Introducing Ask AI, a New Feature Powered by ChatGPT
Today I'm excited to announce a new FoodNoms feature that leverages the magic of ChatGPT to solve several common pain points when it comes to tracking what you eat.
We all know that logging what you eat can be tedious. It's not so bad when you are cooking everything yourself, eating labeled products, and routinely eating the same foods. But it can be particularly challenging when you are eating out or looking for exotic or uncommon foods. This is where many lose motivation and give up on logging entirely.
While many are rushing to build products and features with LLMs that are debatably useful, I've found that GPT-3.5 is actually quite good at estimating nutrition information for a huge variety of foods. Combined with GPT-3.5's incredible handling of natural language, I've found it to be a really great fit for FoodNoms.
Ready to see it in action? Here's a video demo (thanks to GPT-4 for writing the script of this video):
Pain Points It Solves
Logging everything you eat can be tedious. For every single thing you eat, you have to go through multiple screens to search for a food item and enter in how much you ate.
How Ask AI helps: You can enter in multiple items and amounts with natural language. For example: "a half an apple, a celery stick, and two cookies"
Translating amounts to specific units is confusing. How many oz/grams are in a handful of nuts? People don't have food scales with them wherever they go.
How Ask AI helps: You can enter in non-scientific amounts like "handfuls" or "bowls" or "plates". For example: "a handful of nuts".
Logging what you eat when eating out at a restaurant is particularly tedious. Guessing and searching for each ingredient, estimating the appropriate amounts, adds up to be super exhausting. You also aren't sure if what you're tracking is even remotely correct, so you lose confidence in your numbers.
How Ask AI helps: You can enter in plates and dishes as you would describe them to a friend, or how it's described on a menu. For example: "an open-faced sandwich with roast beef, lettuce, tomato and a side salad with balsamic dressing"
Finding exotic dishes and foods from unpopular brands or restaurants can be challenging. Often you need to Google search for the answer, because it’s simply not popular enough to be in the normal food database.
How Ask AI helps: You can search for anything, including branded and exotic plates. For example: "waffle house all star special plate" or "Moroccan chicken tagine bowl"
What to Expect
This feature is practical, not perfect. It shouldn't be used excessively. It's best used in situations where you otherwise would have not logged anything or ended up guessing and coming up with values that are likely to be even more incorrect than what an AI can deliver.
Don't expect values to be perfectly correct. And sometimes the results can be quite wrong. Generally though, expect to see results that are in the right ballpark. This actually pairs quite well with the Accuracy feature in FoodNoms, where instead of logging a specific value, you log an estimated range. There's even a setting just for this in the Ask AI screen: tap the "More" button, then "Settings" to find it.
Please keep in mind that this is the first version of this feature. I've already received great feedback – almost all extremely positive – from my beta testers. That said, the AI is not perfect. You should always verify the values you see. If you see something that looks off, tap "Try Again" to see if you get a better answer. Don't use these values when making important health decisions. As always when it comes to dieting, it's best to consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for guidance.
If you're not seeing good results, I suggest trying different strategies for your queries. In general, the more information you provide, the better. Try to indicate the serving size, or use terms like "plate" or "bowl", if appropriate.
Please use the rate feature in the app to let me know if a result was particularly impressive or egregiously incorrect. Also, feel free to send me feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Automation enthusiasts, I'm excited to share that this feature is also available as a Shortcut action! This will enable you to build your own Shortcut that brings up a text field, allows you to enter whatever you want, and log it. Or use it with "Hey, Siri".
Try It Out Today
You can try it out today if you update to the latest version of FoodNoms, 2023.15, and have a FoodNoms Plus subscription. If you don't have a FoodNoms Plus subscription, you can try it out for free with a 7-day trial.