As people are becoming more health-conscious, consumers are looking to make more informed dietary choices that account for the individual needs of their bodies. Personalized nutrition is an approach that aims to meet those needs. While there is no exact definition of personalized nutrition, it involves using the information on individual characters to develop tailored nutritional advice, products or services (Ordovas et al., 2018). By examining the complex interaction between nutrients and genes, personalized nutrition aims to create targeted diets that complement a person’s unique genetic profile (EUFIC, 2022).
As a professional nutritionist, you will be responsible for guiding clients to make dietary choices that are right for them. Understanding the different approaches and their benefits is essential to helping clients make choices that are right for them. Read on for a closer look at personalized nutrition and its benefits to an individual’s health and wellness.
What is Personalized Nutrition Based on?
Personalized nutrition distinguishes itself from other dietary trends by taking a science-led approach that accounts for the biological characteristics of the individual (Ordovas et al., 2018).
A person’s unique characteristics include things like DNA, race, sex, health history and lifestyle habits (Harvard School of Public Health, 2022).
By assuming that each person has a different response to specific foods and nutrients, personalized nutrition refrains from adopting a one-size-fits-all notion of diet. It shows that the best choices for one individual may not be suitable for another. As a professional with a nutrition diploma, this approach can help you offer more targeted advice to clients based on their health history and current lifestyle. Personalized nutrition can be as easy as working with a client to implement basic changes or as complex as using a person’s genetic code to determine the foods and habits that could benefit them individually (Gillespie, 2021).
The Challenges of Personalized Nutrition
Personalized nutrition aims to improve the health of the individual, but also works on a larger scale to limit society-wide health problems and diseases, such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and malnutrition (EUFIC, 2022). The goal is to find more effective ways to prevent disease through more accurate and targeted strategies (Harvard School of Public Health, 2022).
However, on this scale, the challenge of personalized nutrition centers around effective data collection methods. There is a lack of expensive technologies needed to collect and study an individual’s DNA, gut microbiome and response to food intake (Harvard School of Public Health, 2022). This kind of dietary approach requires consistent and reliable evidence in order to be recommended as a conventional intervention for diseases (Harvard School of Public Health, 2022).
The Future for Those With a Nutrition Diploma
As a graduate of nutritionist school, you will be responsible for educating and motivating clients to make nutritional changes that will benefit their health.
Studies suggest that an effective way to encourage long-term change is to present individuals with a personalized nutrition assessment addressing their unique needs (Grylls, 2021). Simply telling a client to eat healthier is less likely to work than offering them an analysis of the current state of their body and showing them the data to support it. The approach of personalized nutrition is also a good way to provide ongoing feedback to clients and encourage them to stick with their plans (Grylls, 2021).
The best nutritionists aim to individualize their recommendations to the client they are advising with the information they can gather on dietary preferences, medical history, symptoms, bloodwork and lifestyle (Gillespie, 2021). As genetic tests and wearables become more accessible, persoanlized nutrition is set to become a popular option for consumers looking to make more informed dietary choices.
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EUFIC (2022). Personalised Nutrition. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.eufic.org/en/food-safety/category/personalised-nutrition
Gillespie, C. (2021). Personalized Nutrition Advice Is on the Rise, But Does It Work? Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-personalized-nutrition-advice-and-does-it-work-5094255
Grylls, B. (2021). Everything you need to know about personalised nutrition. New Food Magazine. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/article/158353/personalised-nutrition/
Harvard School of Public Health (2022). Precision nutrition. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/precision-nutrition/
Ordovas, J., Ferguson, L., Shyong Tai, E., & Mathers, J. (2018). Personalised nutrition and health. BMJ. Retrieved May 12, 2022, from https://www.bmj.com/content/361/bmj.k2173