The quantified self movement is light years past the Obamacare kerfuffle over the cost of health care. In this world—where forget about nutrition science studies because the number of subjects in this human clinical trial is one (you)—you can track your daily steps on your iPhone, get a DNA test to see your detailed ethnic background and genetic health proclivities, assay your microbiome to see the status of your friendly gut bacteria, and even take a blood test to see in real time how you truly metabolize fats, protein and carbohydrates.
The next step in this brave new world of personalized nutrition launches this week.
Habit is a health portal featuring gene, microbiome and blood tests to hone in on the real individual. And then it provides both coaching services as well as fresh prepared meals customized to consumers and delivered to their door.
And, of course, there’s an app for that.
"We are a wellness company," said Neil Grimmer, founder and CEO of Habit, based in the Bay Area. Grimmer in 2013 sold premium children-targeted organic food and snacks company Plum Organics to Campbell’s Soup Company. "There has to be a simpler, more accessible way for others to learn what foods and nutrients their bodies crave to be the healthiest they can be."
Habit’s at-home test kit measures more than 60 different biomarkers, including nutrition-related blood markers, how these markers change in response to a proprietary metabolic challenge beverage, and genetic variations within one’s DNA. As part of the test kit, people consume a “metabolic milkshake” and get a blood draw 30 and 90 minutes later in order to see just exactly how the body metabolizes macronutrients.
The $299 package includes a digital dashboard where people can enter several body metrics including body weight, height, waist circumference as well as health goals. Habit’s proprietary and patent-pending approach, including the Nutrition Intelligence Engine, then synthesizes the data to determine the foods and nutrients that best fit each specific individual. Certified coaches help people meet goals through tailored plans, while a team of chefs prepare the personalized meal plan, delivered straight to one’s home.
Customized meal plans are chock full of options. Want three meals a day? Done. Have issues with breakfast? How about one single nutrient-dense breakfast per day? Looking for a detox or cleanout or a plan for just three weeks? Check.
“We’re at the beginning of a new era in nutrition—personalized nutrition, based on science, enabled by big data and computational mathematics that will change the way we eat forever,” said Leroy Hood, cofounder of The Institute for Systems Biology and a Habit science advisor. “Habit is combining decades of research on systems biology into the most complete view possible of your body’s specific nutritional needs and tolerances.”
Other advisors to Habit include Alan Green, MD, who is well known in organics and pediatrics circles. Green is Habit’s chief health officer. Others include Jessica Richmond, cofounder and CEO of uBiome, which tests people’s bacteria population along the gastrointestinal tract; Ben van Ommen, principal scientist at TNO, a systems biology firm and pioneer of personalized nutrition in Europe; and Josh Anthony, PhD, a performance researcher with Campbell’s.
“We believe we are on the edge of a new frontier when it comes to food,” Grimmer told New Hope Network. “Food can transform lives one meal at a time. Your health outcome, no matter how old you are, is totally in your hands through the power of personalized nutrition.”
A notable component of this matrix of technology, coaching and customized nutrition delivery services is simple communication—Habit translates the science in a way that anybody can understand.
“We need to create a movement that’s aspirational and inspirational,” said Grimmer. “People should be able to go to the grocery aisle and pick a product that fits in with their own personal body. We’re moving from one size fits all to a highly individualized approach of precision medicine. It becomes a conversation with how to build back nutrition intuition. Your body positively reacts to good food.”