Proposed guidelines to evaluate scientific validity and evidence for genotype-based dietary advice

Keith A. Grimaldi, Ben van Ommen, José M. Ordovas, Laurence D. Parnell, John C. Mathers, Igor Bendik, Lorraine Brennan, Carlos Celis-Morales, Elisa Cirillo, Hannelore Daniel, Brenda de Kok, Ahmed El-Sohemy, Susan J. Fairweather-Tait, Roz Fallaize, Michael Fenech, Lynnette R. Ferguson, Eileen R. Gibney, Mike Gibney, Ingrid M. F. Gjelstad, Jim KaputAnette S. Karlsen, Silvia Kolossa, Julie Lovegrove, Anna L. Macready, Cyril F. M. Marsaux, J. Alfredo Martinez, Fermin Milagro, Santiago Navas-Carretero, Helen M. Roche, Wim H. M. Saris, Iwona Traczyk, Henk van Kranen, Lars Verschuren, Fabio Virgili, Peter Weber, Jildau Bouwman

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Nutrigenetic research examines the effects of inter-individual differences in genotype on responses to nutrients and other food components, in the context of health and of nutrient requirements. A practical application of nutrigenetics is the use of personal genetic information to guide recommendations for dietary choices that are more efficacious at the individual or genetic sub-group level relative to generic dietary advice. Nutrigenetics is unregulated, with no defined standards, beyond some commercially adopted codes of practice. Only a few official nutrition-related professional bodies have embraced the subject, and, consequently, there is a lack of educational resources or guidance for implementation of the outcomes of nutrigenetic research. To avoid misuse and to protect the public, personalised nutrigenetic advice and information should be based on clear evidence of validity grounded in a careful and defensible interpretation of outcomes from nutrigenetic research studies. Evidence requirements are clearly stated and assessed within the context of state of the art “evidence based nutrition”. We have developed and present here a draft framework that can be used to assess the strength of the evidence for scientific validity of nutrigenetic knowledge and whether “actionable”. In addition, we propose that this framework be used as the basis for developing transparent and scientifically sound advice to the public based on nutrigenetic tests. We feel that although this area is still in its infancy, minimal guidelines are required. Though these guidelines are based on semi-quantitative data, they should stimulate debate on their utility. This framework will be revised biennially, as knowledge on the subject increases.
Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalGenes & Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017


  • genotype
  • dietary advice
  • gene–environment interaction
  • nutrigenetics
  • personalised nutrition
  • framework
  • genetic variants
  • health

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