Dr Isabel Garcia Perez
Five minutes with Dr Isabel Garcia Perez, Lecturer in Precision & Systems Medicine
1. Tell us about your research in a nutshell
I am passionate about how the diet contributes to the promotion of health. My research focuses on understanding and developing analytical tools that can contribute to improving nutritional management at the individual and population level. For example, one of the tools I am currently developing is a urine test, which can give an instant profile of an individual’s diet and indicate how healthy it is.
2. What impact could your research have for our industry partners?
There is an unmet need to understand how people respond to diet, especially in the area of non-communicable diseases, and how we can make these diets more effective."
When we monitor people’s dietary habits, we rely on self-reported methodologies such as food diaries, however, there is an estimated underreporting error between 33% and 80%. People on the whole are just not realistic about what they eat. Because these methods make it more difficult to know what people eat, it is very difficult to understand the precise impact of diet on the prevention of non-communicable disease such as diabetes, coronary heart disease or cancer.
I have demonstrated for the first time using the analytical tools I’ve developed that by investigating the urinary composition of individuals it is possible to objectively assess what people really eat and monitor dietary habits over time.
I have also demonstrated that people respond differently to the same diet so one size definitely does not fit all in terms of nutrition. The tools I’ve developed therefore also account for inter-personal variability in response to diet.
There is an unmet need to understand how people respond to diet, especially in the area of non-communicable diseases, and how we can make these diets more effective. My research aims to meet this need and my main goal is to be able to provide a tool for personalised nutrition in order to augment nutritional advice targeted at reduction of non-communicable disease.
3. Who/what sectors would be interested in hearing more about your research?
- The food and nutrition industry
- Athletes and those operating in the sport nutrition sector
- The agriculture sector
- Researchers involved in investigating cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity or the microbiome
- Health policy makers and regulators