Food Is Culture: How Precision Nutrition Helps People with Metabolic Disease Eat What They Love This Holiday Season

DayTwo hosted the keynote conference panel at @NationalAlliance this year that demonstrated the power of precision nutrition to drive remission of metabolic disease while allowing people to eat the foods they love during the holidays. A panel of endocrinologists, gastroenterologists, microbiologists, epidemiologists and leading-academics advocated for precision nutrition to be adopted by employers, payors and clinicians alike to change the course of metabolic disease. The science has changed and many organizations are playing catch-up.

Traditional dietary approaches to metabolic disease, including prediabetes, diabetes, clinical obesity and NAFLD use generic, one-size-fits all restrictive diets which not only are hard to sustain but also actually drive people deeper into their condition because generic diets don’t work for most people.  Beyond this, generic diets don’t take people’s culture and heritage into account.

When you think about the cultural ethnicity of patients, Kenneth Prewitt, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau, has said of the United States that “we’re on our way to becoming the first country in history that is literally made up of every part of the world.” So what does this mean for our food choices and the science of behavior change?

Let’s take carbohydrates for example, several established programs require that breads, pastas and potatoes are cut out completely. For a typical American diet, this creates a long shopping list of popular and easy-to-get-hold-of foods that make up the majority of our diet; pizza, hamburgers, french fries, sandwiches and grits. 

Food choices have a huge impact on living with Diabetics. Food is not just nutrition; it’s family, heritage, culture and social interaction. When a doctor uses  food prescriptions™ we can more easily protect a patient’s cultural preference and family interactions.

—Alan Spiro, M.D., F.A.C.N., Former Chief Medical Officer for Blue Health Intelligence

Then when it comes to the holidays, most of the sides are banned, from buttery mashed potatoes to candied yams and sweet potato casserole. While it’s commonly held that overconsumption of these foods is part of the problem, when eaten in moderation for many millions of people they do no harm.

DayTwo’s scientist, Professor Eran Segal, famously gave a TedTalk asking ‘What is the best diet for Humans?’. His study from the Weizmann Institute of Science recently cited as a foundation component in the National Institutes of Health $150 million strategic plan for precision nutrition, revealed that people respond differently to the same food, and what nutrition works best for one person may not work well at all for another person. 

Similar to human molecular biology, the DayTwo program is also completely unique. It uses gut microbiome profiling and combines this with machine learning to predict how an individual will react to specific foods and food combinations. Making it possible for the first time ever, to have a guilt-free and cheat-free holiday meal. No matter what your ethnic background or food culture. We’re calling it an American food revolution of the digital age.

The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions is a thought-leader within the space of Wellness Benefits for employers who have their employees’ best interests at heart. At a time when it’s never been more critical, their goal is to improve health and healthcare value across the whole country.

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