Many of us search for the magic bullet that will make us healthy, help us absorb vitamin supplements more effectively or, even better, enable us to lose weight.
What if you could learn things about your own body that could affect your health and give you true actionable steps in order to achieve a healthier body?
What if this was possible using the latest tech tools to help you choose foods that were perfect for you and your health?
Would you want that and make changes based on the data these tech tools could provide?
How likely are you to make behavioral and lifestyle changes if given strong indications it would improve your health?
Enter personalized nutrition.
Personalized Nutrition is an emerging field in nutrition and in its infancy at the moment, with great potential to impact our health, according to researchers and companies looking to sell genetic testing services.
Using your genetic, lifestyle, and other personal data, which can now be generated using technology, scientists can provide you with a plan and especially action steps.
Big data is being used in medical research, including nutrition, that may benefit our wellness.
The hope is that this big data will not only improve our well-being, but help prevent, or at least reduce, disease.
Technology in Health
The innovations and advances in technology, including digital health monitoring, is helping move the science of wellness away from a population-based approach to one that is individualized and customized using each individual’s personal data.
One researcher, Dr. Leroy Hood, the chief science officer at Provident St. Joseph Health and co-founder of the Institute for Systems Biology, calls this personalized nutrition plan P4 health. His system focuses on predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory health.
Using digital health gadgets and wearables, blood tests, stool tests, genomics, dietary intervention, and wellness coaching, the P4 health system is being piloted with individuals in the Pioneer 100 study.
Proactive Health Management
Dr. Hood feels that your genome doesn’t control your destiny, but it seems, helps you control your health potential. Knowledge about your body allows you to make decisions and change your future health with nutritional interventions.
Reducing your intake of sushi due to higher than normal mercury levels in the blood and tissues, adjusting the dosage of vitamins based on how your body absorbs supplements, or reducing joint pain when levels of iron in the blood are reduced are examples of actionable steps one can take when personalized nutrition plans are implemented based on your genomes and personal health data.
Many feel that this approach to health management keeps us healthy proactively instead of trying to fix us when we become ill.
Personalized nutrition helps us regulate ourselves maintaining balance without reliance on pills and acts to prevent disease and dysregulation before medical management is crucial.
Genetic Nutrition Testing
Just as you trace your ancestry or your medical risk through sputum tests by genetic testing companies, you can also investigate your nutrition genomics.
There are blood and sputum tests currently being used to test our genetics so that a customized diet can be formulated. But can your gut microbiome really tell you how to eat right?
At this time, genetic nutritional testing has not yet been proven to give accurate information. Studies have found conflicting results or little reliable information to make dietary changes.
Most health professionals are not recommending changing behaviors based on results from these new direct-to-consumer tests.
More than likely at this time, someone is trying to make money off our search for a quick fix.
Dietitians – Personalized Nutrition Experts!
Registered Dietitians (RD) are trained experts who help people looking to make lifestyle and dietary changes to improve their health.
RDs give personalized medical nutrition therapy to help you fill the gaps in your eating pattern to capitalize on healthy eating.
One-size-fits-all approaches often don’t help people achieve their health goals. Many people find these types of nutrition messages confusing.
How do you eat fewer calories than you burn, eat five a day, or fill half your plate with vegetables?
Teaching, demonstrating, and collaborating is what RDs do every day to help you improve your nutrition. The drawback can be that most times this requires more effort than most want to put into it — hence the search for a magic bullet!
Gaining control over your health is best accomplished when you seek out a real expert and work together to make beneficial changes that will be lifelong.