Computer chips could become part of your weekly diet plan

Published:28 October 2016

Researchers are piloting a smart diet advisory system and 'computational intelligence' is the latest tool being developed to help people create an optimised weekly diet plan.

CQUniversity researchers have shown the benefits of a technique called 'Fuzzy Multiple Objective Linear Programming', to guide people through the bewildering choice of foods and complex nutritional information.

Now they are partnering with Nutrition Diagnostics, a company created to help patients restore balance to their health and wellbeing.

Nutrition Diagnostics founder Dr Eric Davis says his firm's collaboration with CQUniversity is the missing link to positive health outcomes and innovation "to better this ‘reinventing the wheel’ approach in the current health industry".

"For over 30 years we have been consulting with a wide range of clients addressing either a health challenge, symptom or preventing disease manifestation," Dr Davis says.

"Our method is tailored, tangible and measurable and delivers an outcome within a time frame.

"We decided to collaborate with CQUniversity's Dr Mary Tom and her team who have a shared passion and vision of a balanced diet as a preventative measure for many diseases," Dr Davis says.

Brisbane-based Dr Tom is working on the project with Dr Santoso Wibowo from CQUni Melbourne and Dr Susan Williams from CQUni Rockhampton North.

Dr Tom says a Linkage Pilot Grant has been secured to enable development of a pilot Dietary Intelligence System named DlligenS, with longer-term hopes for national grant funding.

"Nutrition-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers are widely prevalent, and increasing in both developed and developing countries," she says.

“Formulation of nutritionally-balanced meals is a complex task, which requires considerable effort, time and intellectual capability for evaluation of menu items and analysis of a range of nutrient values.

“Our results show that the fuzzy optimisation model is a very useful tool for effectively composing a nutritionally-balanced daily diet, limiting the consumption of elements such as sugar, sodium, saturated fat and cholesterol.

"Fuzzy Multiple Objective Linear Programming works on a principle where most of the outcomes from a diet decision are driven by a smaller proportion of factors, making choices clearer.

"What it boils down to is that a maths model (or algorithm) could one day drive phone or computer Apps, taking the mental strain out of daily diet planning."