When you have an intense workout, your body naturally is going to use more of whatever energy is available to it – often in the form of carbs. So if you workout hard, you can expect to be blowing higher numbers during the day as your body adapts to the stress of the exercise.
But this will vary depending on your level of physical fitness and diet.
The fitness tracking is relatively basic here. Don’t expect full-on Whoop details, or even Apple Watch-like data. But it’s more there to see what impact a workout has on your metabolism, rather than being a fitness tracker in and of itself.
That said, it does integrate with Apple Health, so it will automatically import any data your phone has there, which is great.
Lumen Flex Score
One of the primary ways you’re able to track your metabolic flexibility over time is through your Lumen Flex Score.
After two weeks of regular use, Lumen will give a score in the range of 0-21 showing how metabolically flexible you are.
The higher the score, the more flexible you are.
This takes into account your body’s ability to burn fat, burn carbs, and how flexible you are in the mornings as it relates to your lifestyle.
You’ll get your first number after two weeks of readings, and then it will update once a week from then on out.
Lumen Metabolism Support
As I mentioned above, the whole concept of Lumen for the average person is a very new thing. So it takes some getting used to. It takes adjusting your schedule. It takes habit building.
You truly need to get to the point where you make Lumen a part of your day-to-day life, and are remembering to blow multiple times a day.
Because this is likely a new thing to you, having as much support as possible is crucial to sticking with it and seeing success.
Fortunately, Lumen has this nailed in three ways.
The obvious one is their support documents within the app, which help you to understand the basic functions and science of what Lumen is doing.
The second one, however, is their live support.
You literally tap a button, type out your question and most of the time within just a few minutes you get an answer. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that level of ease or customer support in a device or app like this before.
Knowing you have a place you can turn to in order to get clarity on things as you get going is huge.
Finally, the last element of support is their Facebook Group.
The group is very active and full of real people asking questions and sharing their experiences. I was very impressed by this community, and I’d recommend anyone who buys Lumen to get involved with it. Having the support in the app is great, but being able to interact with real people who are doing the same thing as you? It really rounds out the experience and makes it that much more likely you’ll stick with it.
So, Does the Lumen Work?
I’ll be honest, I first received my Lumen 4 months ago. But in the chaos of holidays, the pandemic, and an infant, it’s only been over the last week I’ve really made it part of my day-to-day life.
So I don’t know if following the Lumen process will work for me or not. But as I’ve spent the last week using it for this review, I’m more motivated than ever to keep using it and find out.
There’s really on way to know if the readings it’s giving me are accurate or not, but I have no reason to think that they aren’t.
Also in the Facebook group I mentioned before, you’ll find a number of people talking about how Lumen metabolism has legit changed their life and led to them losing significant amounts of weight.
So based on my experience so far, my inclination is to say, yes it absolutely does work.
If, you put in the work.
This is certainly not the most hands-off health routine out there. Between using Lumen 4-6 times a day, tracking your macros, and making sure you’re being active – it’s a lot.
But at the same time it gives you a level of real data that no other diet plan I’ve seen can do – and I think that’s what gives Lumen the potential to be such a game-changing device.
I’ll be updating this review as I continue to use it in my day to day life, but so far so good.
Final Thoughts on Lumen Metabolism
Overall, everything about Lumen exceeded my expectations.
From the quality of the product, to the depth of the app – it’s all very well done.
Sure I think there may be ways to make the food tracking a little bit easier or a few organizational tweaks I might make in the app – but those are all minor quibbles for a product that is well-executed and does exactly what it says it will do.
I’ve found the Apple Watch functionality to be good, and the reminders to take readings throughout the day have actually been useful, rather than annoying, as I work to build the habit of using Lumen throughout the day.
That said, it’s niche. For a lot of people wanting to get their health in order, it’s easier to just grab a Whoop strap or start Noom, than to take a chance on a relatively expensive, and lesser-known device and nutrition plan like Lumen.
But the reality is I think this is the product a lot of people have been waiting for. Pretty much anyone on a low-carb diet can benefit from this product, as it will tell you if your diet is actually working.
But the people who will succeed most are the ones who commit to the Lumen ecosystem, are willing to devote the time to tracking their macros, and build the habit of measuring using the device multiple times a day.
I think this is a fantastic product for both golfers and non-golfers alike to improve their health, and I expect as Lumen continues to grow and get more traction – you’ll be hearing much more about it.
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- Wonderful design
- Legitimately, ground breaking technology
- Works seamlessly with app
- Food logging can be a bit cumbersome
- Not as simple as other diet plans