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Not Your Mama’s Meal Planning: Discover Personalized Nutrition

March 06, 2024 Posted in: Blogs

Nutrition has undergone some serious changes in recent years. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all dietary solution. Today, there is a push toward personalized nutrition to help you get the vitamins and minerals you need for good health. 

The Basis of Personalized Nutrition 

Personalized nutrition became a hot topic courtesy of the Personalized Responses to Dietary Composition Trial (PREDICT). The study found “substantial variations in blood responses of glucose and triglycerides even if individuals are eating identical meals.”

In other words, every person processes food in a unique way—even twins. Factors found to change what your body does with food include:

  • Gut microbiome (microorganisms in the gut that affect your overall health)

  • Meal timing

  • Physical activity

  • Sleep habits

How Personalized Nutrition Works

Precision (personalized) nutrition takes all these factors into consideration. Instead of giving you general diet tips, your provider will offer very specific dietary guidance based on your lifestyle and how your body responds to food. 

When personalizing your diet, medical experts evaluate the following:

  • DNA

  • Gut microbiome

  • Metabolic response to various foods (how your body uses food for energy)

Understanding your DNA, gut microbiome and metabolism, your physician can tell you which foods to avoid or enjoy. By following doctor’s orders, you encourage more healthy bacteria in your gut and help your body prevent or manage disease.

Who Benefits From Precision Nutrition

Personalized nutrition has been around for a long time. If you’re lactose intolerant, you probably avoid dairy. Your dietary restriction is a form of precision nutrition. 

You may also benefit from a more specific diet plan if you have or are at risk for the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease. Your diet and family history both affect your risk for cardiovascular diseases. A diet factoring in your family history may help protect your heart and arteries.

  • Diabetes. Many rely on the Mediterranean diet to keep blood sugar levels in check. With this diet, you eat lots of fruits, vegetables and extra virgin olive oil while avoiding sweets and processed foods. Research published by the American Diabetes Association found a personalized diet provides more control over blood sugar levels than the Mediterranean diet.

Should You Personalize Your Diet?

Genetic testing is expensive. So is evaluation of your gut microbiome and your body’s response to food. Each should be performed by medical professionals. 

As personalized nutrition grows in popularity, more companies offer testing to build your diet. Be careful. Commercially available tests may be inaccurate. In addition, the people who perform your tests may not know what to do with the results. 

With these obstacles, personalized nutrition may not be possible for every person right now. However, you can take steps to improve your diet today. 

  • Get plenty of fiber, calcium and vitamin D. You’ll protect your heart, gain better control over your blood sugar and keep your bones and muscles strong.

  • Reduce salt and saturated fats. Too much salt or saturated fat may increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.      

  • Skip sugary stuff. Foods with added sugar contribute to your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other unwanted health issues.

Looking for help building a diet that meets your health goals? Find a doctor who can get you started.

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