Precision nutrition

The lines of research that converge in the area of Precision Nutrition have as main goal the design of new personalised nutritional strategies that allow to improve the prevention and treatment of the main diseases of the 21st century related to diet and lifestyle. In fact, in recent years, the group has developed novel nutritional strategies aimed at obesity, diabetes, non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis and other pathologies related to ageing and inflammation.

Researchers in this line investigate the different factors that contribute to metabolic heterogeneity, including variations in Genetics, epigenetics, the microbiome, lifestyle, dietary intake, psychological factors, physical exercise and environmental exhibition .

To this end, special attention is paid to:

  • Genetic and epigenetic traits, applying NGS sequencing technologies

  • Gut microbiota composition through metagenomics

  • The various phenotypic and metabolic markers, including anthropometric, biochemical and inflammatory markers, as well as the response to stressors

  • Biomarkers of intake and metabolic status, using metabolomics techniques

  • The characteristics of per diem expenses, ration size and eating behaviour and habits, as well as the barriers and facilitators of behavioural change

  • Other subjective and modifiable factors, such as psychological and behavioural, cultural, socio-economic, physical activity, anxiety and stress-related factors.

The integration of all this information, especially the pan-omic data , will reveal the genetic, epigenetic, microbiota, metabolic and psychological profiles responsible for predisposition to various diseases, leading to the development of precision nutrition that will provide the right treatment on an individualised basis.

To this end, algorithms and decision trees are developed to predict the risk of disease incidence, the metabolic response and the individual's ability to adhere to a given dietary treatment. These results allow the development of tools for the individualised diagnosis of nutritional and health status, and the subsequent personalised nutritional recommendation.

On the other hand, it is also goal of this area the research nutritional in vulnerable populations (elderly, children,...) and in special physiological situations (athletes, pregnancy, breastfeeding,...).


Lines of research

This line studies the adaptation and application of tools and technologies for the improvement of eating behaviour (e.g. for portion control and speed of intake), as well as the development, validation and application of new technologies and dietary instruments focused on weight control, improvement of satiety and enhancement of self-control mechanisms in overweight patients.

The aim is to gain a better understanding of the behavioural factors that lead to excessive consumption of energy and certain types of food, in order to develop new strategies for a more successful approach to obesity based on sustainable changes in the patient's eating behaviour. 

The goal of this line is the design of new nutritional strategies based on phenotypic and genotypic profiles, more personalised and with greater fees of success in combating obesity and preventing associated comorbidities.

These strategies include the application of information from omics technologies, which provide knowledge of genetic, metabolic and microbiota characteristics, in order to design more personalised strategies. It also includes the use of new bioactive compounds, probiotics and functional foods, both those developed at the CIN and others from the agri-food and nutraceutical industries.

It also applies aspects related to eating behaviour, chrononutrition, metabolic and psychological profiles, inflammatory and oxidative stress markers, as well as different strategies based on physical exercise, anxiety and stress management, or types of fasting.

goal This line analyses the interactions between Genetics, epigenetics, nutrition, microbiota, metabolism and lifestyle, with the aim of identifying biomarkers related to individual susceptibility to develop obesity and related pathologies, predicting individualised response to different treatments, and identifying new compounds and probiotics that may be useful in the prevention and treatment of these pathologies. The integration of all this information will provide a complete picture of the potential health risks and individual needs of each individual.

The aim of these tools is to design and commercialise tests based on omics technologies that allow for a personalised approach to the disease:

- identify genetic variants (SNPs) associated with susceptibility to various health problems and metabolic response to per diem expenses. 

- quantify methylation at various DNA sites (CpG) associated with inflammation, ageing, metabolic complications and metabolic response.

- characterise faecal microbiota composition, diversity and dysbiosis status.

- identify metabolomic patterns that are associated with particular metabolic risks and responses to different foods or dietary patterns.



Funding Entity: department de Universidad, Innovación y Transformación Digital. Government of Navarra. Grants to Technology Centres and Research Bodies to carry out collaborative research and development projects (call for proposals 2020).

Funding: 272.331,58 €.

researcher main: Eva Almirón Roig

Consortium: University of Navarra, CNTA

Duration: 16/06/2020 - 30/11/2022


Obesity is a global public health problem associated with multiple medical complications and a risk factor for infections such as COVID-19, leading to high public health costs. It is therefore of paramount importance to develop methods to treat overweight and obese people effectively and cost-effectively, especially in the long term deadline. One of the problems core topic of obesity lies in habits that lead to excessive energy consumption, notably the intake of too large portions or portions of starches, fats and sugars, to the detriment of vegetables and legumes. In response to this challenge, as part of two previous projects (PT028 "PORTIONS" and PT008 "PORTIONS-2") our group developed and validated a new portion plate prototype to educate and help overweight people to consume balanced amounts of the different food groups from the per diem expenses. Although the plate was well accepted and confirmed as a promising tool for weight management, it needs to be optimised and further evaluated in the overweight population before being tested in large-scale clinical trials at programs of study . Moreover, the transfer of the concept of "fixed portions" to other contexts, such as ready meals, offers the opportunity to explore the suitability of technologies for future industrial applications, e.g. for the development of new sustainable fixed portion food products and tableware. In addition, an opportunity opens up for the research of other types of tools to support intake monitoring, allowing an estimation of the nutritional and/or caloric value of the dish being consumed. On this basis, the overall goal of PORTIONS-3 is to optimise the design and enhance the impact of fixed portion instruments to improve their effectiveness in overweight people. Moreover, in partnership with the National Centre for Food Technology (CNTA), the suitability of technological strategies for future industrial applications of the concept of balanced portions in other contexts will be explored.

