Finding the right diet for you and your goals is tough territory to navigate, and everyone has an opinion about which one is best (which they then promote as loudly as possible on social media). Truth is, there is no one-diet-fits-all plan, since every single person has a different metabolism, genetic makeup, health history and goals. Enter functional nutrition.
What Is Functional Nutrition?
Functional nutrition is similar to functional medicine in that it involves more than just the treatment of apparent symptoms. “A functional-medicine doctor looks at the big picture and evaluates the body as a whole to determine the root cause of [an issue],” says Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., CNS, board-certified nutrition specialist in Los Angeles, creator of the Metabolic Factor program, and author of The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth (Fair Winds Press, 2017), adding that functional medicine focuses on issue prevention as well as treatment.
Functional nutritionists work much in the same way, and specialists evaluate an individual with a different perspective than the norm. “In conventional nutrition, you talk about the food pyramid and counting calories and low-fat versus high-fat — topics that are now considered old school,” says Kylene Bogden, MS, RDN, CSSD, NBA performance dietitian and functional-sports nutrition expert in Cleveland. “Instead, functional nutritionists individualize nutrition for each person to help his or her own body function optimally.”