I tell you a real situation: Some years ago, I was chatting with a friend, when she looked at me very serious and said: I am not be able to lose weight! My doctor says that vegetables fattens me and the worst thing is that I love it! In that moment, those words seemed so absurd that I stayed quiet. Today, almost 20 years later, I have understood that my friend (a clear visionary) was speaking about genomic nutrition o personalized nutrition.

As we know, in the studies of dietary intervention, the results are the average value of all individual who have participated in the study. But, what would we find out if the results would be analyzed individually? In some people, a change in diet wouldn´t feel any effect (hypo-responders), others would feel a medium effect (normo-responders) and others would feel an effect greater than expected (hyper-responders).

During the last decades, we have passed from believing that diet produces the same effect in all individuals to accept that changes in diet are partly caused by the inter-individual differences in the human genome.

And that is precisely what we have lived in projects about “health food” developed in CARTIF. If we look back, we have more than 20 years designing functional foods and even collaborating in intervention studies in humans with the objective of verifying its effectiveness.

The project CENIT HIGEA (2007-2010) was undoubtedly the most important in the design of food with beneficial effects on health. In this project we feel ourselves as Dr. Brand on “interstellar: we were missing variables to solve optimally our trials of intervention.” We had not contemplated that the response to food varies depending on the specific characteristics of each person!

In fact, in a trial of intervention realized in HIGEA, we got that the consumption of a bar enriched in Omega-3 only produced an improvement in the lipid profile and the inflammatory pattern in men but not in women who participated in the study.

With these antecedents, in the year 2014 we began to work in the Project PRIMICIA. As its name suggests, for the first time, we get ingredients and healthy food (cookies, juices, jams, and pasta) bearing in mind the genetic profile of the population. It is necessary to mention that although the advances in the knowledge and technologies developed about of the human genome have been spectacular during the last years, the nutritional genomic is still a recent discipline and there is some confusion.

The project PRIMICIA is just the beginning in the industrial development of effective food to improve the health of people in a personalized way. I propose complete the famous phrase “You are what you eat” saying: “You are what you eat because this determines which genes are expressed” and as I also have the gene “mother”, I would add: “so be careful!”

María Morillo Cabello
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