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Last update: May 2021

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Description of the research project

The project is organized into five work packages (WPs) (Figure 2).

WP1 and WP2 aim at better identifying risk parameters to be used for profiling at-risk individuals. On the one hand, WP1 investigates biological markers associated with increased T2D risk, and the specific sensitivity of individuals and population groups to the different diets over the life course. The investigations will be conducted jointly by epidemiologists, nutritionists, microbiologists and data scientists, based on existing data resources and experiments; the expected result is a better characterization of predictive markers of T2D risks. On the other hand, WP2 aims at better understanding the interactions between dietary patterns and social, economic and behavioral characteristics of individuals, by using cohorts and food purchases data sets. In addition, economic modeling, numerical methods and sociological studies will be used to estimate consumers’ reluctance to adopt healthier diet and identify factors that favor or undermine the adoption of preventive behaviors.

WP3 and WP4 will study and develop the tools required for tailoring dietary recommendations. WP3 aims at better describing the variety of quality characteristics of foods in relation to T2D prevention and will analyze sensory preferences of at-risk consumers. Focusing on critical food groups, collaborations between sensory and food scientists, nutritionists and economists will permit to analyze to what extent product substitutions by consumers between and within food categories can facilitate compliance with nutritional guidelines.  WP4 focuses on the development of digital and mobile devices able to collect data on current consumers’ diets and risk parameters and propose healthier food choices to individuals. An important goal is here to design a method to generate tailored recommendations by taking into account risk factors, individuals’ preferences and socioeconomic characteristics highlighted in WP1 to 4. This will require collaborations between nutritionists, economists and data scientists.

Lastly, WP5 aims to further test the potential impacts of tailored nutrition on biological markers, dietary changes, food and health preventive behaviors and the trade-offs between the different dimensions involved in food consumption, through two experiments set up in the second part of the project.


Figure 2. Overall structure of the research project