Personalised Nutrition and Health

Ordovas et al. (2018) (Tufts University, Boston, MA, USA) have suggested that more research on personalised nutrition is needed to deliver advice based on robust scientific evidence. They advised that studies should be designed in line with clinical research (i.e. randomised controlled trials, RCT) and include a range of “omics” techniques (e.g. metabolomics, microbiomics, etc.), and more guidelines on the use of genotype-based nutritional advice should be developed.

Currently, very little evidence has been published on gene-diet interactions from RCTs; most of the current personalised nutrition advice comes from observational studies using existing risk factors (e.g. cholesterol and cardiovascular disease risk). One exception is the Food4me study, which investigated the impact of personalised dietary advice amongst 1600 individuals and showed personalised information was more effective than generic advice at changing dietary and lifestyle behaviours for the better.

The term “personalised nutrition” can be defined as “an approach that uses information about individual characteristics to develop targeted nutritional advice, products or services”. The goal of personalised nutrition is to generate healthy eating advice using genetic, phenotypic, nutritional and clinical data, in combination with individuals’ goals, to promote healthy eating. The idea behind this concept is that a more personalised nutrition advice has a stronger effect on an individual’s health than more generic public health approaches. This new paradigm for dietary advice has arisen from:

  1. A better understanding of how nutrition affects the health of populations and individuals
  2. Increased availability and uptake of fitness trackers, mobile apps and other devices that allow tracking and or continuous measurement of some biomarkers (e.g. activity).
  3. New analytic tools that translate data into easy-to-understand recommendations.

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