A.I. Gives Cheesecake and Brats an A+ in Nutrition?

Siri, what should I eat? Well, that cheesecake looks good. In the New York Times today, Cardiologist Eric Topol explains that artificial intelligence (A.I.) tells him cheesecake and brats get an A+ for his personalized nutrition needs. In contrast, oatmeal and squash get a C-.

But there’s just one problem. Topol likes the oatmeal and squash better.

Not Yet Ready for Prime Time

The system that gave Topol a thumbs up for cheesecake and brats is one we’ve described before. It’s an algorithm for predicting glycemic response to different foods based on individual microbiomes and other characteristics. The output is a personal diet for lower glycemic responses to food – precision nutrition. The researchers behind this algorithm published their findings in Cell.

More recently, Helena Mendes-Soares and colleagues published results for a similar algorithm that’s available online from the DayTwo startup. The results are interesting, but nothing to knock you off your feet.  It’s “just OK,” in the words of one writer as he concludes that personalized diets aren’t quite ready for prime time.

Outcomes from Buzzy New Technology

Of course, we can all name our favorite buzzy technology that didn’t quite make it. Google Glasses, Apple Newtons, and the first talking cars are but a few. More to the point, faddish diets come and go way too often.

Personalized nutrition and A.I. are clearly more than fads. But long-term outcomes matter. And right now, all we have are interesting preliminary observations. As Topol says, we’re still “a ways away” from A.I. yielding solid wisdom on personalized diets.

So for now, if Siri recommends cheesecake and brats, we’ll pass.

Click here for more from the New York Times.

Cheesecake, photograph © Jetta Girl / flickr

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March 3, 2019

3 Responses to “A.I. Gives Cheesecake and Brats an A+ in Nutrition?”

  1. March 04, 2019 at 9:58 am, Joanne said:

    HARE…you mean HEAR.

    Paragraph starting with Personalized

    I prefer cheesecake sometimes! Life is short

    • March 04, 2019 at 10:51 am, Ted said:

      Actually, that was supposed to be “have”. Thanks for catching the typo, Joanne!

  2. March 04, 2019 at 2:25 pm, Joanne said:

    Welcome ted…you guys have interesting stuff to read…thanks, joanne