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Personalised nutrition can drive better eating habits

By Noli Dinkovski , 07-Sep-2016
Last updated on 07-Sep-2016 at 14:16 GMT2016-09-07T14:16:16Z

Mathers: ‘Personalised nutrition advice helped people to make bigger and more appropriate changes’
Mathers: ‘Personalised nutrition advice helped people to make bigger and more appropriate changes’

People who receive personalised nutrition advice develop healthier eating habits over those who are offered generic ‘five-a-day’ advice, a pan-European study has found.

In the Food4Me study, more than 1,600 adults across seven European countries were randomised to one of three personalised nutrition treatment groups (based on analysis of current diet; diet and phenotype; and diet, phenotype and genotype) and a fourth conventional diet control group.

Publishing in the International Journal of Epidemiology, the Newcastle University-led study, surprisingly found no evidence that more complex personalisation information made any difference to the outcome.

‘More appropriate changes’

Head of the intervention study, Professor John Mathers, director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University said: “We found that personalised nutrition advice helped people to make bigger and more appropriate changes to their diets than the conventional healthy eating advice, which was followed by our control group.”

To help them focus on the aspects of their individual diets needing most change, each participant was given three personalised food-based goals.

For example, one individual might be recommended to choose wholegrain versions of breads, while another might be advised to reduce specific high-fat dairy products.

‘Improved their eating patterns’

Mathers added: “Six months after they started, participants in the personalised nutrition groups had improved their eating patterns significantly more than those in the control group.

“They were eating a healthier diet overall, including less red meat, saturated fat and salt and were eating significantly more of the B vitamin, folate, found in vegetables and fruits.

“Compared with the control group, the personalised nutrition groups had about double the improvement in overall healthiness of their diets.”

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