The standard protocols for diet and nutrition guidelines tend to follow a “one-size-fits-all” model.
But in-depth research in the field of nutrigenomics (which studies the interactions between DNA and dietary nutrients) suggests that a more individualized approach to dietary recommendations may provide a much more significant benefit to public health.
Some genotypes (individual variations in your DNA) may indicate a higher risk for developing certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and obesity.
And while lifestyle choices play a significant role in disease prevention, research suggests that certain genotypes may make individuals more or less responsive to specific dietary interventions.
Precision nutrition is an approach to dietary planning and supplementation that considers an individual’s unique genetic makeup, lifestyle, and health goals.
Precision nutrition aims to optimize health and performance by providing the right nutrients in the right amounts to each individual.
We all need the same essential nutrients, but how our bodies process and use those nutrients can vary significantly from person to person.
The Genetics of Food Preference
Recent research has also demonstrated the impact of certain taste-related genes on food preferences and intake. This could allow for the development of more targeted and effective nutrition interventions that suit an individual’s taste.
When a diet program forces a person to eat foods they don’t enjoy, they are unlikely to stick to it. But suppose we can tailor dietary recommendations to an individual’s specific metabolic profile and taste preferences. In that case, we can significantly increase the odds of success—meaning more people reach their health goals, and fewer people develop chronic diseases.
Not Quite There Yet
While the concept of precision nutrition is promising, we are still a long way from being able to make truly personalized recommendations for diet and nutrition.
Many companies are popping up offering subscription services that claim to provide DNA-based dietary advice, but the science is still very much in its infancy. Most of these services are not backed by solid scientific proof and are not regulated by any government agencies.
As technologies and our understanding of the human genome continue to evolve, we may eventually be able to make specific and targeted dietary recommendations based on an individual’s genetic profile.
But for now, the best approach is to stick to evidence-based dietary guidelines that have been proven to be effective for the general population. Even though they may not be tailored to your genetic makeup, your doctor can help you understand what foods may or may not be suitable for you based on your current condition and risk factors.