Individualizing nutrition recommendations to patients’ specific needs becomes increasingly important during cancer treatment, when people experience different combinations of side effects and/or the type or location of the cancer results in certain nutritional deficiencies or complications. Personalized nutrition intervention is related to improved health outcomes; and, health technology implemented by health professionals may provide this personalized approach to reach a larger amount of people [i]. The study below highlights a novel approach to personalized nutrition through a technology platform.
Effect of personalized nutrition on health-related behaviour change: evidence from the Food4me European randomized controlled trial
Journal: International Journal of Epidemiology
This internet-delivered nutrition intervention study included 1269 participants across seven European countries. The authors looked at if personalized nutrition guidance was more successful at improving lifestyle factors than conventional, non-personalized guidance.
Trained dietitians and nutritionists used decision trees to provide personalized feedback reports (based on individual diet and lifestyle) to participants in personalized nutrition conditions via the internet. All participants completed Food Frequency Questionnaires at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months.
The authors found that at 3 months, those in the personalized nutrition groups consumed less saturated fat and salt, and had improvements in blood carotenoids, body weight, and BMI compared to those in the non-personalized group. After 6 months, those in the personalized nutrition groups consumed less red meat, saturated fat, and salt, more folate, and had higher Healthy Eating Index scores than those in the non-personalized group. Including phenotypic (anthropometrics and blood markers) and genotypic data (diet-responsive genetic variants) did not further enhance lifestyle factors.
For the Patient and Caregiver
Receiving nutrition guidance that is individualized to your diet and lifestyle before, during, and after cancer treatment is key. Seeking out online platforms implemented by dietitians and other health professional allows you to receive guidance and follow-up within your home, which may be particularly beneficial while going through treatment.
For the Healthcare Team
Rather than providing general evidence-based guidelines to all patients, individualizing recommendations may improve the health of your patients. In addition, moving towards personalized nutrition technology, especially at follow-up, offers the opportunity to reach more patients who may not be feeling well enough to meet with you in person. Personalized nutrition guidance in combination with cancer treatment drugs is also being studied by oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee at Columbia University Medical Center, further highlighting the importance of personalized nutrition for patients undergoing cancer treatment [ii].
Savor Health’s Personalized Nutrition Technology Solution
Savor Health, since 2013, has provided home delivery of individually personalized meals to cancer patients that are customized by a proprietary algorithm-driven recommendation engine that was built by Savor Health’s team of oncology-credentialed medical professionals and data scientists.
Based on patient, caregiver and medical professional feedback, on November 1, 2018, Savor Health will launch an AI-based personalized nutrition technology platform that will be offered for free to patients through pharmaceutical companies, advocacy groups and, ultimately health insurance companies and employers.
Through a patent-pending chat bot, patients and caregivers will share details of their diagnoses, medications and other factors. Based on this information, through decision trees, expert rules and branching logic, they will be provided with highly personalized, clinically appropriate nutrition recommendations grounded in evidence-based science, clinical best practices and a patient’s own unique needs and preferences.
The solution is designed to support patients from point of diagnosis, through treatment, recovery and into survivorship. The intuitive, easy-to-use interface can be accessed either through a smart phone or via the web. For more information feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
[i] Celis-Morales C, Livingstone KM, Marsaux CFM, Macready AL, Fallaize R, O’Donovan CB…Mathers JC. Effect of personalized nutrition on health-related behaviour change: evidence from the Food4me European randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Epidemiology 2016;0:1-11.
[ii] Devlin, H. (2018, July 6). Top oncologist to study effect of diet on cancer drugs. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jul/06/top-oncologist-to-study-effect-of-diet-on-cancer-drugs