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AI to watch every spoonful you eat and calculate your calorie consumption

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being developed to watch every spoonful you eat and calculate how many calories you are consuming.

Scientists in Canada are working on the new technology that analyses video footage of you eating to decide the nutritional value of your diet.

“The current […] food portion estimation algorithms assume that users take images of their meals one or two times,” say researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

“[This] can be inconvenient and fail to capture food items that are not visible from a top-down perspective, such as ingredients submerged in a stew.”

Instead of looking at a picture of your plate like some current AI tracking systems, this one studies every spoonful on its way to your mouth, making it much more precise, according to the researchers.

It can calculate the volume of food you’re eating with just a 4.4% margin for error.

Although the system doesn’t currently identify the food on your spoon, its trainers are teaching it how to spot what you’re eating. Ultimately, it should be able to recognise a wide range of foods, even those it hasn’t seen before.

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“We’re shifting towards using those large language models like ChatGPT […] to understand what is in the food or maybe ask a basic question [like] ‘is this chicken?’,” said Yuhao Chen at the University of Waterloo in Canada to New Scientist.

“A lot of time, especially for people eating at home, the dish may not be a named dish. It may be just whatever is available in the fridge that they’ve mixed together.”

The technology will work with forks and chopsticks as well as spoons.

New diet technologies are hitting the market, aimed at improving the health of populations with obesity and nutrition problems.

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Just last month, the World Health Organisation released its own AI health promoter called SARAH (Smart AI Resource Assistant for Health) to answer users questions about diet and health 24 hours a day.

SARAH is brought to life as a brunette woman who smiles and frowns at you from the computer screen as you ask questions.

When Sky News asked her whether AI could successfully identify calorie intake, she seemed pragmatic.

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“It can be a helpful tool to monitor your food intake and make healthier choices,” it responded.

“However, it is important to consider combining it with manual methods for the most precise results.”

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