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Can ChatGPT Give Solid Nutrition Advice?

Written By: Brookell White, MS, RD

Brookell White, MS, RD earned her bachelors and masters at San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship at Sodexo. Her experience extends to facilitating nutrition courses at San Diego State University, attending to patients as a Diet Technician, and working as an Assistant Lead Investigator and Graduate Assistant while completing her masters. She now is contracted with MyFitnessPal as a Database Curator and focuses on metabolism, obesity and weight management.

Can ChatGPT Give Solid Nutrition Advice?

ChatGPT can do everything from help you write an email to help you code, but can it help you accomplish your nutrition goals? We wanted to find out. We asked the chatbot to build an eating plan with a specific goal in mind. Our Registered Dietitian, Brookell White, analyzed the results and told us what the chatbot got right and where it comes up short.

QUESTION: DESIGN AN EATING PLAN FOR ME SO I CAN BUILD MUSCLES

ChatGPT

Sure! Building muscle requires a combination of proper nutrition and regular exercise. Here’s a sample eating plan that can help you build muscle:

Meal 1: Breakfast

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 cup of oatmeal with a tablespoon of honey
  • 1 cup of mixed berries

Meal 2: Mid-morning snack

  • 1 apple
  • 1 ounce of almonds

Meal 3: Lunch

  • 6 ounces of grilled chicken breast
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of steamed broccoli

Meal 4: Pre-workout snack

  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop of whey protein

Meal 5: Post-workout meal

  • 6 ounces of grilled salmon
  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup of roasted vegetables

Meal 6: Dinner

  • 6 ounces of grilled flank steak
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 cup of sautéed spinach

Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Also, aim to eat every 3-4 hours to keep your metabolism and muscle-building process going.

ANALYSIS BY MYFITNESSPAL’S REGISTERED DIETITIAN & NUTRITIONIST, BROOKELL WHITE

THE GOOD

ChatGPT says it well, muscle building does require proper nutrition and regular exercise, specifically resistance training to simulate muscle cell hypertrophy — ie. muscle growth. ChatGPT also provides well balanced meals complete with high-quality protein sources, complex carbohydrates, fat and each meal includes a fruit or vegetable. All meals are also high in protein, which is essential when your goal is building muscle.

THE BAD

One thing ChatGPT could have done better is to individualize the plan and provide specific protein needs. The person who asked the question is a female who is 5’ 6” and 133 pounds. Those pieces of information are critical in assessing health and wellness information. There is some chatter that ChatGPT is biased, and this is a good example where having an eye on different needs and body types would be helpful.

A rough nutrient analysis of ChatGPT’s plan is that it consists of 3,027 kcals, 312 grams of carbs, 112 grams of fat and 223 grams of protein. For someone participating in resistance training and looking to gain muscle, protein needs are 1.4-2 g/kg body weight which equals 85-121 grams of protein for this user (133 lbs). Her actual estimated caloric needs with moderate exercise are 2,040 kcal/day. Both calories and protein are much too high.

As you can see, ChatGPT over estimated needs quite a bit without gaining important information to individualize the users needs. At this rate, the user would likely gain weight, which is not necessarily the goal.

The post-workout snack also provides way too much food for most people as it is meal-sized rather than snack-sized. Lastly, the plan doesn’t account for cooking fats, seasoning or anything that might spice up the meal, making it a bit lackluster and not as sustainable long term – enjoying your food is a key part of sticking to a healthy plan!

Overall, the plan is not bad, but it lacks specificity in honing in on the amount of specific nutrients the user needs which is critical to personalized health and wellness.

Ready to take the next step? Unlock MyFitnessPal Premium to access custom goal settings, quick-log recipes, and guided plans from a registered dietitian. Premium users are 65% more likely to reach their weight loss goals!

About the Authors

Meet the people behind the post

Written By: Brookell White, MS, RD

Brookell White, MS, RD earned her bachelors and masters at San Diego State University and completed her dietetic internship at Sodexo. Her experience extends to facilitating nutrition courses at San Diego State University, attending to patients as a Diet Technician, and working as an Assistant Lead Investigator and Graduate Assistant while completing her masters. She now is contracted with MyFitnessPal as a Database Curator and focuses on metabolism, obesity and weight management.

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