Is Personalized Nutrition Superior to General Nutrition Advice? (SNP 17)

In Podcasts by Danny Lennon1 Comment

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“Personalized nutrition” has been promoted as an approach that will improve people’s health by prescribing them specific dietary recommendations based on their own genetic and phenotypic data.

The premise is that given we each respond differently to foods, having general dietary recommendations may be doing many people a disservice. And by using an array of personal data, it is now possible to give unique diets that improve health.

The early and interesting findings of research in this area was met with much fanfare, and indeed, many companies are now offering commercial direct-to-consumer services based on genetic and physiological testing, followed by “personalized” dietary prescription. Such testing may include genetic tests, microbiome testing, glucose monitoring data, and more. This data is then fed into machine learning algorithms to prescribe dietary recommendations.

However, do the marketing claims match the current evidence? Does the “proof” it works that is often cited, actually back up the claims? Do personalized nutrition diets actually lead to improved health outcomes over generic, conventional dietary recommendations? Do personalized nutrition diets lead to better outcomes than standard dietetic/nutrition practice?

To answer these questions, we go through the main studies cited in favor of personalized nutrition being superior to typical dietary advice, and see if they indeed support the claims.

So is personalized nutrition superior to standard dietary advice? Let’s find out…

Co-hosts for this Episode

Dr. Alan Flanagan has a PhD in nutrition from the University of Surrey, where his doctoral research focused on circadian rhythms, feeding, and chrononutrition.

This work was based on human intervention trials. He also has a Masters in Nutritional Medicine from the same institution.

Dr. Flanagan is a regular co-host of Sigma Nutrition Radio. He also produces written content for Sigma Nutrition, as part of his role as Research Communication Officer.

Danny Lennon has a master’s degree (MSc.) in Nutritional Sciences from University College Cork, and he is the founder of Sigma Nutrition.

Danny is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the Sports Nutrition Association, the global regulatory body responsible for the standardisation of best practice in the sports nutrition profession.


  • Definition & Terminology
  • Claims Made About Personalized Nutrition
  • Food4Me Study
  • Zeevi et al., 2015 Study – Postprandial Glucose
  • Ben Yacov et al: Personalized Postprandial Glucose Response–Targeting
  • PREDICT Study
  • How Marketing & Hype is Misusing Current Evidence

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  1. Totally agree. We know what humans should eat for health, it’s pretty generic. How to get there, or how to become healthy when sick would include a number of personal adjustments, of course. Any other kind of personalized nutrition would only be useful when people have goal slightly different than optimal health, like building excessive muscle, or something.

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