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ChatGPT and me... as a dietitian

Dear reader. I am sure by now almost everyone has tried ChatGPT at least once. For those who are not quite sure what ChatGPT is - ChatGPT is short for Chat Generative Pre-training Transformer. Basically ChatGPT is a set of (many many many....) advanced algorithms and it generate responses when human ask question on the website using its own very vast knowledge base.

When ChatGPT became available to the public, my dear husband told me that's the end of my dietetics profession. Afterall, dear husband asked me why would anyone see me when they can easily type in their nutritional question using ChatGPT.

What better than to ask ChatGPT itself that very question. So I typed in to ChatGPT 'You are a dietitian. Write an article about the use of chatgpt on accuracy of nutritional advice and how it compares to advice from a human dietitian. limit to around 300 words.' Here is an except of what ChatGPT told me:

... It (ChatGPT) provides advice based on established dietary guidelines and common dietary needs, making it a valuable resource for individuals seeking basic dietary recommendations. However, there are crucial differences to consider when comparing ChatGPT to a human dietitian:

  1. Personalization: Human dietitians excel in personalizing advice. They consider an individual's specific health conditions, dietary preferences, and lifestyle. ChatGPT, on the other hand, lacks the ability to tailor advice to a person's unique needs.

  2. Context and Updates: Dietitians keep up with the latest research and guidelines. They can adapt advice based on changing circumstances. ChatGPT relies on pre-existing knowledge, which may become outdated over time.

  3. Emotional Support: Human dietitians provide emotional support, understanding the psychological aspects of eating. They can offer encouragement and guidance for individuals struggling with dietary changes.

  4. Critical Thinking: Dietitians possess critical thinking skills. They can assess complex dietary issues and address rare or unusual cases effectively. ChatGPT may not always handle such scenarios with the same level of expertise.

  5. Accountability: With a human dietitian, individuals have someone to be accountable to, which can be a motivating factor in adhering to dietary recommendations.

In summary, ChatGPT serves as a valuable resource for obtaining general nutritional information and guidance. It can be a helpful starting point for individuals with basic dietary questions. However, for personalized advice and guidance tailored to your unique needs, a human dietitian remains the gold standard. Dietitians bring expertise, empathy, and the ability to adapt to individual circumstances, which a machine like ChatGPT cannot replicate. Therefore, while AI has its merits, when it comes to your health, seeking guidance from a human dietitian is the most reliable option.

ChatGPT of course instantly generated the entire response in less than 5 seconds. I have to say the response is not bad at all. Quite similar to what I told my husband. Most people already Google their questions before most of my consultation. Coming to see me is really about the 'problem solving', 'emotional support', 'accountability' and most of all, I do happen to speak like a human, and not like a machine. I did try ChatGPT on some technical questions such as 'Can I eat fruit when I have Type 2 diabetes?' and the responses were actually quite good. However when I ask 'I want to lose weight. What should I do?'. The responses while good, failed to ask safeguard questions.

So dear reader, ChatGPT is very powerful as a source of information. I would use it as an additional source, but not the only source.


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