Purpose of review
To understand how the principles of foodomics could improve the assessment of the nutritional status and needs.
The knowledge that metabolic pathways may be altered in individuals with genetic variants in the presence of certain dietary exposures offers great potential for personalized nutrition advice, and epigenetics and nutrigenetics have been used to assess the need and status of specific nutrients. MicroRNAs profiling and genome-wide association studies have also contributed. Since nutritional effects of complex diets emerge only if dietary assessments are validated, nutrimetabolomics offers the validation tools on the basis of food intake biomarkers.
Apart from the provision, via a high-throughput approach, of objective measurable parameters to be used as biomarkers, a consensus must be reached on the definition of health and wellness. Health (and wellness) can be considered a position having specific coordinates in a multiple-dimension space, and many factors contribute to our movements in this space. Foodomics is the science aiming at studying, through the evaluation of different biomarkers, the entity and the direction of the movements across the healthy or unhealthy space, developing models that are able to explain how food components, food, diet and lifestyle can influence our trajectory toward the healthy condition. Only considering the ‘health space’ as a multidimensional one, we have the possibility of understanding the complex relationship linking nutrition and health, and of reaching healthier conditions by personalized balanced diets in a foodomics vision.