Dieters could be fitted with body cameras and AI to discover their true eating habits


I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid you can’t eat that! Dieters could be fitted with body cameras and have AI installed to snoop on them to find out what their true eating habits are in new trial

  • Tiny cameras in the ear will show the food eaten and AI works out portion size
  • Knowing accurately what people eat is crucial to find out how diseases develop 

Scientists plan to use body cameras and AI to snoop on dieters – in their own homes.

Experts want to bring nutrition research into the 21st Century after years of relying on people to log with paper and pen – often inaccurately – what they eat and when.

But a new clinical trial aims to use tiny cameras fitted to a person’s ear to allow researchers to see for themselves what is being consumed, with AI then working out the portion size.

A major issue for researchers is understanding how diet can lead to the development of what are known as non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease.

Knowing accurately what people eat in their day-to-day lives is therefore crucial.

Scientists plan to use body cameras and AI to snoop on dieters – in their own homes (file image)

Scientists plan to use body cameras and AI to snoop on dieters – in their own homes (file image)

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid you can't eat that! Pictured: HAL, the AI from 2001: A Space Odyssey

I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid you can’t eat that! Pictured: HAL, the AI from 2001: A Space Odyssey

From September, the ear-mounted cameras will film the home eating habits of 50 British volunteers and 150 others in Cork, in the Republic of Ireland, as well as Spain and Greece, as part of a European research project into healthy eating called CoDiet. 

Experts hope eventually to create a high-tech tool that will provide personalised dietary advice for individuals.

Professor Gary Frost, head of Nutrition Research at London’s Imperial College, where the cameras have been developed, said: ‘The methodology we use to measure food and nutrition intake has not really changed much over the last 50 years.

‘It is still based on self-reported intake, which we know is inaccurate. We are gathering a lot of detailed information from people in the trial, and looking at blood chemistry and genetics, that will help us understand the relationship between what people eat and non-communicable diseases.

‘Better data will enable us to make better decisions in food policy and public health that will impact on disease and help people to live healthier for longer.’

A Government-commissioned report two years ago by food expert Henry Dimbleby suggested the number of deaths due to poor diet was 64,000 a year at a cost of £72 billion to the economy. 

Mr Dimbleby warned there would have to be a big increase in healthy eating by 2032 to meet government targets.

Fruit and vegetable consumption would have to increase by 30 per cent, fibre consumption up by 50 per cent, while foods high in saturated fat, salt and sugar would have to reduce by 25 per cent, and meat consumption slashed by 30 per cent.

Prof Frost said: ‘We hope that CoDiet will help people achieve these important targets.’



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