There is a growing trend in being able to personalize your nutrition. Although general guidelines in terms of nutrients and food groups can be helpful, they’re not everything. The truth is that every human body is different.
Based on many factors – age, gender, activity level, health conditions, genetics, environmental exposures, goals, and a great deal more – our bodies each require a unique balance of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and macronutrients. Therefore, being able to personalize your nutrition has great appeal.
The company that brings you everything from that carton of milk to the candy bar in your drawer, is now hoping to personalize your nutrition. Nestle, the largest food company in the world, has jumped into this trend and is using a combination of DNA testing, artificial intelligence (AI) and social media to get the job done.
The program was first launched in Japan. Now the Swiss company is collecting massive amounts of data regarding its customers’ lifestyle habits including diet, activity level and overall wellness. This is playing into their customers’ desire for improved longevity and overall health.
There are about 100,000 people in Japan using the Nestle Wellness Ambassador program. It uses the Line app to let people send pictures of their food, then offers them lifestyle change recommendations and specially created supplements to help them improve their results.
The program, including a year’s worth of supplements that users can apply to smoothies, teas and vitamin-packed snacks rich in nutrients they need, costs $600. It also includes a kit the customer uses at home to take blood samples for DNA testing so they can better understand their risk of common conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol.
Experts have had mixed feedback about this program. While some say it is having a very good psychological impact and that it is making people more aware of their nutrition, others aren’t so thrilled. They may agree that the psychological impact is a positive one, there are components they don’t like.
This method of being able to personalize your nutrition is criticized for focusing more on supplements than understanding how to get what you need from real food. Some also suggests that many of the changes recommended are unnecessary and are likely to have limited benefits at best. Moreover, there is also the criticism regarding a multinational company collecting DNA and lifestyle data from its customers.