If I had a dollar for every diet I’ve encountered in my life, I’d be a rich woman. Some diets, like Mayo Clinic, South Beach and Atkins, focus on weight loss. Others make suggestions for a healthy life. Mediterranean, microbiotic, vegetarian, raw food diets have all been touted as recipes for robust energy. I even recall a diet based upon a person’s blood type, though it has since been discredited. (Click)
With the mapping of the human genome, interest in diet and body chemistry has emerged once again, this time with more data. Habitat, a national startup, funded in large part by the Campbell Soup Company, is an attempt to personalize human diets. For $299, an individual can buy a home test kit which will provide enough data to produce, “individually tailored food recommendations.” (“Digital Diet,” by John Kell, Fortune, March 13, 2017, pg. 38.) The test begins with a 10 hour fast, followed by a nutritional shake, followed by a blood test and a mouth swab for DNA. The test looks for several markers including obesity genes and allergies, factors that could affect metabolism.
Habitat analyzes the data and provides guidelines for healthy eating. For an additional fee, the company will provide food counseling and a meal-kit service designed to support the individual’s profile.
The idea may sound a little too high-tech for some, but no one debunks the idea our human anatomy isn’t uniform. Some folks can’t eat peanuts. Some can’t eat gluten Maybe there’s some poor soul among us who can’t eat chocolate. Designing a diet to match our gut chemistry makes sense. Certainly, diabetics have long known the importance of balancing the ratio of protein, fat and carbohydrates with each meal. Habitat adds DNA information. As writer John Kell predicts, “When we look back on this period of time when we thought we should all eat the same thing, we will view that as the dark ages of nutrition.”