Rise of Artificial Intelligence: can we trust them for our daily diet?  

Machines and big networking sites are taking up a major role in today’s society be it in social or in the healthcare sector. Google’s algorithm knows which symptom or diet a person is  looking for or Netflix knows when and which movies to recommend to the viewers, all are  related to something known as detailed personal profiling which might be helpful to determine  the behavior of the individual and also to understand the upcoming trends in the health sector. 

AI is known as Artificial Intelligence which is “the science and engineering of making  intelligent machines” as quoted by John McCarthy (known as the father of Artificial  Intelligence). It is the stimulation of human intelligence into machines.  

Changes that AI’s have brought 

AI is used in several different aspects i.e. personalized medicine, robotics-assisted surgery,  gene testing, diet planning, nutrigenomics, etc. 

It is changing the way of living life by interfering in most of the personal aspects of the people. In often “personalized” or “tailor-made” words like them can be heard in the healthcare sector,  the reason behind it is very simple, people have begun moving from the Universal diet pattern  to a more Individualized diet pattern due to more awareness, diets remarkably differ or are variable from person to person. This underlying variability can be attributed to genetics, age,  gender, lifestyle, environmental exposure, gut microbiome, epigenetics or metabolism. AI-based diet planning is still in its infancy and is growing big. The role of an AI-based diet  program would be to access machine learning and data analytics to create a meal plan at  fingertips. AI would analyze the user’s metabolism and digestive system to create an ideal meal  plan for their needs. 

It would help in understanding the health, disease conditions, and future prospects of the  individual by just accessing a few personal information. A change like this could change the  whole perception of diets and health. It could ascertain  people the ideal food for their digestive fingerprint which  could lead to prevention against so many non communicable diseases like heart diseases, diabetes,  hypertension, etc., as it changes the way people think and react.  

Formulation of AI-based health care applications or software is the first step taken towards  managing health. These healthcare applications record and process data added by patients such  as food intake, emotional state or activity, and health monitoring data from wearables, mobile  sensors, or any other gadgets. This interprets the data based on which it suggests the type of  food to be consumed and prepares a diet plan. 

The pros and the cons 

After a lot of discussion on the AI’s formulation, diet, and human requirement, the reliability  of these diets is still debatable. Several surveys have debated on the reliability of the AI recommended diets and one of the experiments undertaken pointed out the fact that these types of recommended diets did  not follow intuitive eating rather than the food that is not liked or not appealing to the individual is emphasized upon which  cannot guarantee mindful eating . 

There is no sincerity or confidence that the patient who has been recommended might like the  food or an individual who had undergone all the procedures to get a diet plan might follow or  accept the recommendation by the machine. Where a nutritionist and a dietician ensure the  patient/individual has met the requirements, is following the recommendations.

The rise of some non -traditional food patterns had got up to peak due to such modified diets  that society is lacking in the traditional way of eating. Though there is inference there that one  not be tolerant of the regular or zone-based food pattern might have some inborn errors or suffer from diseases but then the terms stand different. 

It could lead to artificial stupidity. The machines are themselves trained by humans; machines can be  fooled by changing the data pattern which a human might not. 

One of the most hindered or contradicted points for the AIs is that there might be errors or  injuries. There might be an error or technical issues that might lead to wrong prescription or  identification of issues leading to further increased complications as data is fragmented across  variables. This fragmentation increases the risk of error, decreases the comprehensiveness of  datasets, and increases the expense of gathering data—which also limits the entities that can  develop an effective healthcare program. 

Another most alarming drawback may be privacy. High chances of data leak are associated with  AI-based diets which patients might consider as a violation of rights; if an AI system infers  with bank or transaction data then could lead to worse. 

Who will be benefited  

So as the Question rises on whether we should or shouldn’t rely on such technologies, the development of  such technologies are done to have ease in daily life while not creating a burden on other  aspects of life. 

Although AI driven diet planning is inevitable in the future, it is not to be perceived as a bad thing. Our role will not be replaced as a nutritionist or dietitian, rather it would change towards health coaching where the primary focus would be counselling services to give more attention to the client and the diet chart planning would be taken care of by the AI giving us more time to enable the well-being of the client.


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Opinion | The A.I. Diet—The New York Times. (n.d.). Retrieved July 2, 2021, from  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/02/opinion/sunday/diet-artificial-intelligence diabetes.html 

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