Contributed by Barb Reece, Chief Operating Officer of the Institute For Personalized Therapeutic Nutrition (IPTN). Barb’s passionate about the value of nutrition for health – learn more below! 

Metabolic syndrome, including diabetes, is an enormous problem for Canada. A recent Alberta study forecast that anyone born after 1997 will have a 50% chance of getting type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. For our Indigenous peoples, the rate is 80%. Most of these people will take medications for life without knowing that they have a choice. “Personalized therapeutic nutrition” is an emerging term used to describe any individually-tailored nutritional intervention designed to reduce or reverse patient-specific metabolic dysfunctions, medical conditions or associated symptoms.

When it comes to diets and lifestyle, it is increasingly clear that one size does not fit all. However, the more we learn about what genetic and metabolic factors determine why some people respond to a certain type of diet and lifestyle intervention while others do not, the more powerful a tool personalized therapeutic nutrition can become. The public is way ahead of our health care system in choosing a “food-first” approach, but may need help to judge the scientific quality of nutrition information available. Even if someone is highly successful in losing weight, they may face safety issues if medications are not monitored and adjusted to reflect metabolic improvement.

On Change Day 2017, the IPTN challenges all health professionals to ask their patients, “Have you ever thought about taking a ‘food-first’ approach to your health and using nutrition to manage a medical condition?” and then listen carefully to what they tell you. And we’re pledging to talk about this emerging science to those who work with patients!