Forget Coffee, Nestle Wants to Develop the "Nespresso" of Nutrients

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For many of us, turning on the coffee machine is as natural as waking up in the morning. Now imagine that instead of your morning cuppa joe, that machine is brewing up your daily serving of vitamins and minerals, formulated specifically for your individual dietary needs. If the scientists at Nestle get their way, that high-tech scenario may one day be a reality.

It sounds like something out of The Jetsons, but Bloomberg.com reports this week that Nestle's Institute of Health Sciences is hard at work on the project, currently going by the code name "Iron Man." 

Nestle, of course, is the company that brought us the Nespresso single-serving coffee machine. And at some point, its research division decided that this type of device may work for dispensing personalized supplements as well. "Nestle envisions feeding nutrient profiles into a machine that could create tailored foods or supplements with the right levels of, say, zinc or vitamin K," the Bloomberg article states. "The nutrients might come as a powder in a capsule like Nespresso’s coffees."

First, though, the scientists have to develop a diagnostic test that can effectively analyze people's diets, and find a way to make it affordable enough for people to actually use. (Today it costs between $50 and $100 just to get levels of one nutrient tested.) Nestle estimates this technology could happen in five to 10 years, although other researchers seem to think it's even farther off.   

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If "Iron Man" does happen, it could mean the end of generic multivitamins, which were shown to have no clear health benefits (and possibly even be harmful) in several studies published last year. Instead, we'd each take a supplement that contains only the nutrients we're lacking in the quantities we need. So the same way you can decide today that you want dark roast while your guy opts for French vanilla, one day you may be able to churn out morning beverages that account for your vitamin D deficiency and his low magnesium levels. 

This is pretty wild news, and could have implications on the way people take vitamins worldwide. Of course, the healthiest way to get essential nutrients is to eat a balanced diet that includes lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein—and that's something that no supplement (even one that comes out of a fancy coffee machine!) is going to change anytime soon. 

Would you use this so-called Nespresso of nutrients? Comment below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine

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