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Andraos S, Wake M, Saffrey R, Burgner D, Kussmann M, O’Sullivan JM. Adv. Nutr. 2019 10(6) 944-952: “Perspective: Advancing Understanding of Population Nutrient–Health Relations via Metabolomics and Precision Phenotypes”.

Nutrition has the strongest life-long impact on human health and needs to sustain life, enhance health, and help prevent disease. Nutrition should prolong human health span in view of extended life span ("adding years to life and life to years") and improve individual well-being. While doing that, it should sustainably use planetary resources and minimize irreparable impact on environment and climate. To meet these seemingly overwhelming and possibly conflicting challenges, nutrition science is advancing towards a translational systems science supporting a sustainable food system "from farm to fork"; an efficient yet affordable health care system; and nutritional and dietary strategies tailored to different ethnicities, consumer, and patient groups.
A sustainable food system requires enhanced leverage of the plant kingdom for macronutrients, in particular the typically animal-derived protein, as well as for micronutrients and bioactives. Efficient yet affordable health care means inclusion of (medical and clinical) nutrition and prevention as a complement to pharmaceutical repair and cure. Tailored nutrition requires translational and comparable clinical studies with precisely characterised subjects, representative of specific population groups.
Traditional dietary recommendations have been based on a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach assuming that the average response observed in study populations mimics the individual nutritional requirements and responses. However, nutrition science has meanwhile evolved from elucidating macro- and micronutrient requirements in populations to optimising diets and delivering functional foods for Personalised Nutrition, all with the aim of maintaining health, preventing (chronic) disease, and enhancing performance and well-being.
The concept of Personalized Nutrition for health has been known for over two millennia but the molecular processes that vary between individuals are only now being captured and understood thanks to advanced analytical technologies. The progress of Personalized or Precision Nutrition has thereby improved our understanding of how factors such as genetic, metabolic, and microbiome signatures may predict whether what we eat supports or harms our health and to what degree.
All this said, food is more than biochemical and biological – it is also social and cultural. The influences on what we eat come from various angles, from our individual genetic and biological heritage via our cultural upbringing to our physical and social environment we live in. The same food can mean different things to different cultures. Our food choices are a multi-faceted blend of what makes us human.

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