Steven H. Zeisel
Nutrition Research Institute
Department of Nutrition, University of North Carolina,
Kannapolis, North Carolina 28081, USA

Keywords: precision nutrition, personalized nutrigenetics, microbiome, epigenetics, environmental exposures

People differ in their requirements for and responses to nutrients and bioactive molecules in the diet. Many inputs contribute to metabolic heterogeneity (including variations in genetics, epigenetics, microbiome, lifestyle, diet intake, and environmental exposure). Precision nutrition is not about developing unique prescriptions for individual people but rather about stratifying people into different subgroups of the population on the basis of biomarkers of the above-listed sources of metabolic variation and then using this stratification to better estimate the different subgroups’ dietary requirements, thereby enabling better dietary recommendations and interventions. The hope is that we will be able to subcategorize people into ever-smaller groups that can be targeted in terms of recommendations, but we will never achieve this at the individual level, thus, the choice of precision nutrition rather than personalized nutrition to designate this new field. This review focuses mainly on genetically related sources of metabolic heterogeneity and identifies challenges that need to be overcome to achieve a full understanding of the complex interactions between the many sources of metabolic heterogeneity that make people differ from one another in their requirements for and responses to foods. It also discusses the commercial applications of precision nutrition.

Citation: Annu. Rev. Food Sci. Technol. 2020. 11:15.1–15.22;

Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, Volume 11 is March 25, 2020.
Please see: for revised estimates.


Posted: February 24, 2020