Experts Column

Personalized Food Is Future

Move beyond conventional diet regimes. Because it’s time to personalize nutrition for a healthy YOU!

With increasing awareness about health and wellness, more and more people are transforming their lifestyle choices. During the quarantine period, many people made efficient use of their leisure time by working towards their well-being. Since the diet is a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle, many people start by making changes in their eating patterns. With a plethora of information available on the internet, it is difficult to determine what is actually good for your body and what’s not.

Eating right is not confusing as some people might assume. Sometimes, if a particular diet works for an individual, it is not necessary that it would suit the other individual too. People need to understand that everyone has a different body shape, type, weight, genes, etc. so, there is no 'one-size-fits-all approach' when it comes to diet. So, variability in results with a single diet is bound to happen among different individuals.

Since the requirement of every body type is different, the customizing dietary solution seems like the modern approach towards maintaining a sound body and mind. Many research studies have found that people find overwhelming results with personalized nutrition advice and tend to develop healthier eating habits.

What is a personalized nutrition approach?

Personalized nutrition approach is based on the idea of “individualizing” advice and support to encourage the required dietary changes for a healthy lifestyle instead of generic advice, which could be irrelevant for an individual. Personalized nutrition infers unique nutrition guidelines for each individual, which are based on a combination of factors such as genetics, environmental factors, lifestyle, personal behaviors, preferences, or objectives.

The principle of personalized nutrition is not to idealize certain food products, nor change existing nutritional guidelines, but rather assist an individual in attaining a lasting eating pattern, which can be beneficial for their overall health over the long term. Personalized nutrition does mean not subscribing to just one food philosophy such as a low-carb or high-protein or animal product-free diet. Instead, it focuses on subscribing to a food philosophy, that you create for yourself based on your individual needs.

Actors That Drive Personalized Nutrition DNA Profiling

Genetics and nutrients interact at the molecular level to dictate the outcome in an individual. This phenomenon is known as nutritional genomics or nutrigenomics. Different individuals metabolize the same amount of nutrients differently based on their genetic composition. For instance, some people eat a lot of carbohydrates but still stay lean while other individuals might start to gain weight. It happens due to the difference in the metabolism rate, which is defined by genetic makeup. However, a long intake of nutrients such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate can cause epigenetic changes, which could influence the well-being of an individual.

“Personalized nutrition approach is based on the idea of “individualizing” advice and support to encourage the required dietary changes for a healthy lifestyle instead of generic advice”

Gut Microbiome

Our immune system hosts about 100 trillion microbes, which mostly include bacteria, but also viruses, fungi, protozoa, all of which form the gut microbiome. The microbiome plays an essential role in digestion and metabolism, which directly affects our overall health. Every individual is born with a unique microbiome. Some of the gut microbes also produce essential nutrients and vitamins that humans cannot synthesize and thus determines what nutrients one gets from the food they eat.

Benefits Of Personalized Nutrition

Although the personalized nutrition approach is relatively new for many individuals, most people have found amazing results following it. Here are some of the benefits of personalized nutrition.

• A personalized nutrition approach would help an individual to be aware of the health risks associated with chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, etc.

• Instead of following a fad diet or conventional diet regimes, people would be able to choose the right foods according to their preferences, which can help them to adopt personalized nutrition as a part of their lifestyle.

• A customized diet solution would educate an individual about making healthy eating choices, that can reduce the risk of potential health conditions.

• If adopted by society at large, personalized nutrition choices would help to boost the economy of the nation as fewer people would likely to fall ill, which could save up a lot of medical costs.

Role of technology in personalized nutrition

In the digital transformation era, people have become increasingly reliant upon the new technology and tools to optimize their health and dietary goals. Numerous apps, programs, and platforms enable individualization of guidance based on the profiling of an individual, genotype, lifestyle behavior, demographics, and/or preferences.

In recent years, the scientific evidence for personalized nutrition has been growing and technology has provided value beyond conventional approaches. The individual nutritional assessment through digital tools has shown significant improvement in clinical outcomes. Considering the high demand for personalized nutrition, it is not surprising that many commercial customizable nutritional programs have arisen.

From the diagnostic phase to generating dietary advice, technologies are essential for personalized nutrition. The advanced tools that help to assess the metabolic profile of an individual provide real-time data, which provides scope for self-realization as most people want to be more independent and in control of their personalized nutrition goals.

Personalized nutrition approach is the future

In the near future, the move towards personalized nutrition in our society will change the perception of food and its role in determining our wellness. Every individual will accept his/her own responsibility for health and create a positive attitude towards diet. People will be able to manage their potential health risks by attaining a higher level of understanding and self-awareness.

However, implementing personalized nutrition would involve significant societal changes. Due to growing awareness towards health and wellness arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic situation, the timing is right for these changes as the society urgently needs to tackle the nutritional problems.

The personalized nutrition approach serves as a solution to end the frustration among wellness seekers who desire to achieve optimal health. It is only a matter of time before we start to embrace personalized nutrition in our routine as the science behind personalized wellness would continue to evolve.