Malaysian

I Was Proud Of My “Healthy Diet” Until AI Showed Me How Wrong I Was

From my perspective, I’ve always thought that I had a “balanced” diet. I’m far from what people would consider a health freak but I definitely don’t think I’m someone who needs to really watch what I’m consuming—I cut dairy and sugar a lot in my meals (due to allergy issues) and I eat in small portions due to my petite size.

Then again, I’ve always been curious to know the exact amount of calories my daily intake usually is. And with technology these days, there really isn’t any excuse.

We were recently sent a Huawei Mate 20 Pro that comes with a neat AI feature called HiVision that identifies objects (in this case, food) and shows users the number of calories each meal contains.

I decided to test it out by recording my meals for 5 days. All I needed to do was simply pull downwards on the middle of my home screen, and click on the button beside the search bar.

Just for reference, I used a Calorie Counter to see what my average count is and this is what I got:

Do keep in mind that this is just a rough estimation.

The Most Important Meal Of The Day? Nah

As mentioned earlier, I’m not a breakfast person. Waking up early in the morning doesn’t rouse my appetite enough to eat.

So on the rare occasions that I do find myself hungry in the morning, I usually go for what I consider to be “light” meals: bread. The 2 staples I usually go for is just plain white bread or roti canai.

The usual breakfast options I go for.

The AI unfortunately couldn’t detect what roti canai actually is but I figured Parotta is close enough. And dang, that’s a lot of calories.

I’ve always considered roti canai and any dish that’s close to it as healthy because it’s not exactly heavy. To my surprise, the calorie count is way above what I should be having. Must be all the tasty ghee.

Perhaps it’s time to look at fruits as an alternative.

Day 1

Lunch:

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As lunch is usually my first meal for the day, I like to go for meals that gives me nutritional variety.

A popular choice with my colleagues and I is chap fan or mixed rice for lunch because everybody can find something that suits their taste there.

The downside is that the AI is unable to detect every item on the plate because they’re all clumped together. I could only scan one ingredient at a time and that was a little tricky. Good to know that my veggie of choice is low in calories though!

Dinner:

Remember when I said I don’t eat breakfast? That’s because I like to have the common breakfast delicacies for dinner. Especially nasi lemak.

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I know for a fact that nasi lemak isn’t considered healthy because of how high-fat it is, but I was surprised to see the low calorie count. Granted, the AI does think I’m eating curry rice but close enough?

Day 2

Lunch:

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Another regular restaurant I frequent is Nando’s, and I consider it to be healthy because grilling is better than meals that are fried right?

The overall total calorie count of the meal is about 1000 calories, so that’s not too bad.

Dinner:

Mexican cuisine is arguably healthier than other cuisines because the meals aren’t as fattening, or at least that’s what I think.

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This particular meal was a little difficult for the AI (maybe it doesn’t register Mexican food that well?) but it did show options that were relatively close.

Thankfully, the calories for these meals don’t go up too high so looks like I can still keep Taco Tuesdays in my weekly meals.

Day 3

Lunch:

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Since our office is located above a Thai restaurant, I do find myself having Thai cuisine quite a lot. Judging from the past few meals, rice is always above 500 calories so I can see why people choose to cut rice from their diet if they’re planning on losing weight.

Dinner:

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This particular day was a bit unique as my family and I were celebrating a special occasion, so we decided to indulge in some Arabic food which we all know for a fact is unhealthy. And I admit that, but what’s wrong with treating yourself to good food once in awhile?

I wasn’t too surprised that the total amount of calories went way beyond 3000 because it definitely showed with my “food baby bump” afterwards.

Day 4

Lunch:

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To clarify, the roasted duck in this picture was shared with 4 other people so in actuality, I only took 800 calories here.

But when totaled with the rice, it’s still more than 2000. I make myself feel better knowing that at least the meal had veggies in it, so still healthy?

Dinner:

I felt my body coming down with a flu so to keep it safe, I went with what people normally have when they’re sick; porridge.

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Of course this is the healthiest dish I ate. Tastes like it too.

Day 5

Lunch:

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The more I used the HiVision feature, the more I was surprised to see that it could recognise exotic cuisine quite well. It even got the name of this noodle dish right, which made me happier seeing that one of my favourite meals is low in calories.

Dinner:

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Back to mixed rice for dinner and what I’ve come to realise is that dishes that may appear “healthy” or “simple”, tend to be high in calories. Guess the saying is true, looks can be deceiving.

Guilty Pleasures

I’m quite a snacker so throughout the 5 days, I did indulge in some little bites here and there. One thing I make sure to have at least once a week is bubble tea.

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The AI couldn’t really detect drinks very well, so it couldn’t recognise my fruit bubble tea option. However, it detected my colleague’s milk bubble tea easily which was interesting.

2 other popular snack options in my weekly meals.

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Overall, the HiVision feature has definitely shown me that I’m not eating as healthily as I thought. Over the past few days, I faced a number of situations where I’ll scan my favourite meals only to find out that the calorie count is way higher than I had assumed.

I won’t promise that I’ll change my diet moving forward, but I will think twice about the options I go for when eating out.

It is interesting to see how technology has advanced so far now that features like the HiVision can exist in your smartphone. Besides counting calories, the AI-based feature can also identify objects, scan buildings, and more.

Besides making sure your diet’s on track, Huawei came up with their own Health mobile app that works well with their Huawei Watch GT. You can use this combination to keep track of your fitness level by providing a complete, consistent, convenient experience.

So it’s not too late for me to keep that new year resolution of being healthy, right?

  • If you’d like to find out more information on Huawei, you can head to their official website here.

This article is written in collaboration with Huawei.

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