The PREVENTOMICS project has developed a personalized nutritional and healthy lifestyle habits recommendation system based on users’ biomarkers, eating habits and physical and behavioural characteristics to generate tailor-made plans. This innovative platform would allow its integration with technological applications that need to apply precision nutrition to any type of treatment, disease or defined life situation, and where genetic, biological, nutritional and psychological factors are relevant.
The project has addressed the potential of omic sciences, especially metabolomics, to know the status of users’ metabolism, and used techniques to induce a change in people’s behaviour, to develop personalized preventive nutrition tools, which promote changes in habits and improve individuals’ health in a sustainable and lasting way.
The results of the project indicate that digital food-related applications could use the PREVENTOMICS project (Empowering consumers to PREVENT diet-related diseases through OMICS sciences) recommender system as demonstrated, for example, by integrating it in applications to promote healthy diets, to make a more personalized purchase or for personalised meal delivery.
The principal investigator of the project and director of the Nutrition and Health Unit at Eurecat, Dr. Josep Maria del Bas explained that “the use of personalised nutrition is helping to maintain healthy habits, increases user satisfaction and confidence in the diet prescribed and promotes a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet.”
The effectiveness of the personalisation tool has been proven in three use cases with different companies in the food value chain through interventional studies with volunteers in four European countries.
In the study carried out in Spain, specifically in Reus (Catalonia), 168 participants without previous pathologies have validated the system using an online platform that indicated which products to include in the shopping list according to the status of their metabolism and genetics, sending them nutritional and lifestyle recommendations.
On the other hand, in Denmark, a hundred people with overweight and obesity have used PREVENTOMICS system through a meal delivery application proposing meals based on nutritional tailor-made plans according to their metabolic and genetic profile.
The third study was participated by participants with moderate risk to develop cardiovascular diseases, 265 in Poland and 60 in the UK. Participants validated the system developed by PREVENTOMICS integrated in a platform used by professional nutritionists to generate personalised nutritional advice to their patients.
The research carried out has contributed to the identification, modelling and evaluation of metabolic, consumer, genetic and metagenomic biomarkers in personalised nutrition. Based on the data obtained, a scoring system has been developed capable of estimating a person’s metabolic status, taking into account the impact of an individual’s genetics on the risk of metabolic disorders. In addition, special emphasis has been placed on assessing the personality of the individual, integrating the data into the system to promote the acceptance of change towards healthier habits in a personalised way, optimising individuals’ metabolic status and contributing to the prevention of certain diseases.
On the other hand, under the framework of the project, which has received more than 7.7M€ funding from the European Commission over three and a half years, functional ingredients enhancing the health effects of personalized food have been investigated.
Research has also taken into account the cost-effectiveness of the interventional studies carried out, as well as the impact on the quality of life of the individual.
The PREVENTOMICS project has been developed by a consortium of 19 European partners from seven different countries, comprising the companies ALDI, Alimentòmica, Onmi, Simple Feast, METEDA and Carinsa; and research centers and universities Eurecat, the University of Parma, the University of Southampton, the University of Copenhagen, the Institute of Communication and Computer Systems, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Leitat, the Wageningen University, the University of Jagiellonski in Kraków and the University Maastricht, in addition to the patient association Osteoarthritis Foundation International (OAFI), the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) and the Spanish Standardization Association (UNE).