Why We Provide Personalised Nutritional Interventions
With the rising prevalence of chronic disease, nutrition-based interventions are fundamental components of many therapeutic strategies for disease treatment and prevention.
A variety of factors shape personalised nutritional therapies. For example, a patient’s specific chronic disease, underlying nutrient deficiency, or presentation of disease symptoms may direct a nutritional approach to include or exclude certain foods or require a clinician to create a tailored dietary plan to support certain body systems.
An individual’s biochemical response to foods is also an important consideration, as millions of people are diagnosed with food allergies and some experience non-allergy food sensitivities that may trigger gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms4 or extraintestinal manifestations.
Personalised nutrition interventions may also incorporate a patient’s health goals and motivations, cultural and personal preferences, genetic profile, and circadian rhythms, all to potentially enhance patient empowerment and treatment sustainability. Personalising nutrition-based interventions, including therapeutic food plans, helps to create the most appropriate and effective wellness strategy for each individual patient.
A nutritional treatment may fit one patient perfectly but require extensive modifications to meet another patient’s health needs.
Personalised nutrition has been described as a health field and treatment approach that uses a patient’s individuality to inform nutrition strategies that help to prevent, manage, or treat disease and promote optimal health.
A 2021 systematic review of 11 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) found that compared to generalised nutrition advice, personalised nutrition improved dietary intake in healthy adult populations. As an example, a 2021 RCT (n=1,270 adults; 46% had overweight/obesity) reported that following a six-month intervention period, personalised nutrition advice resulted in greater reductions of discretionary foods intake (foods high in fat, added sugars, and salt) compared to generalised nutrition advice. In addition, a 2022 RCT (n=56 colorectal cancer survivors) measured the nutrition status, dietary intake and quality of life among patients who followed personalised nutritional interventions versus those who received routine care.8 After six months, the intervention group had higher energy and protein intake and gained more weight than the routine care group. In addition, those in the intervention group had a significantly higher global health status and overall quality of life compared to controls.
Increasing fibre consumption, prioritising healthy fat intake, and avoiding trigger foods are just some nutritional factors that are associated with preventing, treating, or managing different chronic diseases. Plant-based diets have been linked to a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease; the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet has been shown to lower blood pressure in adults with and without hypertension; the low-FODMAP diet has been shown to reduce symptom severity in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); and the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet has been associated with less cognitive decline, reduced risk of dementia, and reduced severity of headaches.
Using the components of personalised nutrition, these and other dietary approaches that have already shown effectiveness in the prevention or treatment of chronic disease can be tailored to meet each patient where they are in their health journey.
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