The interaction between the human body and nutrition is an extremely complex process involving multi-organ physiology with molecular mechanisms on all levels of regulation (genes, gene expression, proteins, metabolites). Only with the recent technology push have nutritional scientists been able to address this complexity. Both the challenges and promises that are offered by the merge of 'biomics' technologies and mechanistic nutrition research are huge, but will eventually evolve in a new nutrition research concept: nutritional systems biology. This review describes the principles and technologies involved in this merge. Using nutrition research examples, including gene expression modulation by carbohydrates and fatty acids, this review discusses applications as well as limitations of genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and systems biology. Furthermore, reference is made to gene polymorphisms that underlie individual differences in nutrient utilization, resulting in, e.g., different susceptibility to develop obesity. Copyright © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel/ILSI Europe.