Reference: 0011-1411-2019-000033 Alinfa

Funding Entity: department de development Económico. Government of Navarre. Grants for the implementation of strategic projects of research and development 2019-2021. challenge 4. ALPES. Personalised and Sustainable Food.

researcher Principal: Dr. Santiago Navas-Carretero

Consortium: IRIGOYEN COMEDOR SALUDABLE S.L. (leader), INDUSTRIAS ALIMENTARIAS DE NAVARRA S.A., HARIVENASA S.L., APERITIVOS Y EXTRUSIONADOS S.A., ALIMENTOS SANYGRAN S.L., Centro Nacional de Tecnología y Seguridad Alimentaria (CNTA), University of Navarra (Nutrition Research Centre and UNAV genomic platform), Public University of Navarra (group ALTER).


Childhood overweight and obesity fees are increasing at an alarming rate, with Spain's being one of the highest in Europe. Here, one in five children - between 18 and 21% - are obese or overweight, according to the latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO). One of the most immediate consequences of childhood obesity is the emergence of children and adolescents with diabetes subject 2, hypercholesterolemia and high blood pressure, which predisposes them to serious cardiovascular diseases from childhood onwards. Excess weight also affects the bones and the locomotor system as a whole, reducing tolerance to physical exercise and causing respiratory problems. Furthermore, it should be borne in mind that being overweight can have a negative effect on the emotional development of children and adolescents, with feelings of inferiority and leave self-esteem. They may also feel rejected and tend to isolate themselves.

There are two main causes for this situation: inadequate diets and sedentary lifestyles. Unfortunately in Spain, the Mediterranean per diem expenses , the nutritional outline that financial aid helps to ward off cancer, fight obesity or prevent cardiovascular diseases, has fallen into disuse. Paradoxically, this Mediterranean per diem expenses is practised more in northern Europe than in southern Europe. Several factors have influenced this situation: lack of time to prepare menus and cook food at home, the economic crisis affecting the shopping basket and price pressure from school canteens, lack of awareness among families of the impact of per diem expenses on health, etc. Thus, Spanish children's diets are currently rich in protein from meat and milk, in free sugars from pastries and sugary drinks, among others, and poor in fruit, vegetables, nuts and pulses.

It is therefore necessary and urgent to reverse this situation and promote to establish healthy eating habits from childhood, and to do so, a number of challenges need to be addressed:

Children's preferences that lead them to accept or reject certain foods. They are both innate and learned and vary considerably with age and experience. Exposure to different tastes at critical periods of development has a profound influence on children's food choices. In addition, children's preferences also reflect their immediate environment. Economic, social, psychological or even environmental factors influence eating.

Lack of knowledge and training on the impact of per diem expenses on children's health.


Diversity of the child population: allergies, intolerances, etc,

The project ALINFA aims to address these challenges, generating knowledge, tools and solutions to improve access to healthy food for children aged 3 to 12, both through school meals and home meals. The project is based on a participatory approach in which children collaborate and participate in the process of creating the developments of project. The knowledge of their tastes and preferences, as well as the knowledge of the factors that influence their preferences, will be basic tools for the development of the project. In addition, special focus will be placed on the transfer of results with the aim of goal facilitating the population's access to the developments of project, maximising their impact.

Acronym: CORALS

researcher principal: Dr. Santiago Navas-Carretero

Funding entity: CIBER-Obn (ISCIII)

Childhood obesity has been recognised by WHO as a priority in the Global Action Plan 2013-2020 for the prevention and control of chronic diseases.

The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity in Europe is high, with a north-south gradient with a higher prevalence in southern countries. The causes of obesity are multifactorial. The main goal of the present study is to identify risk factors for childhood obesity, as well as to quantify the risk of each of them through a longitudinal cohort of children initially aged 3 to 6 years, which is intended to be followed up for a 10-year average .

As specific objectives, the aim is to:

  1. To assess the associations between perinatal risk factors, socioeconomic, cultural and environmental factors and the risk of developing obesity and its comorbidities;

  2. To assess associations between lifestyles (diet, beverage consumption, physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, sleep) and the risk of developing obesity and its co-morbidities;

  3. To assess the association between genetic polymorphisms, metabolomic and metagenomic profiles (determined by omics techniques) and the development of obesity and its comorbidities.

