From virtual assistants and social media algorithms to healthcare diagnostics and travel navigation, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly omnipresent in our modern world. But should we trust it when it comes to guidance on our food, nutrition, and diet plans?
Lily Keeling, registered nutritionist and recipe development manager at Green Chef UK, provides expert insight into the pros and cons of AI use for nutritional advice.
Recent research from recipe box delivery company, Green Chef, highlights the power of artificial intelligence to predict the future of our diets, from potential trends for 2024 and beyond to groundbreaking innovations. Using the popular keto diet as an example, here is a comprehensive list of the top nine things AI predicts are on the horizon for this diet:
1. Keto-friendly convenience foods
The market for keto-friendly foods and products is likely to continue expanding. By 2030, we may see a wider variety of convenient, keto-compliant options available, including snacks, ready-made meals, and beverages, making it easier for people to follow the diet.
2. Sustainable and ethical keto
With an increasing focus on sustainability and ethical food choices, there may be a shift towards more eco-conscious keto diets that prioritise responsibly sourced meats and sustainable plant-based fats.
3. Integration with technology
The use of digital tools and apps for tracking ketosis, meal planning, and monitoring nutrient intake is likely to become more sophisticated and user-friendly, enhancing adherence and outcomes for individuals on the keto diet.
4. Keto in space exploration
With space exploration efforts intensifying, there’s a growing interest in developing diets suitable for astronauts during extended missions. Research into the keto diet’s adaptability in space environments and its potential benefits for astronauts’ health and performance could be a captivating angle for both science and technology journalists.
5. Keto and healthcare integration
The medical community may integrate the ketogenic diet more extensively into treatment protocols for various conditions. It could become a recognised tool for managing metabolic disorders, epilepsy, and potentially even obesity-related health issues, with healthcare providers offering tailored keto plans.
6. Keto for environmental impact reduction
With a growing awareness of the environmental impact of food choices, a “sustainable keto” movement could emerge. This might involve the development of keto diets that use algae-based or lab-grown protein sources, potentially reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional keto.
7. AI-optimised keto plans
Artificial intelligence and machine learning could be used to create highly personalised keto diets. AI algorithms could analyse a person’s health data, activity levels, and preferences to generate the most effective and enjoyable keto diet plan, potentially attracting tech-savvy users.
8. Virtual keto coaches
By 2030, it’s possible that virtual reality and AI technologies will enable the development of virtual keto coaches. Users could engage with holographic or AI-driven virtual dietitians and trainers for personalised keto guidance, making the diet more engaging and interactive.
9. Keto-powered energy solutions
In an advanced scenario, the principles of ketosis could be harnessed to create sustainable and efficient energy solutions, potentially transforming the way we generate and utilise power for various applications, including homes, devices and electric vehicles.
The research also highlighted that the UK is divided on whether or not to trust AI for advice on food or dieting. Over 1 in 3 (36%) claimed they would trust diet advice generated by AI, and slightly more (38%) suggested that they would not. A further 18% responded that they were “not sure”.
A determining factor in the trust in AI appeared to be age. Over two thirds (67%) of 25-34 year olds say they would trust AI for food-related advice, and close to half (49%) of 18-24 year olds share the same view. By contrast, over two fifths (42%) of 45-54 year olds say they wouldn’t trust food and dieting advice given to them by AI – a view that is shared with over half (51%) of 55-64 year olds, and over half (53%) of those aged 65 and over.
Regionally, those in Belfast are most likely to trust advice from AI, with over half (55%) claiming they would trust food and dieting advice given to them by a platform like Chat GPT. Those in Liverpool are the least trusting of AI when it comes to advice on food or dieting, with half (50%) claiming they wouldn’t trust advice given to them by Chat GPT or similar platforms.
Responding to the AI-generated predictions, Lily Keeling, registered nutritionist and recipe development manager at Green Chef UK said: “It’s exciting to explore AI’s potential in various fields, including food and nutrition. I see many positives in the shift towards sustainability and ethical food choices, and certainly see merit in the efficiency of an AI-generated keto diet plan.
“However, caution is needed with the expansion of convenience keto foods. In a world where we are increasingly time poor, convenience is important, but can be achieved through methods such as meal prep of whole, unprocessed keto foods, rather than processed keto ready meals.
“Similarly, any potential future use of ketogenic diets for healthcare, should only ever be advised by a medical professional, given the potential risks, especially given that our data showed younger people more likely to blindly trust AI advice generated.”