Up until now, personalized nutrition has not taken off the way that experts predicted a decade ago. This can be attributed to a lack of consumer and healthcare professional awareness, as well as the level of the science which is more complex than initially thought. But how will the outcome of the scieniftic research impact our lives in the future?
There have been lot of discussions around the development of functional foods, the use of mobile health monitoring devices as well as clever fridges that can monitor our dietary intake (see Food4me.org), I this is great, however, as nobody can accurately predict the future, I thought I would let my creative juices flow and dream up a future scenario for personalized nutrition.
With the increased use of mobile health monitoring devices, I think that these will in the future more accurately monitor energy expediture, blood and cell nutrient levels as well other health markers such as stress levels. Individuals will in the future be able to make more immediate changes following the data displayed on their devices.
From a dietary aspect, I think that we will be able to consume more accurately what our body needs, this is not new and does not involve endless supplements. However, I do think that with women (for instance) taking longer to start families and taking charge of their careers due to the drive for more women in the boardroom, less time will be spent in kitchens. Instead, the food industry will come up with more clever, tailored healthy solutions to personalize diets. This could mean that food retail chains can be hooked up wirelessly to your mobile device and construct a lunch meal according to your blood nutrient levels and genetic profile.
Imagine a time when, as you leave the office for your lunchtime break, the information gets transmitted wirelessly via bluetooth as you near the outlet, your lunch is already waiting for you, perfectly portioned and balanced and off you go….calm restored. No need for logging, ordering or calculating. By the time you get home, your dinner is awaiting you in high tech packaging which ensures that no nutrients are lost, stays at the right temperature and is once again perfectly portioned or better yet, the containers change colour if you accidentally overestimate your portion size . Any functional foods and targetted supplements are consumed as part of your “standard” intake and added to your daily nutritional intake. Food delivery companies will therefore become more sophisticated at preparing, portioning and delivering food.
For families, this means that any bulk meals will be sent home, but exact portion sizes are calculated for each family member according to their device data with the containers already portioned out, hence no need for weighing. If you didn´t eat your greens your device will know…..and will make up for it in your dietary prescription the next day (in disguise). Come breakfast time, your device once again comes up with a tailored recommendation according to your blood levels, you place your bowl underneath your state-of the art cereal portioning machine, press the button and voila! out comes your functional cereal perfectly portioned, all you have to do is add milk or your functional beverage whilst still half asleep.
Our lives will be made simpler with healthier options due to consumer demands and our workplaces will follow suit by offering more tailored solutions which will be interspersed with chill out rooms and on-call yoga sessions to get our stress levels down.
It´s really fun to think about what could happen, the options are endless if we really let our minds go, of course I still wish for that self-cleaning kitchen and recycling robot! For now we eagerly await further research and spread the word on keeping healthy!
How do you think our increased knowledge will impact your life?
UK women on boards 2011
Mariëtte Abrahams MBA RD is a freelance dietitian, consultant nutritionist and nutrition business consultant. She is the director of Pomegranate Nutrition Consulting Ltd which specialises in providing technical expertise on nutritional genomics to the Biotechnology, Food and Medical Nutrition industry. She is also a media spokesperson for the BDA.