Eurecat Nutrition & Health Technological Unit has assessed the soundness of the personalised nutrition advice generated by PREVENTOMICS recommender system and a behavioural change programme to improve the dietary habits of over 150 participants with no previous pathologies.
The study evaluated participants’ anthropometric measurements, blood pressure and changes in the metabolic profile before and after a 21-week intervention to compare amongst participants following tailored advice versus participants receiving general advice and assess whether personalised nutrition approaches are more effective in improving the metabolism status and overall health.
We interviewed Eurecat Nutritionists team carrying out the study to learn more about the research conducted at Eurecat’s facilities in Reus (Spain) and find out about the main results.
What were the main goals of this study?
The main goal of our pilot clinical trial was to assess the soundness of the personalised nutrition advice generated by the recommender system – consisting of dietary advice and a weekly shopping list generator – and its combination with a behavioural change intervention to improve dietary habits of individuals compared to standard and generic nutritional advice, measured through adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Moreover, we wanted to evaluate the effects of using the personalised nutrition advice provided by PREVENTOMICS website platform on anthropometric measurements, blood pressure and metabolic profile.
How many people participated, and which requirements had to meet?
We recruited healthy and non-obese men and women aged 18-65 years old without metabolic syndrome associated pathologies such as diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc. The rest of exclusion criteria included prescribed medicine to control inflammation, anemia, being pregnant or planning to become pregnant, having a gastrointestinal diseases or other chronic diseases, etc.
We have done more than 200 preselection visits and we ended up with 193 participants, randomly divided into three groups: a personalised nutrition group, a personalised plan group and a control group. Finally, 144 completed the study by the end of December 2021.
The study lasted 21 weeks. Can you explain what was expected from participants during this period?
Before starting the intervention, participants came to our facilities, where we collected a variety of anthropometric measures, biological samples (blood, urine, faeces, saliva), body composition, questionnaires about health and dietetic-behaviours and finally, the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) questionnaire.
During the following 21 weeks (about 4 months), once the samples were analysed, the participants were randomised to the three groups and then clustered into four subgroups: lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, intestinal microbiota, and inflammation. For example, if a participant was randomised in the personalised nutrition group and clustered in the inflammation subgroup, the PREVENTOMICS platform would recommend him or her to eat more polyphenol rich fruits such as blueberries, among others.
Once per month, the registered nutritionist of Eurecat’s clinic team called by phone each participant to verify whether there was any medication change or to resolve any doubts regarding the use of the platform. Four months after starting the clinical pilot study, samples, questionnaires, and measures were collected again and results were compared with the data taken at the beginning.
Could you prove that participants following PREVENTOMICS personalized nutritional advice, and an individualised meal plan experienced a greater reduction in excess body fat and improved their overall health?
We observed a significant decrease in body weight between the personalised and control groups. Participants in the personalised intervention groups lost some body weight (about 1kg). During the following weeks we will have more results and we will be able to observe differences (or not) between the four clustered subgroups.
Which indicators and technology did you use to assess the impact of the interventional study on participants’ health?
Numerous health biomarkers had been measured in blood, saliva, urine, and faecal samples by a combination of standard analytical chemistry and novel Omics Sciences’ techniques. To measure the adherence to the dietary recommendations of the two personalised nutrition groups we asked the participants to generate a shopping list weekly through PREVENTOMICS’ platform. Moreover, we repeated the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS) questionnaire to observe an expected increase in Mediterranean Diet adherence in all the three groups.