Nutrition research paradigm needs to change for nutrigenomics: Expert

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

At the recent IFT Annual Meeting and Expo, Stephen Daniells talked to Dr Jim Kaput, director of FDA’s Division of Personalized Nutrition and Medicine about the paradigm shift needed to move personalized nutrition forward.

The current research approach of grouping people together is not in-keeping with personalized nutrition, said Dr Kaput. “You have to think of a new paradigm: How do you conduct the research in order to get to the individual risk factor or the individual benefit factor for blueberries, or blackberries, or whatever food you are looking at.”

The advances in the field of nutrigenomics today do have significant implications for the food industry, said Dr Kaput: “We need to understand the mechanism by which the nutrients in food can alter health, and from that we can tell the food manufacturers what to put in their products.”

“We need to be more science-based when we talk to the food manufacturers so we can design better foods. We have to be realistic, we definitely need manufactured foods, but we have to manufacture them the right way,”​ he added.

The views expressed in this video are those of Jim Kaput and not those of the FDA.

Related topics: Research, Personalized Nutrition

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2 comments

Great interview

Posted by Donna Feldman,

The low fat craze of the mid-80's was in response to the increase in obesity, not the cause. Otherwise, Dr. Kaput's views are spot on regarding how premature the nutrigenomics promise really is. Different polymorphisms may each affect only a small % of people, but when one person has several that overlap, we've got an interesting nutrigenomic situation. However, the real push should be epigenetics, as some recent obesity research indicates. Love the quote: Food design by newspaper article. So true!

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Personalized gene testing not needed

Posted by Bill Sardi,

Personalized nutrition based upon genomics is not needed. Structural problems with genes (mutations) represent only 2% of inherited disease. There are gene polymorphisms and mutations that affect such broad human populations (mutated gene for gulonolactone oxidase to convert blood sugar to vitamin C; Asians exhibit lack of haptoglobin and need more vitamin C; large groups are unable to properly metabolize folic acid; dark-skinned populations poorly synthesize vitamin D from solar radiation exposure), which suggests widespread food fortification or supplementation with no gene testing needed. We now live in an era of epigenetics, where we have learned how to switch genes on and off. We need to shift from the outmoded paradigm of disease genomes to mimicking the gene expression profile of health. The unequivocal model of health and longevity is a limited-calorie diet which can be molecularly mimicked with small molecules found in grapes, berries, bran, spices. This should be the primary objective of nutrition in this new century -- to delay the onset of aging via anti-aging technology, and thus save health care systems from financial collapse.

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