Over the last few years, the food-as-medicine concept has gained momentum- thanks to physicians' and practitioners' awareness about making food an integral part of treatment for chronic illnesses along with their medications.
Scientists at Harvard Chan School of Public health have found a link between food and many health conditions such as obesity, longevity, a tendency for developing diabetes or cancer in the future, etc. Many researchers are now focusing on identifying food that could offer remedy and prevention against many illnesses. Here, one pill doesn’t fit all because of every individual's unique nutritional needs, depending on the person’s variance in genetic makeup, surroundings, and lifestyle.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a disruptive technology that is utilized to understand more about personalized diet in nutrition and wellness. Experts have modeled linear and nonlinear relationships between various nutritional factors affecting us. This model is used by food companies and personalized food product services to make better predictions and dietary choices. It is done by analyzing the individuals’ genetic details by deep learning to make accurate predictions and appropriate dietary guidelines.
Disruptive nutrition startups
Los Angeles-based Heali is a startup that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to develop personalized diet planning for individuals, not only during grocery shopping but also during ordering a meal in the restaurant. It supports over 30 types of different diets such as Vegan, Paleo, Keto, etc. The food choices made by Heali are by understanding the nature of ingredients present in an item with the help of optical character recognition (OCR). The Heali app also helps users with medical conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Diabetes by assessing the food contents while shopping for it.
Indian startup BhookhaHaathi has launched an AI-based personalized nutrition service where customized recommendations are given based on the user's current and future health conditions. Similarly, Nutrino, an Israel-based company, uses AI and machine learning to understand individuals’ responses to foods depending on various input data.
Child Growth Monitor is an app that scans malnutrition in children with infrared sensors on the smartphone. This measures the child's height, body volume, and weight ratio in 3 dimensions which are then analyzed by Azure Cloud (Microsoft AI). GOQii Referee is a food and nutrition detector that uses AI, neural networks, and image recognition to recommend suitable nutrition.
A bioactive peptide developed by Nuritas utilizes AI and DNA analysis to predict, and validate highly efficacious peptides from natural food sources. In another development, Brightseed Biosciences has teamed with Danone North America to create an AI-based technique called Forager to predict phytonutrients' effects on human health.
HealthifyMe is an Indian fitness app with an AI-powered virtual nutritionist, RIA that assists the users with their queries around fitness in more than ten languages. HealthifyMe is compatible with popular fitness wearables too. Calorie Mama and Bite AI are other online platforms that use deep learning and image recognition to help users chose nutritious food and make wise caloric choices.
Neutrino is a similar nutrition-based platform that offers analytics and technologies to its consumers with NLP and mathematical models. FitGenie is another AI-based app that tracks calorie intake and helps make macronutrient adjustments thereby providing a highly nutritious plan.
DietSensor system is a new technique that uses three-dimensional (3D) scanning technology to measure the volume of food consumed and calculate the exact caloric intake of hospitalized patients. It correlates this piece of information with the hospital kitchen database and measures the exact nutrition consumed by the individual.
AI can also be leveraged in managing glycemic levels of diabetic patients. Machine Learning algorithms with the knowledge of the gut microbiome and individual information can help identify food that improves their blood sugar levels. The algorithm can also offer a custom-made nutritional recommendation to keep diabetes under control.
AI has been found to predict short-term personalized dietary intervention accurately, according to Eran Segal and the team at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Machine learning was used to analyze numerous data points to identify the reasons for abnormal glucose response to particular foods for each individual. In this experiment, an algorithm was developed using personal and microbiome information to successfully lower the post-meal glucose in a group of 800 patients.
As the world is becoming more and more fitness-conscious, there is an increasing scope for disruptive technological solutions such as AI to provide various health-based solutions. Numerous startups globally are helping fitness enthusiasts, and patients monitor their nutritional intake with predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and natural language processing.
Diet planning based on AI tech is the way forward, not only for fitness but also as a panacea for longevity. It uses machine learning to create food plans to suits the individuals’ digestive system by analyzing the individual’s metabolism system to recommend an ideal meal. Personalized diet plans can help users with weight loss, managing IBS, chronic diseases such as diabetes, etc. After all, food is the best medicine of all!