The PREVENTOMICS project, coordinated by the Eurecat technology centre has developed a system for personalised nutritional and healthy life habit recommendations based on biomarkers, eating habits and physical and behavioural characteristics of the users to generate made-to-measure plans. This innovative platform would allow integration with technological applications that need to apply precision nutrition to any type of treatment, disease or given life situation where genetic, biological, nutritional and psychological factors are important.
The project has addressed the potential of omic sciences, especially metabolomics to learn about the state of the metabolism, as well as techniques to induce a change in people’s behaviour, to get personalised preventive nutrition tools that promote changes in current habits and improve individual health in a sustained and lasting way.
The results of the project indicate that digital applications linked to food and diet would be able to use the system of recommendations created by the PREVENTOMICS project (Empowering consumers to PREVENT diet-related diseases through OMICS sciences) as demonstrated, for example, by being integrated with applications to promote healthy diets, to do more personalised shopping or to order food at home.
The project’s principal investigator and director of Eurecat’s Nutrition and Health Unit, Dr Josep Maria del Bas, explains that ‘the use of personalised nutrition is contributing to maintaining new healthy life habits, increasing user satisfaction and trust in a more personalised diet and promoting greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet’.
The effectiveness of the personalisation tool has been validated in three cases of use with different companies from the food value chain through intervention studies with volunteers in four European countries.
In the study carried out in Spain, specifically in Reus, 168 participants with no previous pathologies validated the system by using an online platform that told them which products to include in their shopping lists according to the status of their metabolism and their genetics, sending them nutritional and lifestyle recommendations.
On the other hand, in the study carried out in Denmark, around one hundred overweight and obese people tested it through a food delivery application that defined the dishes delivered on six days of the week in a plan customised based on their metabolic and genetic profiles.
In the third study, with 265 participants with moderate risk of cardiovascular disease in Poland and 60 in the United Kingdom, the system developed by PREVENTOMICS was used by professional nutritionists to generate personalised nutritional advice for their patients.
The research done has contributed to identifying, modelling and evaluating metabolic, consumption, genetic and metagenomic biomarkers in personalised nutrition. Based on the data obtained, a scoring system has been developed that can estimate a person’s metabolic status, taking into account the impact of the individual’s genetics on the risk of suffering metabolic disorders. Moreover, special emphasis has been placed on evaluating the individual’s personality, integrating tools into the system that encourage acceptance of the switch to healthier habits in a personalised way. Thus, the system developed makes it possible to adapt the nutritional interventions and lifestyle of the person to optimise their metabolic state and prevent the appearance of certain diseases.
On the other hand, as part of the project, which has entailed an investment of 7.7 million euros over three and a half years, functional ingredients have been studied that boost the healthy effects of personalised nutrition.
During the research, the evaluation of cost/benefit ratios for these interventions as well as the impact on the quality of life of the individual was also taken into account.
The PREVENTOMICS project, financed by the European Horizon 2020 programme, was developed by a consortium of 19 European partners from seven different countries, led by Eurecat and including the companies ALDI, Alimentòmica, Onmi, Simple Feast, METEDA and Carinsa; the research centres and universities the University of Parma, University of Southampton, University of Copenhagen, Institute of Communication and Computer Systems, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, Leitat, Wageningen University, Jagiellonian University of Krakow and University of Maastricht; as well as the patient association Osteoarthritis Foundation International (OAFI), the Spanish Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU) and the Spanish Association for Standardization (UNE).