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Personalized nutrition is best to nurture healthy eating habits

Harold Mandel's picture
A delicious & nutritious salmon meal

A study has found people who get personalized nutrition advice develop eating habits which are healthier.


Good nutrition is essential to good health in body and mind. Yet the diets of many people are loaded with junk food which is largely to blame for widespread obesity. In order to reach for a naturally healthy state of being with good food it has been found by researchers at Newcastle University that personalized nutrition is best for the development of eating habits which are healthier.

Researchers have found that healthier eating habits which are developed in people who receive personalized advice on nutrition include eating less red meat and decreasing their intake of salt. It has also been observed that the internet is effective in assisting people to make significant changes to their eating habits.

People are motivated to make positive dietary changes with personalized nutrition advice

This pan-European study has been published in the International Journal of Epidemiology. A personalized approach to nutrition is based on the concept that people will be motivated to make dietary changes which are needed for their individual needs with the help of advice and support that is individualized.

With the individualized nutrition approach there is not an emphasis of standard advice such as to eat a minimum of five portions of vegetables and fruits daily and to eat at least two portions of fish per week. Instead with the approach of personalized nutrition information is used to give advice and support which is specific and relevant for each individual.

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Personalized eating advice is more effective than conventional healthy eating advice

Professor John Mathers, who is Director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University and who was the leader of this intervention study, says even though many of use are aware that our health and well being could be improved if we eat better food, we nevertheless often find that it is extremely hard to change our eating habits and to stay with better eating habits. In this study people were generally helped to make more significant changes to their diets with personalized nutrition advice versus conventional healthy eating advice.

Each participant in the study was given several personalized food-based goals. For example a person might be advised to choose wholegrain types of breads and breakfast cereals to increase their consumption of dietary fiber. Another person might be advised to decrease, or even completely avoid, specific high fat dairy products to lower their consumption of saturated fats.

There was double overall improvement in diets in personalized nutrition groups

Professor Mathers said that after six months in the program the people in the personalized nutrition groups had improved their eating patterns markedly more than those people who were in the control group. Overall these people were eating less saturated fat, red meat and salt and they were consuming more of the B vitamin folate which is found in fruits and vegetables. There was approximately double the overall improvement of healthy diets in the personalized nutrition groups.

In this study which was called Food4Me the participants were recruited online and thereafter reported their dietary and other data on the internet. Professor Mathers said is is exciting to see that internet can be effectively used to give personalized nutrition advice to many people. This approach is seen as being convenient by people and it is more effective at helping to improve the diets of people than the conventional approach of giving the same advice for everyone.

In a search to improve health naturally with better nutrition the researchers tested the hypothesis that a personalized nutrition advice approach would result in more appropriate and lasting changes in dietary behavior. The personalized nutrition advice was based on information dealing with individual diet and lifestyle. It was concluded that
internet delivered personalized intervention resulted in more significant changes in dietary behavior than an approach which is conventional. It seems that individualized nutrition advice offers good natural intervention to help people eat better and be healthier.