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There are many nutritional tips that apply to everyone. But there is growing evidence that people respond differently to food, given differences in biology, lifestyle and gut microbiomes.
The National Institutes of Health wants to learn more about these individual responses through a Precision Health Nutrition Study, and this week the researchers began enrolling participants to take part in the study at 14 sites in the United States
It is part of All of us research initiative that aims to use data from one million participants to understand how differences in our biology, lifestyle and environment can affect our health.
Holly Nicastro from the NIH Office of Nutrition Research says the goal of the precision nutrition study is to help develop approaches tailored to people. “We will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to develop algorithms that can predict how individuals will respond to a given food or dietary pattern,” Nicastro says.
The study will take into account a person’s genetics, gut microbes, and other lifestyle, environmental and social factors « to help each individual develop dietary recommendations that improve overall health, » Nicastro says.
THE Dietary guidelines for Americans they are useful for establishing general recommendations for healthy eating, however Nicastro points to studies showing how much variation there can be in how individuals respond to specific foods or diets. For example, a published study have shown that even when people eat identical meals, their response levels of triglycerides, glucose and insulin can vary.
As part of the study, some participants will live in a dormitory-style environment for two-week periods where they will take turns three different types of diet. The researchers will measure body weight and vital signs, including blood pressure and body composition. Samples of blood, urine, saliva and feces will be collected, and researchers will evaluate the microbiomes. Continuous glucose monitors can track changes in blood sugar.
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At a time when diet-related diseases are a leading cause of premature death, the goal is to help people live healthier lives. Nutrition plays a vital role in human development and in the prevention and treatment of disease.
More than one million Americans die each year from diet-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer, according to the United States Food and Pharmaceutical Administration. And people living at a lower socioeconomic level are disproportionately affected by diet-related chronic diseases. The NIH aims to to recruit people from a range of different backgrounds a participate in the study.
There is a growing movement to integrate food and nutrition into health care as well growing evidence that providing prescriptions for fruits and vegetables can inspire people to eat better and manage weight and blood sugar.
Precision nutrition is leading the trend, with the NIH forecast which will become a mainstay of medical care by 2030. The taxpayer-funded study is estimated to cost approximately Over 170 million dollars the next five years.