EC funds project to examine personalised nutrition

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

A group of international researchers is embarking on a project on personalised nutrition, with the goal of identifying the opportunities and limitations that this would present to different businesses.

Led by a scientist from University College Dublin (UCD), the Food4Me consortium last year won the European Commission call for research proposals under the EC’s Framework Programme 7, and is now preparing to commence the four-year project.

Personalised nutrition – often called nutrigenomics – is defined as how food and nutrients affect an individual. The ultimate goal of the dietary approach is to use the diet to help optimise health and reduce the risk of diseases to which people are genetically predisposed.

Three approaches to personalised nutrition

Professor Mike Gibney, director of UCD’s Institute of Food and Health said that his team would be examining three potential approaches to personalised nutrtition, to determine which is the most successful and which is preferred by consumers.

“So far, the focus of personalised nutrition has been on genetics – and it hasn’t worked,”​ Professor Gibney told NutraIngredients.com.

Starting in January 2011, his research team will recruit 2,000 individuals and randomly assign them to one of three groups. These are:

  • Genetic approach – how food and ingested nutrients affect genes, to help consumers plan personal nutrition based on their genetic profile
  • Web-based approach – a service that allows consumers to enter details of their daily diet. These are then analysed and a report is produced on nutrient intake, with dietary advice based on personal choices and preferences
  • Blood samples – pin-prick samples are analysed to provide information on an individual’s physiology and general state of wellness, which will help direct nutrient intake advice

“The idea is that after four years we’ll have a series of reports that will set out what the opportunities and limitations are for personalised nutrition. We’ll be examining the different options for business models, such as food companies, insurance firms and electronics firms,”​ said Professor Gibney.

The €9m project will also include an ethical and legal analysis, as well as a communications campaign.

For more information, click here​.

Related topics: Suppliers

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