Personalized Systems Nutrition Study Expands Opportunities for Innovation

Thought Leadership


Josh Anthony

Last week, I was pleased to announce results from our novel Personalized Systems Nutrition study, featured in the June 2021 issue of Nutrients. This was an exciting milestone in Nlumn’s journey to make personalized nutrition accessible to help every individual make better choices and live a healthier life.

For food, beverage and ingredient companies – and potentially health and insurance firms – this study reveals some exciting opportunities. The Habit PATH study is the first in health and nutrition science to incorporate the phenotypic flexibility technology to improve the dietary patterns, lifestyle behaviors and health-related outcomes of individuals in a workplace environment. The results suggest that a systems-based personalized nutrition approach, combining both biological and behavioral science, not only helps address an individual’s unique health needs, but also helps them achieve public health recommendations, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Consequently, personalized approaches may be more effective in motivating people to achieve public health recommendations compared to general guidelines.

At a time when the U.S. is facing a multidimensional, multigenerational health crisis, and consumer demand for more nutritious food is at an all-time high, this study also helps verify the ability to use personalized subcategories to tailor food and product innovation pipelines in a meaningful way – thereby increasing the potential for long-term positive health benefits from personalized nutrition for food and insurance companies.

Looking ahead, I am eager to apply these learnings to continue to drive innovation at the intersection of nutrition, health and wellness… and thereby help our partners and clients expand their product portfolios to support a healthier community for all.

I want to personally thank everyone involved in the study – including the participants and partners – and especially my co-authors at TNO: Iris de Hoogh, Sabina Bijlsma, Tanja Krone, Tim van den Broek, Martien Caspers, and Suzan Wopereis; as well as Barbara Andersen and Nlumnati co-authors Barbara Winters and Kristin Nieman, as well as the expert support of Anita Shaffer. I’d also like to recognize the hard work and dedication of Hayley DiTammaso, Elizbeth Ricci, Jennifer Halvorson, Allison Remensperger, and Ryan Yockey.

Here are few highlights from the study – you can read the full study in Nutrients – or in our press release.

Study Highlights:

  • The Habit PATH (Personalized Approaches To Health) Study demonstrates that a Personalized Systems Nutrition program in a workforce environment improves dietary habits, health markers, physical activity and other health-related outcomes.
  • The Habit PATH Study helps validate a holistic approach to personal nutrition that:

    - Introduces a new approach that customizes nutrition systems according to an individual’s phenotypic flexibility assessment, which measures health according to their ability to adapt to a temporary nutritional stressor or an environmental challenge. This technology can identify potential health concerns to allow for early intervention and treatment.
    - Provides personal goal setting and motivational interviewing to affect behavioral change and improve an individual’s adherence to lifestyle intervention programs.
  • The Habit PATH Study suggests that personalized nutrition programs may provide the tools and motivation to enable individuals to meet their unique needs, achieve public health recommendations and improve health-related outcomes that may help reduce the health economic burden of chronic disease.
  • Saturated fat intake was reduced more than 20%. Total sugar and sodium intake were reduced by almost 20%. These changes are consistent with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Key Recommendations to limit specific nutrients.
  • Key nutrients such as potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin C and beta carotene increased, suggesting increased intake of fruit and vegetables.
  • While this was not designed to be a weight loss study, caloric intake decreased 13% and participants saw reduced body weight, BMI, hip circumference and a reduction in body fat.  Physical activity also increased.
  • The most unhealthy participants reported a 10% reduction in total cholesterol and a 15% decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol.
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