What Is Personalized Nutrition?
When you hear the term personalized nutrition, you might think about working one-on-one with clients, supporting them through specific, unique health challenges, and tailoring recommendations specific to their individual concerns and ailments.
Does that sound like your typical day? Yes, while it’s considered revolutionary in conventional medicine spaces, personalized nutrition is what coaches, like you, have actually been doing for decades!
A few weeks ago, on the blog, we talked about concierge healthcare and how it’s changing the medical scene. Longer appointments, dedicated time to identify the root-cause, integrating natural healing modalities with conventional theory – all pretty typical when your health care is concierge.
Similarly, personalized nutrition is alive and thriving within coaching and integrative health spaces, but it’s non-existent in conventional healthcare. Until now.
Earlier this year, the American Nutrition Association (ANA), a newly established nonprofit professional association, announced they would be publishing a new definition of personalized nutrition. According to the ANA, the idea to define and give weight to the concept of personalized nutrition is rooted in the philosophy that one size does not fit all and that tailoring nutrition recommendations to individuals would be more effective at preventing chronic diseases versus giving general, boilerplate recommendations.
In other words, scientists and researchers have recognized the “eat your fruits and vegetables” messaging cannot sufficiently address individual human variables, which personalized nutrition can. Slowly, it’s becoming a central puzzle piece to human health and a potential key to turning the tide on the chronic disease epidemic.
Given how incredible the healing properties of food can be, could mainstream medicine finally be catching on? With clear guidelines on what exactly personalized nutrition is, this could be the beginning of a deeper understanding of the impact food and diet can have on health. Can you imagine a system where all healthcare professionals are trained to recognize and apply personalized nutrition protocols before pharmaceuticals, surgery, and other costly invasive treatments?
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT COACHES?
Just as we reported that concierge healthcare was a positive change for coaches, the rise of personalized nutrition also has the power to accelerate and highlight the coaching profession further. Remember, this will be a new area of expertise for many health care providers to master, which the ANA report notes could be a challenge.
Equipping practitioners to provide personalized recommendations may not be feasible due to insufficient nutrition education in medical training and the added volume it will create to a practitioner’s existing workload.
If personalized nutrition is to be successful, people must be able to access the services provided. If it’s not your primary care provider, who remains? Dietitians, the current go-to nutrition professional within the healthcare team, would also require retraining, since conventional dietetic curriculums does not teach personalized nutrition. Dietitians typically have even shorter appointment times than their physician colleagues, existing heavy workload, and the responsibility to oversee hundreds of patients per week.
Sounds like a job for a coach, instead.
Recommending food and lifestyle changes as a prescription, pinpointing potential food intolerances, and connecting symptoms that would otherwise be noted in isolation of one another by a conventional practitioner are areas coaches have the skills and expertise to work within.
Personalized nutrition has the potential to bring modern day coaches just like you to the forefront of the healthcare system to provide effective education and make real, substantial change in the fight against chronic and diet-related illnesses.
Coaches also have a vital role to play in educating conventional healthcare practitioners on how to effectively apply personalized nutrition modalities to their practices. How long should appointments be? What kinds of questions should be asked?
These are the kind of things unknown and unfamiliar outside of coaching and integrative health circles. But these are the kind of questions modern day coaches like you have the answers to.
The healthcare landscape is changing fast. One thing is clear – in an era of rising medical costs and chronic diseases, the current way health, wellness, and lifestyle education is delivered is insufficient to meet demand. As the ANA stated, the “eat your fruits and vegetables” messaging is simply not working.
Personalized nutrition also puts food back at the center of the conversation. Humans spend endless hours researching and ensuring quality standards are always met.
Everything from the best fuel for your car and the most rated restaurant for dinner to the highest quality water filters, blenders, and all-natural skin products. Why should food be any different?
Most people recognize healthy habits versus unhealthy but fail to take into consideration the impact food choices have on long-term health. Personalized nutrition has the ability to revolutionize how food can be used as a first-line healing option in the fight against obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Modern day coaches, with their symptom-specific training and education, are the most qualified practitioner to lead this healthcare revolution.