Full Project – Expert system for determining the nutritional value of foods

Full Project – Expert system for determining the nutritional value of foods

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1.0  Introduction

In artificial   intelligence,   an expert   system is   a   computer system that emulates the decision-making ability of a human expert. Expert systems   are   designed   to   solve   complex problems by reasoning about knowledge, represented mainly   as if–then   rules rather   than   through conventional procedural code. Artificial intelligence or more specifically, expert systems, have also been developed  to solve   either   meal   planning   problems   or   health   related problems. Expert  Systems  (ES)  are  intelligent  software  applications that  provide  advice  to  its   users  through  a  dialog  or  a conversation   conducted   between   the   user   and   the   ES application. An    expert    system    is    divided    into    two subsystems:  the inference engine and the knowledge base. The   knowledge   base   represents   facts   and   rules.   The inference engine applies the  rules  to  the  known  facts  to deduce   new   facts.   Inference   engines   can   also   include explanation and debugging abilities. Expert systems provide a good platform to implement applications that can be at par with human expert. Since, these days people tend to neglect basic  health  care,   food  consumption  and  overall   health awareness,  which serve as  a  motivation  to  create  an  expert system in diet and nutrition.


Nutrient databases provide food composition data that are used in a variety of ways (Rand et al.,1991). Health researchers and epidemiologists use nutrient intake studies of  individuals  or  groups  to  correlate  food  components  with  causes  or  prevention  of disease.  Dietitians  counsel  patients  in  dietary  changes  based  on  an  analysis  of  their usual dietary habits. Food manufacturers determine the nutrient content of their products for food labels. Cookbook authors calculate nutrients in a serving of each recipe. Food service managers plan menus for schools, hospitals, and other institutions based on their nutrient content. All of these uses of nutrient databases require that the nutrient profile  for  each  food  in  the  database  be  complete  (i.e.,  have  no  missing  values)  so that the nutrient content in a diet, a recipe, or on a food label is not underestimated.


Nutrition is 80%  of  our  fitness  goal  equation.  Nowadays, human  beings  suffer  from  many  health  problems  such  as fitness  problem,  maintaining  proper  diet  problem,  etc.  The effective  personal  dietary  guidelines  are  very  essential  for managing  our  health,  preventing  chronic  diseases  and  the interactive diet planning helps a user to adjust the plan in an easier  way. Nutrition  is  getting  food  into  the  body  for growth  and  energy,  and  for  keeping the  body  healthy  and living. It also includes the environmental, psychological and behavioral aspects of food and eating. The aim is to provide the  end  user  with  proper  health  information  which  is  at hand’s reach, easily accessible and readily available. And none  other  than electronic devices  are  the  way  to  fulfill  these requirements.


1.1  Background of Study

An expert system is a software hardware system that attempts to reproduce the performance of one or more human experts, most commonly in a specific problem domain, and is a traditional application and/or subfield of artificial intelligence.

A wide variety of methods can be used to simulate the performance of the expert however common to most or all are

1) The creation of a so-called “knowledgebase” which uses some knowledge representation formalism to capture the subject matter experts (SME) knowledge and

2) A process of gathering that knowledge from the SME and codifying it according to the formalism, which is called knowledge engineering. Expert systems may or may not have learning components but a third common element is that once the system is developed it is proven by being placed in the same real world problem solving situation as the human SME, typically as an aid to human workers or a supplement to some information system.

As a premiere application of computing and artificial intelligence, the topic of expert systems has many points of contact with general systems theory, operations research, business process reengineering and various topics in applied mathematics and management science.

Two illustrations of actual expert systems can give an idea of how they work. In one real world case at a chemical refinery a senior employee was about to retire and the company was concerned that the loss of his expertise in managing a fractionating tower would severely impact operations of the plant. A knowledge engineer was assigned to produce an expert system reproducing his expertise saving the company the loss of the valued knowledge asset. An early commercial success and illustration of another typical application (a task generally considered overly complex for a human) was an expert system fielded by DEC in the 1980s to quality check the configurations of their computers prior to delivery. The eighties were the time of greatest popularity of expert systems and interest lagged after the onset of the AI Winter.

In like manner, developing one of such system to represent the repository of the knowledge of a medical doctor is as essential as any other expert system.  To this end, this project, Expert System for foods nutritional value is a necessity.

It is also, necessary for human health risk to nutrition to be managed effectively, because malnutrition can cause deformed health status.


1.2  Statement of Research

The eating habits of today’s society are alarming. Obesity rates have increased making our country one of the most obese populations in the African region. Six in ten people suffer a disproportionate increase in their weight because their poor nutritional habits (CACIA 2012). The prevalence of obesity, BMI > 30, is 59 percent (Rosero 2009). Studies estimates Nigeria will be one of the ten most obese and mal-nutritional populations in the world by 2020 (Euromonitor 2011).

