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Could personalized juice prescriptions be on the horizon?


Photo: Bianca Cheah/Repeatly
Photo: Bianca Cheah/Repeatly

New Yorkers and Angelenos might share the same obsession with guac burgers and spicy kale salads, but when it comes to nutrient needs, the coasts may be as different as bagels and beet salad.

At least, that’s what popular SoCal food delivery service Paleta and Swedish health tracking app Lifesum say. The two brands have joined forces to create Data Detox—expertly curated collections of six organic juices, two nut milks, and one tonic (with one set for New York, and another for Los Angeles) that address the specific dietary deficiencies of each city, based upon data collected from Lifesum app users.

“While everyone will benefit from consuming more vitamins and key nutrients, we wanted to create juices that would specifically help users in each city,” says Kelly Boyer, founder and CEO of Paleta.

What the data says about nutritional woes in NY and LA

To calculate the regions’ unique nutritional profiles, Lifesum analyzed the self-reported food and supplement intake of 120,000-plus app users in LA and 100,000-plus users in NYC for six months. They then compared the results to USDA data on nutrients that are typically lacking in different parts of the country, in order to get a big-picture view of what was missing in each city.

Data Detox NYC
Photo: Data Detox NYC

Although both metropolises scored off-the-charts in superfood consumption, there was plenty of vice to go along with the virtue. “Users in NYC and LA both logged a large number of typically unhealthy, or inflammatory, foods, suggesting a reliance on convenience foods,” says Markus Falk, business development manager at Lifesum. He also noted that both coasts are big fans of pasta, pizza, red meat, croissants, white bread, and French fries. (In our defense, we were just putting that cheat day theory to the test.)

From there, Paleta created juice plans that fill in each region’s nutritional gaps. For instance, the LA detox is full of anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric and matcha, since SoCal dwellers were found to consume less of them than their NYC counterparts. (Though not for lack of trying.)

Lifestyle factors specific to each metropolis were also considered; NYC’s Snow Globe Colada (a blend of coconut, pineapple, and lime), for one, contains key ingredients to help lower New Yorkers’ high stress levels.

“By adding lemon and coconut to the New York juice we are actively able to combat the feeling of being overwrought,” says Lifesum’s in-house nutritionist, Frida Harju. “Coconut offers healthy fats, electrolytes, and a lot of vitamin E, which is a key antioxidant and boosts red blood cell stability, while lemon can [help] reduce high blood pressure.”

Data Detox LA
Photo: Data Detox LA

Coming soon: Personalized cleanses?

Of course, this approach isn’t perfect. According to Falk, “As with all dietary assessments, you can never guarantee that users are entirely accurate when it comes to logging their food intake.” But it does raise an interesting question: Could personalized “juice prescriptions” based on someone’s real-time eating habits be next?

Boyer says it’s totally possible. “I think it’s easy enough to identify missing nutrients in a person’s diet and tailor a juice that will plug these gaps—we have the tools and technology in place already,” she says. “It is important to [look at] environmental factors, too; perhaps the user rarely gets exposure to the sun, so needs a boost of vitamin D. When ‘prescribing’ a juice, these issues can be explored, so that both nutritional and lifestyle deficiencies are being addressed.”

Until that time comes, Paleta and Lifesum are looking into expanding the program into the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast—and we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that the insurance companies eventually catch on to these totally tasty Rx’s.

While you’re waiting for personalized juice delivery to become a thing, why not try a bespoke skin-care regimen, flower essence blend, or crystal amulet? Or try this science-backed detox method that no one ever talks about.