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What is personalized nutrition bringing to our plates?
Personalized nutrition is not a new idea, but the ease of accessing it is. From websites offering assistance on social media to supplement manufacturers offering assistance to their customers, personalized nutrition is available on a variety of fronts. Tailor-made diets can be designed to help with gut health, food allergies and other dietary restrictions, as well as weight-loss goals. Personalized nutrition is the new trend in the world of nutrition and 2017 has been an exceptional year for this market.
The personalized nutrition market:
Personalized nutrition is a growing market and many of the biggest players in the food industry have already invested in it. Campbell Soup announced in October of 2016, that it will invest $32 million in the personalized nutrition start-up Habit. Habit provides personalized meals based on a number of factors including DNA and blood tests.
Nestlé is another food giant that has taken on the personalized nutrition market. In July of 2016, Nestlé and Samsung announced a research collaboration to develop a revolutionary digital health platform. According the Nestlé:
“The long-term goal of the collaboration is to combine ‘Internet of Things’ technology (the growing ability of devices in our lives to connect with each other) with breakthrough nutrition science, to provide people with greater ownership of their quality of life.”
Johnson & Johnson and Seventure Partners recently announced a $12 million investment in the Israeli-based start-up DayTwo. DayTwo provides personalized nutrition recommendations based on an analysis of the user’s gut microbiome and medical history.
These are only a few examples of industry giants taking the leap towards personalized nutrition.
How is nutrition being personalized?
There are a number of approaches that companies are basing their ‘personalized’ approach to nutrition on. Here, we highlight the most promising and successful approaches.
Personalized nutrition is available to anyone who wants to invest in themselves. One way that consumers can learn about their nutritional needs is to complete a DNA test. This is called nutrigenomics – analyzing DNA to find the best way to get fit, lose weight, or build overall health. These nutrigenomics tests will show whether or not individuals have problems with certain foods and they can also show metabolic issues. DNAFit is an industry leader in fitness, nutrition, and genetic testing.
Personalized vitamin packets
Along with DNA testing, consumers can get personalized vitamin packets. Instead of using scientific testing, consumers can complete questionnaires about their health and lifestyle. The questionnaire which was built by expert medical professionals at top organizations is used to determine what vitamins would make their lives better. After completing the assessment, consumers are able to talk to nutritionists if they have any questions about their personalized vitamins. Personalized vitamin companies have received rave reviews from consumers who have experienced positive results. Vitamin Packs is one of the companies that has taken the lead on personalized vitamins.
Blood tests to analyze various markers
Blood testing is another way that consumers can have their nutrition personalized. With blood tests, companies analyze markers to determine where their customers have flaws in their diets. From too much cholesterol to a lack of iron, companies like InsideTracker are able to see exactly what is wrong with their customers’ diets. InsideTracker was developed by PhD’s from respected universities and medical schools. They have been doing business since 2013. The benefits of this type of testing is that problems can be readily identified and changes can also be easily seen. So, if your blood test shows that you have high cholesterol, you can make changes to remedy the problem. Then, after another blood test, you can see if you have changed your health. With a genetic test, this is not the case as you cannot change your genes.
Stool tests to analyze gut microbiome
In a previous article, we explained how the gut microbiome plays an important role in metabolism, digestion and nutrient uptake. A number of studies have established the strong link between the gut microbiome and some diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. DayTwo is a leader in this approach. DayTwo provides a personalized dietary plan that is devised after sending in a stool sample. Their scientific approach, according to their website,
“…translates each person’s unique gut microbiome and other individual metrics into a personalized actionable plan. Different people have different blood sugar responses to food, so it is essential to understand what your body needs – and to plan accordingly.”
Even though there are plenty of diets to choose from, none of them work for everyone. For example, some people might do well with Weight Watchers, but not with the Mediterranean Diet. But, with personalized nutrition, diets can be customized to each consumer’s unique nutritional needs.
The investment opportunities in personalized nutrition are growing as entrepreneurs are developing their own unique businesses. Fitness, nutrition, and health are important to a large consumer group and so is the idea of personalization. Being able to combine the two is an investment opportunity that is only going to grow.
Kristen Bentley is a freelance writer and high school English teacher from Michigan. In her spare time, she loves watching baseball and traveling.
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