Shilpa Joshi, RD July / 11 / 2019
This dietary approach can be used for individuals, who are healthy, or for the ones who wants to maintain their health and those who are susceptible to disease or have a health issue. In short, personalised nutrition takes into account the genotypic and phenotypic variations to give you a nutrition-based solution.
In the EU-funded Food4Me project with 1,200 subjects in 7 European countries personalised nutrition advice was provided at three levels.Person’s Diet only Diet combined with phenotype i.e. measurable traits like physical and biochemical tests like height, weight or cholesterol level etc. Diet combined with both phenotype and genotype e.g. a gene variant associated with weight gain Each group received dietary advice based on their feedback and test results and there was a control group which did not receive any personalised advice. It was found at the end of the period group receiving personalised advice performed better than the control. Usually for such precision nutrition program, there is a lot of information needed of the individual, which includes conducting blood test or test on genetics which could include buccal mucosal swabs etc. These testing are very specific which are done in specific labs only. The reports that are generated from these test requires specific understanding by the health care professional, who will guide the patient / client/ individual to formulate a specific meal plan. Now, this meal plan developed will be extremely specific to this person only. The advantage of this program is if there are deficiencies, then the amount of the type of nutrient required (macro or micro) is tailor made so that both excess and deficiency can be eliminated. Personalised nutrition is in its infancy right now, not only in India but globally. Although it has been known that genes and nutrition is interlinked, personalised nutrition commercialisation has not been very successful especially at the level of analysis of genes. Not only is this expensive but people are reluctant to provide their genetic data for privacy reasons. Thus, most commercial offerings available for personalised nutrition today are based on dietary intake and a combination of dietary and phenotypic data. It requires more research in terms of how it can be dissipated to individuals without being exclusive. Other problem is most of the test required for this are very expensive, which makes it difficult for a common man to use it. Consumer should be made aware of the risks and benefits of personalised nutrition and how to properly take advantage of this new opening in the nutritional science. It’s a futuristic approach to nutrition and once it starts gaining interest by the masses truly food will become medicine!