Personalized Nutrition

Personalized Nutrition in the healthcare at different hospitals

FoodforCare implements foodconcepts at different hospitals across the Netherlands. The main focus is personalized product development for patients staying at the hospital. We want patients to experience a faster recovery. That's our main goal.

The relation with personalized nutrition and FoodforCare is healthcare. Needs of the patients are very important and play a huge role in the development of our dishes. Besides that, we take into account the advices the doctors and dieticians give us. Every patient needs another food supply, depending on their disease. This personalized food concept offered by Food for Care in hospitals results into a faster recovery. Personalized nutrition can not be missed in healthcare, because we are constantly working with our team on this. 

Food for Care applies different options to make sure personalized nutrition is being offered in the right way.

The cyclus with dishes is in line with the needs of the diseases. In case of an allergy, dishes can ben served free from ingredients that cause allergies and we also offer dishes in line with a preferred diet, for example vegan or halal.

The relation with personalized nutrition can be valuable on two different levels. Firstly, personalized nutrition can play a huge part on achieving health goals and preventing diseases. Secondly, it results into a faster recovery for sick patients. 

Dr. Manon van den Berg, Dietician and Theme leader Nutrition Radboudumc introduces this subject in the article 'Personalized Nutrition in the Healthcare'. 

Lotte Brands, Dietician FoodforCare


Personalized Nutrition in general healthcare
Food is a basic necessity of life, but it did not receive enough attention in general healthcare for a long time. Fortunately, this has changed in recent years, perhaps partly due to the arrival of COVID-19, which makes the importance of healthy nutrition and lifestyle increasingly recognized. 

Nutritional intervention during treatment vs nutrition to prevent disease
In the clinical setting, nutritional interventions generally aim to treat disease and/or limit or decrease malnutrition. Recently, such interventions have been expanded before and after hospital admittance. Some examples are personalized nutritional prehabilitation programs before surgery of nutritional rehabilitation after intensive medical treatment with or without exercise programs.
In addition, there is also an increasing interest in the rol of nutrition in the prevention of disease in general healthcare. Some examples are the combined lifestyle interventions (GLI) in which personal advice and guidance on nutrition and eating habits, healthy exercise, and behavioral change, aim to reach and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Personalized nutrition by the dietician
Dieticians are originally used to apply personalized nutrition in their treatment plans. In general, by using dietetic diagnostics whereas Somatic factors, Phycological factors, Social factors and Functional factors are used to determine the dietetic diagnosies and diet treatment plan. Somatic factors such as medical diagnoses and disease stage, laboratory tests, medication use, nutritional impact symptoms, and nutrition pattern/intake are evaluated. Psychological factors such as personal goals, depression, stress, Quality of life, loneliness and motivation will be included. Besides Social factors such as financial difficulties, work, education level, personal and family situation and social netwoork will be assessed. All this information together will add to the personalized nutritional intervention, whereas regular checks are planned to evaluate and adjust the nutritional intervention in time. 


Nutritional Assessment and e-health
Last decade 'nutritional assessment' has taken a refuge in dietetic treatment, which leads to an even more personalized nutritional intervention. We already measured individual energy requirements by nutritional formulas based on gender, age, body weight, and length but nowadays also indirect calorimetry can be used. This measurement evaluates accurate resting energy requirements. Actometry can be used to define the accurate energy needs for physical activity. Body composition is used more frequently to look inside fat-free mass vs fat mass which can be used to calculate protein requirement but also to evaluate nutritional treatment plans. (eg. DEXA, CT-scans, BODPOD, BIA, skinfold measurement)

Besides, functional measurements such as handgrip strength, gait speed, and ADL dependency can also be used to evaluate and adjust nutritional treatment plans. 
In recent years personalized nutritional interventions are also supported by 'blended care' by using e-health platforms with personalized nutritional information and e-health/apps for the patient and dietician to monitor patients' nutritional intake, body composition, functional outcome, and other parameters to stimulate patient empowerment. This will increase even further in the upcoming years. 

In summary, personalized nutritional intervention in general health care is not new but possibilities are growing!

Dr. Manon van den Berg, Dietician and Theme leader Nutrition
Radboudumc, Nijmegen

- Dietetic Pocket Guide @2021