DIETITIANS ANTICIPATE NEW ERA OF ‘PERSONALIZED NUTRITION’ BASED ON EMERGING SCIENCE

Registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are preparing to leverage powerful new science on their patients’ individual genetic, metabolic and other physiological and behavioral characteristics to enhance nutrition care. A new “From the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics” paper titled Advancements in Personalized Nutrition Technologies: Guiding Principles for Registered Dietitian Nutritionists describes how molecular-level characteristics and individualized data can be utilized in the nutrition care process. The paper appears online in the April 14 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Personalized nutrition uses individual-specific information founded in evidence-based science to promote dietary behavior change that may result in measurable health benefits. Tracking and analysis of diet, lifestyle, mood and clinical symptoms can be enhanced by new technologies including measuring responses to specific food challenges. Current research demonstrates that RDNs have the trust of consumers to deliver and consult on these emerging topics. 

However, the rapidity of the developing science and technology demonstrates “the need for continually evolving education in this area,” according to the authors. There are also questions about the strength of the evidence supporting use of novel technologies, and confidentiality safeguards for one’s personal genetic and other health data. 

The nonprofit scientific research organization International Life Sciences Institute North America convened a multidisciplinary panel of scientists from government, industry, professional societies and academia to develop forward-thinking guiding principles for personalized nutrition approaches, which were translated in collaboration with the Academy for use by RDNs in the current paper. The authors of the paper include Mary Rozga, PhD, RDN, Nutrition Researcher, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; Marie E. Latulippe, MS, RDN, Senior Program Manager, ILSI North America; and Alison Steiber, PhD, RDN, Chief Science Officer, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Some of the principles suggest careful consideration of the appropriateness and applicability of methods for each client. Many of the principles apply to both nutrition research and the daily practice of RDNs, such as ensuring that the diagnostic methods and measures have been validated.

Likewise, using rigorous evidence supporting real effects on health and function and employing user-friendly tools are important. Finally, maintaining data quality and relevance and ensuring one seeks continuing education to remain competent in these emerging scientific areas are critical to ensuring that RDNs continue to provide expert personalized nutrition consultations.

 The article is available to view free here: https://jandonline.org/article/S2212-2672(20)30098-8/fulltext. To interview one of the authors, please contact Steve Gibb at sgibb@ilsina.org or 202-422-5425.

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