Registration to enrol your child(ren)

Acronym: PREVIEW

Reference: 312057 (Grant agreement)

Principal Investigators: Prof. Anne Raben (Coordinator); Prof. J. Alfredo Martínez (Spain)

The project is a large-scale, multinational diabetes prevention study funded by the European Union's 7th Programme framework , Australia's National Health and Medical Research committee , New Zealand's Health Research committee , Canada's Department of Higher Education, Research and Science, and the Cambridge Weight Plan. 

Further information

This project has received funding from the European Union's 7th Research Programme framework , development and test .  

Ref. No: PT028

Funding Entity: department de development Económico. Government of Navarre. Projects of research and development. Call for proposals 2018 Technology Centres. Strategic sector Health (IV).

researcher principal: Dr. Eva Almiron Roig.

Participants: UNIVERSITY OF NAVARRA (Nutrition Research Centre, Personalised Nutrition line), UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL (Dept. of Experimental Psycology), LONDON SCHOOL OF HYGIENE AND TROPICAL MEDICINE (Dept. of Medical Statistics), HERBA RICEMILLS S.L., PRECISE PORTIONS NUTRITION LEARNING SYSTEMS.

Duration: 2018-2019.

budget97.725 (32.548 € year one, 65.177 € year two)

One of the problems core topic of obesity lies in eating behaviour, in particular habits that lead to excessive energy consumption among which unbalanced portion consumption stands out. Previous programs of study indicate that fixed portion plates may be an acceptable, potentially effective and economical method for weight control however a solid phase of development and programs of study validation is required to optimise their design and corroborate their effectiveness. The main goal of this project is to develop and validate a new portion plate prototype designed for the Spanish population, using official dietary recommendations and the support of a team multidisciplinary plus state-of-the-art technologies (e.g. eyetracking device), to educate and help overweight people to consume balanced portions, in particular of carbohydrates, proteins and vegetables. The phases of project are:

  1. design of a fixed portion plate prototype adapted to the Mediterranean population, on partnership with international dieticians, psychologists and chemical engineers.

  2. Validation of the prototype in healthy overweight and non-overweight men and women, comparing the effect to that of a conventional plate.

  3. Development and evaluation of a new methodological platform, including the eyetracking device, for the assessment of eating behaviour in humans.

Through this project it is hoped to obtain a product capable of educating and helping overweight people to consume balanced portions, which is acceptable, economical and easy to use, for large-scale application (e.g. through the NHS), as a low-cost tool and reducing the time of contact of the health professional with the patient.

Funding Entity: Government of Navarre Industry

Ref. No: PT008 

Principal Investigator: Eva Almirón Roig

Obesity is a global public health problem associated with multiple co-morbidities and leading to high public health costs. One of its issues core topic lies in eating behaviour, in particular excessive energy consumption, which is closely linked to the consumption of unbalanced portions. In response to this problem, the catering sector has started to market tableware designed to try to reduce calorie content and adjust portions in home recipes, however, most of these instruments lack a theoretical basis and their scientific validity is still doubtful. Based on programs of study pilot in our group in obese British patients using calibrated plates, the project PORTIONS (call for proposals 2018) was proposed in order to develop and validate a prototype fixed portion plate for the Mediterranean population. The main goal was to have a validated tool for personalised, versatile and cost-effective dietary treatment, with the possibility of direct application in the National Health Service and in programs of study of intervention as well as as as tool educational in public health campaigns, pharmacy office and consultancy service nutritional. The second goal was to generate new knowledge on cognitive and physiological processes involved in the control of intake for transfer to industry, e.g. to improve the nutritional composition and packaging of pre-cooked dishes, design of new dietary tools and the development/optimisation of ICTs for lifestyle improvement. During the first year of PORTIONS the prototype has been designed and produced working with an international team and a methodological platform with state-of-the-art technologies has been set up, with which the prototype has been pilot tested and its validation initiated. The proposed objectives for 2019 include fill in validation of the prototype in 94 healthy men and women with and without overweight, comparing the effect to that of a conventional plate; validation of the protocol video coding of data for eyetracking; carrying out quality control of the data collected, and carrying out the pending physiological, psychological and cognitive determinations plus descriptive and advanced statistical analyses. 

Funding entity: research and development collaborative projects, call 2020, Government of Navarra.

reference letter: PC131-132

researcher principal: Fermín Milagro


Team researcher


→ Verónica Ciáurriz → Ana Lorente
→ María Zabala  
→ Adriana Andrés Arija
→ Sergio Esteban Echeverría


Begoña de Cuevillas

Ignacio Goyache

Paola M. Mogna

Ana Luz Tobaruela

Maialen Uriz

Natalia Vázquez

Jaime Alonso-Allende




Fermín Milagro Yoldi

manager from area

Fermín Milagro Yoldi

C/ Irunlarrea, 1

31008 Pamplona, Spain

+34 948 425600