Fisk. Foto:

Model generates personalized dietary advice for optimal fish intake

Tuesday 03 Mar 20


Maarten Nauta
External consultant
National Food Institute
+45 40 21 31 89


Morten Poulsen
Head of Research Group, Senior Researcher
National Food Institute
+45 35 88 76 06

A computer model from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, generates personalized dietary advice on how much fish a person needs to eat in order to get the recommended amount of vitamin D and healthy fatty acids.

While the official dietary guidelines in Denmark recommend that Danes eat 350 grams of fish every week, this recommendation is generic and does not take into account what a person prefers to eat and whether they use food supplements.

A PhD student from the National Food Institute has therefore developed a model that can generate personalized dietary advice relating to the amount of fish a person needs to eat to reach the recommended intake of the healthy ingredients found in the fish, but without consuming unacceptable amounts of their harmful ingredients.

Current intake and preferences as a starting point

The model calculates the personalized dietary advice using a number of variables.

It uses data on the person’s weight and current intake of vitamin D and healthy fatty acids from other sources. It also uses data on the person’s current average weekly intake of nine different types of fish as well as data on the amount of beneficial vitamin D and fatty acids and harmful methyl-mercury and dioxins they contain. 

Furthermore, it takes into account the types of fish the person does not like and comes up with recommendations that deviate as little as possible from the person’s preferences.

The model can also show if fish lovers should eat smaller quantities of certain types of fish or replace them with other types to avoid an excess intake of potentially harmful substances

In the future, a further developed model could be used in an app that can generate personalized, realistic and achievable dietary advice for the user. By feeding the model with other data, it could also be used to generate dietary advice for other foods.

Read more

How the model was developed and how it works is described in further detail in Maria Persson’s PhD thesis: On Optimization of Personalized Fish Intake Recommentations.

The PhD study is part of the Metrix project, which the National Food Institute carried out with funding from the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark. In the project, the researchers have calculated the positive and negative health effects of individual foods, nutrient groups and whole diets.

Download the project report from the National Food Institute’s website: Metrix.

Another PhD study at the National Food Institute shows that the average Dane will gain a health benefit from substituting part of the red and processed meat in their diet with fish. Read about the study in a news item from the institute: A substantial benefit from replacing steak with fish.
24 OCTOBER 2021