News

Personalized nutrition can be used to overall improve population health

Rob Winwood

April 10, 2015

A European-wide study by Food4Me project just released as a white paper provides evidence that personalized nutrition advice is more effective to improve dietary behavior compared to conventional over-simplified, population-based advice. 

The Food4Me study is led by Prof Mike Gidney and Dr Marianne Walsh of University College Dublin, Ireland. The results of study are compiled and communicated by the European Food Information Council (EUFIC). Participants in the study that received personalized nutrition advice ate significantly healthier diets, increased their B vitamin folate intake and consumed significantly less energy, red meat, salt, and saturated fat than those randomized to the control group; regardless of whether personalization was based on their diet alone, their phenotype or their genotype.

1,500 participants in seven European countries took part in this internet-based study over six months. There were four groups: a control group, a group based on current best dietary advice, a group that in addition took account of medical conditions and a final group that in addition took account of individual genetics make up.

However, the public remains skeptical, so any service provider would need to provide credible clinical/scientific expertise and ensure that any IT system used for storing personal data is very secure and maintains user anonymity and privacy.

The paper provides an estimate that personalized nutrition advice could cost between 40 to 400 euros per person. In this case, a take up of just 10% of the European population would have a potential market value of 6 to 18 billion euros.

References

  1. Food4Me, April 7th 2015, «Personalised Nutrition: paving a way to better population health» (www.food4me.org)