Personalised diet: why is it important?BY PIETRO PAGANINI

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By correlating the most recent results of scientific research in the nutritional and genetic fields with the exponential evolution of technology, we can personalize our diet and lifestyle. This overcomes the ideological approach to physical and mental health and the consequent risk of a universal diet and the iPhonization of the food industry. It is the epiphany of diversity and free choice that urgently needs to be protected by new rules for ensuring the living together of humans, technology, and scientific discoveries.


The most advanced results of genetic, nutrition and metabolic research, as well as the exponential evolution of digital technologies, can help us know our state of health and well-being in real-time. From here, we can focus on what we might need to improve our psychophysical conditions. Therefore, we are finally able to develop precision diets and, more generally, a personalized lifestyle based on our most peculiar needs.

We can overcome the ideological approach to physical and mental health and the consequent risk of universal diets, as well as the iPhonization of the food industry. 
The devices we wear or that surround us will be increasingly connected (IoT). Already today, the smartest devices, such as those we wear on our wrists (no longer just watches but health devices that also tell the time), can read many of our vital parameters and the state of the environment around us. For example, we can know our glucose levels, monitor our heart rate, as well as measure the calories we are consuming. 
  • Soon, we will have in real-time all the values of our blood, urine, and any other factor important to our physical and mental well-being (measuring mechanisms related to the brain will be a radical breakthrough). 
  • In the meantime, our DNA or the characteristics of our metabolism will be available at negligible costs.

Algorithms and artificial intelligence platforms installed in dedicated applications will cross-reference all this data with information about our daily activities. Technology will help us predict how much energy to consume for each category of nutrients, fats, sugars, proteins, vitamins, etc., based on our current state and what we can expect in the near and distant future.   


This collaboration between us and intelligent digital objects is a fact of the present, not a dystopian narrative of the future. It is an inexorable process that should not be stopped but regulated.

Each of us will have, if we want, a personalized or precision diet, or rather a personalized lifestyle based on the intersection of our DNA, metabolism, the peculiarity of our activities, and our actual eating and physical behavior. Technology will help us nourish ourselves and live better, provided we use it only by exercising our critical spirit.


The personalized diet recognizes the deepest diversity that characterizes each of us. Therefore, it should help us improve our well-being as well as the well-being of the animated and inanimate environment around us. And it will do so through the exchange of knowledge between conscious individuals and advanced but unconscious technological tools.

We will thus contribute to reducing urgent global problems such as obesity and related diseases, food waste, and therefore favoring a sustainable and nature-positive ecosystem.
With precision diet, many of the ideological factors that have characterized scientific communities’ orientations and policies against obesity and in favor of healthier and more sustainable diets over the past centuries will be overcome. 
  • So far, part of the scientific community has erroneously focused on the individual nutrients we consume (saturated fats and sugar), avoiding a more comprehensive approach that concerns lifestyle, of which nutrition is a part, and therefore, behavior and education. The problem is not what we eat, but how we live, i.e., the lifestyle that characterizes each of us.
  • Universal diets planned by an élite of ideological scientists for many who are denied freedom of choice through illusory tools such as numerous nutritional claims and deceptive packaging will be overcome.

Thus, the risk of witnessing the imposition of a global diet, i.e., the iPhonization of nutrition, will be overcome. The urgency of creating economies of scale is driving some industrial giants to exploit ideological health – the universal healthy diet for all – to impose a few products with well-defined tastes.

There is more. The objects that help us design our lifestyle will be connected to the rest of our things, such as the spaces we inhabit (temperature, lights, air quality, sounds, etc.), including our food stores. That is, we will know if what we need is available or will need to be purchased to satisfy our lifestyle. 

So, a hive of commercial activities can provide us with what we desire or need. The food will be delivered to us even before we discover the need.

The extraordinary thing about this near future is that we can consciously choose the different degrees of automation of processes and therefore our passive or proactive involvement
We will have to choose whether the supermarket will deliver our purchases following what artificial intelligence has elaborated, or if we will make the choice.
It is obvious that a radical change awaits us around the corner, an extraordinary opportunity that will allow us to recognize and express our deepest individuality. It is the epiphany of diversity versus the homogenization to which the most antiquated mass consumerism has accustomed us. It is the emancipation of the individual against the one-size-fits-all food totalitarianism. 
  • Science and technology are thus critical tools that individuals use to know and elaborate new knowledge through individual choices.
  • Attention must be paid because technology is not good or bad, but neither is it neutral, and it must be used in a context of rules that regulate its operation to protect individuals’ free choice. Algorithms and artificial intelligence must favor individual choices and, therefore, promote access to knowledge as much as possible. They must strengthen data protection, which, with access to DNA and lifestyle, offers an increasingly intimate knowledge of each individual.
A geopolitical issue arises, therefore. While waiting for global rules to be found, which are very difficult, 
  • Europe shall promote investments in scientific research in personalized diets 
  • and in the development of AI and IoT, fostering the birth of new startups. 
If this is not done, China, the United States, and rich Middle Eastern countries will do it, perhaps in a poorly transparent regulatory context and with control and domination purposes.

Image credit: Angie Wang for the NYT

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