Tuesday, April 16, 2024

AI in Nutrition: Assessing Accuracy in Calorie and Macronutrient Estimations

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As the internet becomes a primary source for nutritional insights, concerns have arisen about the accuracy of this content. Nearly half of online nutritional information—approximately 49%—is deemed inaccurate or of poor quality. Artificial intelligence (AI) holds the potential to revolutionize digital health but lacks a clear evaluation regarding its efficacy in handling nutrition-related queries. To bridge this gap, a study in JAMA investigated the precision of AI in offering energy and macronutrient content for 222 food items across different languages.

The study compared the reliability of two AI chatbots—ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4—in providing calorie and macronutrient details for eight adult-designed menus. Accuracy was determined by cross-referencing the AI’s output with nutritionist recommendations and guidance from the Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration. The researchers utilized statistical analyses through SPSS Statistics version 26 to assess consistency, relying on the coefficient of variation.

The findings unveiled no significant variations in energy, carbohydrates, and fat estimations between nutritionists and AI. However, a discrepancy emerged in protein estimation. Both AI systems accurately provided energy content for approximately 35% to 48% of the 222 food items within a ±10% margin. ChatGPT-4 exhibited slightly better performance overall but tended to overestimate protein.


AI’s Emerging Role in Public Health and Nutrition

These revelations arrive amidst growing belief in AI’s potential in public health and nourishment. A 2023 Nutrients journal study on AI’s applications in public health demonstrated its efficacy in visualizing food environments, detecting areas with limited access to nutritious foods, and even forecasting regional nourishment requirements. Moreover, researchers foresee AI’s capability to predict global food trends and streamline nourishment guidelines for consistent messaging across borders.

The authors of the Nutrients study emphasized the extensive possibilities AI offers in public health nutrition, calling for a broader exploration of AI’s capabilities. They urge researchers to push beyond conventional boundaries and creatively leverage AI’s power to promote healthier diets and enhance nutritional well-being on a population scale.


Resource: Pharmexec, January 03, 2023

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