Personalized nutrition focuses on the individual with customized diets based on individual factors like microbiome and metabolism.
According to Harvard School of Public Health, personalized nutrition, also referred to as precision nutrition, focuses on the individual rather than groups of people. This means customizing diets based on individual factors like microbiome, metabolism, genetics, physical activity, and more.
It’s been on the radar for several years but has recently been garnering generalized interest.
According to Wired:
“When the term ‘personalized nutrition’ first appeared in the scientific literature, in 1999, the focus was on using computers to help educate people about their dietary needs. It wasn’t until 2004 that scientists began to think about the way genes affect how and what we eat, and how our bodies respond. Take coffee, for instance: Some people metabolize caffeine and the other nutrients in coffee in a productive, healthy way. Others don’t. Which camp you fall into depends on a host of factors including your genetics, age, environment, gender, and lifestyle.”
Researchers have been studying connections between gut microbiome health and conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and depression. The gut microbiome consists of more than 1000 species of bacteria and microbes. It produces hormones, digests food that the stomach can’t, and sends thousands of diet-derived chemicals through our bodies every day. The microbiome is “the basis of the growth in personalized nutrition.”
The Harvard website explains that studies focusing on individual responses to food have found “substantial variations in blood responses of glucose and triglycerides even if individuals are eating identical meals. The person’s microbiome was found to cause variations in blood triglycerides after a meal. Non-food factors like sleep, physical activity, and time of meals also played a role in causing variations in blood levels of glucose and triglycerides after meals.”
This suggests that individuals may see benefits from following personalized nutrition guidance beyond general health recommendations. “Precision nutrition evaluates one’s DNA, microbiome, and metabolic response to specific foods or dietary patterns to determine the most effective eating plan to prevent or treat disease.”
Consumers are reportedly seeking out personalized eating approaches tailored to their unique needs driven in part by awareness of the microbiome’s connection to mental wellbeing and immune function.
Common examples of personalized nutrition include the allergen-free diet or those designed to remove triggers like the gluten free or low FODMAP diets. People have more recently become interested in expanding applications of these personalized designs.
Challenges reportedly include data and methodological issues. Collecting and analyzing data, for example, is a complex task, though one that people are working on every day in pretty much every industry; while growth areas include tech-enabled, hyper-specific recommendations and solutions for a range of specific needs and consumer segments and personalized diagnostic services.
Hospitality companies may one day soon find themselves offering highly personalized food and beverage options to every guest.
See more 2023 wellness trends: 8 WELLNESS TRENDS FOR 2023: A HOSPITALITY HANDBOOK
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