The world is currently facing a Nutritional Transition, which has been onset by an obesogenic food environment resulting from a global adoption of the Western diet. Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome are now collectively responsible for almost 70% of all deaths worldwide.
It is therefore the overall objective of Stance4Health to ‘redirect’ the 3rd Nutritional Transition through adoption of better personalised nutrition based on the use of smart mobile technologies as well as tailored food production, which will optimize the gut microbiota activity. A set of new tools developed within the project will allow for an adoption of healthy, pleasant and sustainable dietary patterns similar to the Mediterranean Diet (MD), while also encouraging citizen engagement for an improved understanding of healthy lifestyle.

Over the course of 4 years, Stance4Health will set out to accomplish these six specific objectives:

1. Definition of a high-quality metabolic network of the human gut microbiota and insights into how the network is affected by foods and culinary practices. The outcome of this objective will serve as the foundation for the novel tools developed further along this project including the mobile app whose dietary advice will be based on the nutritional needs linked to the human gut microbiota.

2. Development of food databases to be implemented the mobile app. Information on raw/cooked foods as well as the composition of typical dishes of three European countries (Germany, Greece and Spain), ready to eat foods, and foodstuffs sold in retailers, super- and hypermarkets will be gathered systematically and structured/processed to build the backbone of the app. Additionally, an image database of raw/cooked foods, their portion sizes, and barcodes of foods sold in retailers-supermarkets will be set up.

3. Development of a dietetic software (mobile app) for consumers (i-Diet). The app will combine the basic functions of commercial nutritional software with enhanced features designed to help consumers achieve their optimal health and well-being by adopting a long-term healthy and personalised diet. This includes data on the composition of the foods present in each country, food images and a voice recognition module to allow dietary assessment and advice when buying food (depending on the user’s health status, microbiota composition, food preferences, lifestyle, budget, etc.). Additionally, i-Diet will be connected to a wearable device (InBody BAND 2) that will monitor body composition, physical activity, sleeping hours, etc., with the objective to empower consumers to successfully adhere to a long-lasting healthy diet. Lastly, GPS positioning and mobile connectivity will allow i-Diet to extract information from the surrounding food environment and offer alternatives to its users on where and what to eat.

4. Design of customized foods for specific (vulnerable) target groups (celiac disease, food allergies, overweight). The customized production of foods and nutraceuticals for specific population groups like healthy but overweight adults, or children with coeliac disease or food allergy will strengthen Stance4Health’s approach to tackle NCDs and improve personalised nutrition. Different cereal-derived foods will be designed by including different doses of new prebiotics like tannins or riboflavin, aiming for a personalised modulation of gut microbiota activity at the individual level.

5. Citizen engagement with personalised nutrition. Making full use of the possibilities presented in the social sciences and humanities, a range of consumer studies will establish how different factors influence personalised nutrition uptake such as variations in the level of coaching, ethical factors (i.e. use of personal data) or intersectionality (i.e. gender, race, class, etc.), and will allow the dietetic software to be optimally adjusted to differences in consumer food preferences. This includes the study of the economic impact of changes in consumer spending on food and the impact of (digital) technology on food producers and retailers.

6. Validation of the smart personalised nutrition (SPN) strategies in adult and children populations, in a near to operational environment. A nutritional intervention with adult people (normal weight and overweight) and children (normal weight, overweight, with coeliac disease or allergy to different foods) will be performed in three different countries (Germany, Greece and Spain) in order to validate the app i-Diet, as well as the tailored production and delivery of cereal products and the use of metabolomics-based diagnostics for the analysis of gut microbiota activity. A pre/post intervention observational phase will be used to assess the impact of the technology on the subjects' health.

In a first step, Stance4Health will develop a novel ICT application (the mobile app i-Diet) that will provide individualized counselling about what foods are more recommendable to food retailers and super- or hypermarkets according to the overall needs/preferences of consumers (e.g., health status, gut microbiota composition, lifestyle, race, food preferences, and socio-economic status).

In a second step, Stance4Health will develop customized cereal-derived foods, individualised dietary supplements and nutraceuticals for (vulnerable) target groups mentioned above (overweight, coeliac disease, food allergy), through the use of an in vitro diagnostic test to evaluate gut microbiota activity and the wearable device InBody BAND 2 to help users monitor their body weight over time (Figure 1.2.1). In addition, i-Diet will be designed as an innovative and easy tool ecosystem for dietary assessment, allowing measurement of dietary intake in an easy way. All of these technologies will be developed and integrated in Stance4Health by means of preparing an i-Diet prototype, testing new vegetable extracts to produce cereal-derived foods for the target groups and a large-scale validation of all tools developed (mobile app, wearable, new foods and nutraceuticals, in vitro metabolomics diagnostic test). Stance4Health will include research activities towards better understanding how food preferences, lifestyle and socio-economic status of consumers influence the sustaining of diets in the long-term. To ensure the success of the technology-based actions, the level of coaching, ethical factors (i.e. use of personal data) or gender will be taken into account in order to increase citizen engagement and acceptance of personalised nutrition.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 816303.
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