This reality makes it essential to raise public awareness about the need for a much needed dietary improvement and encourage preventive care. Many people, and particularly students, cannot afford to consult a private nutritional expert (Morales 2012). One problem in healthcare is the lack of availability for frequently health monitoring. Health software offers less expensive solutions reducing the physician-patient physical relation and provides monitoring solutions. This system can help facilitate the distribution of nutritional information, learn to assess their own nutritional level, and acquire better eating habits to improve their current condition (CIGA 2007) and (Salud 2003).


Health care facility should be accessible by all at all times.  But some of the people that should access these facilities are far removed from these facilities.  More so, in the few available facilities, qualified medical personnel are always key issues that need urgent redress.

In view of the foregoing, it would be of great necessity to provide an expert system that will provide a complementary medical diet service such as foods nutrition analysis system where it can be accessed and used by the masses, also to places where medical attention accessibility is a problem as well as health care facilities where qualified experts are lacking, hence this topic, Expert System on foods nutritional value.



1.3  Aim and Objective of Research

The following points serve as the aim and the objectives of this research work.

  1. To design a system an expert system that will be used in carrying out analysis on food nutritional value.
  2. A system that will suggest for the user his normal and balanced nutritional diet.
  3. To develop modern interactive diagnostic expert system that will aid clinicians/medical personnel in diagnostic procedures.
  4. To develop a  lifestyle  coach  to  help  one  create  daily  habits  by teaching  proper


1.4 Research Motivation

The researcher was motivated to research on this topic “expert system for determining nutrition analysis of foods” because of his encounter on same issues and due to the difficulties I had, before I could get an analysis of my nutrition, I had to go a long distance to a nearby diet clinic and then diagnose, while I was being diagnosed by the doctor I had a thought “what if I do such a system , one that can tell the nutrition analysis of foods” from then onward I have seek for solution to my thoughts. Therefore, with this research work I hope to achieve my expectation.


1.5  Significance of Research

If this proposed prototype system is fully developed, will be very useful in many areas such as:

  1. It will help to retain the skill of an expert diet doctor in case of any eventuality;
  2. It can support academic development;
  3. It can be useful in many diet clinics, both private and government, cases where the expert is not on seat;
  4. It can also be used in the laboratory for quick research work.


1.6  Scope of the Project

The scope of this work will include the following

  1. A dynamic database system that can act as knowledge based system
  2. A complete model of an expert system to portray sample analysis
  3. This system is based on determining the nutritional value of foods.


1.7  Limitations of the Study

The major constraint faced during the implementation of this work was finance.  This is among other frustrations such as program failures during modular construction stages.  Time was another important factor that limited the extent to which I want to research.


1.8  Definition of Terms/Variables

Diagnose: The identifying of an illness or disorder in a patient through physical examination, medical tests, or other procedures


Medical:  Relating to medicine, physical examination to determine health: a physical examination by a doctor to check

Expert:  somebody with a great deal of knowledge, skill, training, or experience in a particular field or activity – a medical expert

Knowledge-based:  Information system that store wealth of ones knowledge

Artificial intelligence result when machines are made to thick.  Artificial intelligence is a general term, which expert systems and robotics lie.  The expert system technology has been necessitated by the fact that some human domain experts delay some wonderful skill, which is lost whenever they die thereby leaving the future generation with little or nothing to inherit from their wonderful skill.  Hence they need the expert knowledge of a human being in a domain of activity to be stored in the computer such that computer mimic the reasoning of the expert in some way reaching the same decisions or conclusion as the expert himself and effectively replacing him.

Expert System: According to Daniel L. Stotink and his friends in a book “computer and applications an introduction to data processing” expert system is also a knowledge based system.  It is a complex software (program), designed to imitate the thought processes and decision making patterns of human experts in a given field.  The expert system is an off-spring of artificial intelligence (AI) and it is developed using the programming techniques of A1.  when the expert knowledge of human being in a domain of activity is stored in the computer.  Such that the computer repository of this expert knowledge in some way, reaching the same conclusion as the expect himself and efficiently replacing him, an expert system or knowledge based system results.

Nutrition: nutrition is the combination of processess by which the living organism receives and use the food materials necessary for growth maintenance of function and repair components parts

Nutrition: A science of food and its relationship to health and concerned with the part played by food factor (nutrients) in body growth, development and maintenance.

Protein: Protein is a body building material for all body parts, such as muscle, brain, blood skin, hair, nails, bones and body fluids, which constitutes about 20% of the adult body weight and made up of amino acids which main sources are from animal source like milk, eggs, meat, fish, cheese etc, and plant sources like pulses, cereals, beans, nuts, soya beans etc.

Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living organism. In humans it is the ability of individuals or communities to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental or social challenges.

Diet: In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism especially a balanced food having all the nutrients needed by the body system.


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Full Project – Expert system for determining the nutritional value of foods