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Perspective: Guiding Principles for the Implementation of Personalized Nutrition Approaches That Benefit Health and Function


Personalized nutrition (PN) approaches have been shown to help drive behavior change and positively influence health outcomes. This has led to an increase in the development of commercially available PN programs, which utilize various forms of individual-level information to provide services and products for consumers. The lack of a well-accepted definition of PN or an established set of guiding principles for the implementation of PN creates barriers for establishing credibility and efficacy. To address these points, the North American Branch of the International Life Sciences Institute convened a multidisciplinary panel. In this article, a definition for PN is proposed: “Personalized nutrition uses individual-specific information, founded in evidence-based science, to promote dietary behavior change that may result in measurable health benefits.” In addition, 10 guiding principles for PN approaches are proposed: 1) define potential users and beneficiaries; 2) use validated diagnostic methods and measures; 3) maintain data quality and relevance; 4) derive data-driven recommendations from validated models and algorithms; 5) design PN studies around validated individual health or function needs and outcomes; 6) provide rigorous scientific evidence for an effect on health or function; 7) deliver user-friendly tools; 8) for healthy individuals, align with population-based recommendations; 9) communicate transparently about potential effects; and 10) protect individual data privacy and act responsibly. These principles are intended to establish a basis for responsible approaches to the evidence-based research and practice of PN and serve as an invitation for further public dialog. Several challenges were identified for PN to continue gaining acceptance, including defining the health–disease continuum, identification of biomarkers, changing regulatory landscapes, accessibility, and measuring success. Although PN approaches hold promise for public health in the future, further research is needed on the accuracy of dietary intake measurement, utilization and standardization of systems approaches, and application and communication of evidence.

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This work was supported by the ILSI North America Personalized Nutrition Working Group.