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Individuals can have specific needs or preferences that may influence diet recommendations.

To eat or not to eat: personalised nutrition

It is important to acknowledge the wide range of highly individualised dietary and nutrition needs.

Nutrition science is challenging. Dietary recommendations and prescriptions need to consider many factors, from food availability to the latest research.

Dietary recommendations must also be tailored to each individual to address their specific preferences, health needs and socio-economic environment.

So how can we manage all these considerations?

Personalised nutrition

One approach that is gaining support is personalised nutrition. This is based on a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s biological and psychological requirements and is tailored to their current needs and goals. Importantly, it also assesses different responses an individual may have to the prescribed recommendations.

Nutrition and dietetics professionals, such as Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitians, are qualified to provide tailored, comprehensive and evidence-based nutritional recommendations and treatment for a broad range of health states.

Evidence shows that dietary interventions developed and implemented by dietetic professionals (eg the SMILES trial and other studies we will discuss in Week 3) are associated with improvements in mental health.

Personalised nutrition could also include the following:

  • Biomarkers, eg assessments of blood glucose levels before and after food consumption.
  • Genetic assessments, eg genetic susceptibility to diseases.
  • Gut microbiota assessments to explore composition and function.

Personalised nutrition that involves human or microbial genome-related evidence is still in its developing stages. However, current research suggests that several branches of personalised nutrition based on various genetic studies of human and microbial genome such as nutrigenetics, epigenomics or metabolomics may provide some valuable additions for tailored nutritional advice.

Your task

What do you think about personalised nutrition? What do you think are the key advantages of the chosen approach? Are there any disadvantages associated with personalised nutrition?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Food and Mood : Improving Mental Health Through Diet and Nutrition

Deakin University