Researchers discuss trend in customized nutrition recommendations

Chicago, IL July 14, 2003 - At a symposium held yesterday, researchers discussed the opportunities and challenges of developing customized food choices based on individuals' needs and preferences. The panel highlighted factors that contribute to the ability to customize nutritional needs including not just age and gender, but disease risk, genetic profile, metabolic conditions and taste preferences.

Obesity and its related illnesses are one driving force in the need for a better understanding of how food contributes to overall health and wellness. Dr. Michael Zemel, University of Tennessee, presented scientific data that shows a correlation between the absorption of calcium through dairy foods with better weight management. Epidemiological and clinical trial data support the findings that calcium intake is linked to weight loss.

However, the health benefits of certain foods needs to be weighed against individuals' taste preferences. Dr. Chahan Yeretzian, Nestle Research Center, focused on the needs for foods to be appealing to the individual. Foods that are pleasing to the palette are more likely to be consumed over foods that are healthy but not tasteful.

The movement to customize nutrition recommendations and food choices is becoming more prevalent. A recent commentary, The Challenge to Customize, in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association discussed how individualizing dietary recommendations and consuming specific foods to match an individual's specific health needs is within the realm of future nutrition practices. The piece also touched on the food industry's role in creating and marketing products to meet the needs of various population segments.

Symposium speaker Dr. Paul Davis, University of California, Davis, cautioned the food industry against marketing foods as the cure-all for health conditions. He highlighted the many challenges that face the food industry as the desire to customize nutrition guidelines for in

Contact: Schaelene Rollins
Dairy Council of California

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