The Problematic Rise of Personalized Nutrition
These nutrition apps may create an unhealthy amount of worry
Chrissy Kinsella was looking for a more personalized approach to her health. "You know, what is good for you as an individual may not necessarily be good for the next person," she said. So she reached for a subscription to Zoe—a personalized nutrition service cofounded by Tim Spector, a celebrity scientist and a genetic epidemiologist at King's College London. Kinsella paid the £299 ($365) for a testing kit and later received a bright yellow package in the mail: a bundle of vials, patches and muffins.
By testing, scoring and monitoring how you respond to different foods, Zoe said, it can help with a whole host of problems. Its personalized recommendations can help you "reach a healthy weight," "feel less bloated" and "avoid chronic health issues," claims its website. The program can even help with menopause, Zoe said.
But doctors are more ambivalent. Sure, getting people to think critically about what they eat can be beneficial, but scoring and monitoring someone’s diet could lead to unnecessary health concerns or even disordered eating. British doctors say they have seen perfectly healthy patients with concerns about their blood sugar control prompted by readings in their Zoe app.
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