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TOPIC: Do you intentionally create duplicate foods? If so, why?

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May 8, 2011 6:12 AM
One of the issues that we're working on right now is cleaning up the food database, and in particular, reducing the number of duplicate entries. Our first step is to try to reduce the number of duplicates that are being created in the first place.

To help us in that effort, we wanted to ask all of you if you are intentionally creating duplicates, and if so, why? We know that there are many valid reasons why you might create a duplicate food. Here are some of our current theories:

- You didn't search for the item before trying to enter it in the database

- You searched for the item, but due to deficiencies in our search engine (i.e. doesn't always catch misspellings, etc.), you didn't find it

- You found a matching item, but it didn't have the serving size you needed

- You found a matching item, but the nutritional contents didn't match. You didn't edit the item because you thought the nutritional item might be accurate but for a different country or region

- You found a matching item, but the nutritional contents didn't match. You didn't know how to edit it, so you created a duplicate

Are there any other reasons why any of you are intentionally creating duplicate items? If so, please let us know. Please know that we are not criticizing people that create duplicates. We know there are lots of good reasons why people are creating duplicates. Our goal is to try to improve the site so that you don't have to create a duplicate item to solve these problems. For example, we're trying to figure out how to allow people to add a missing serving size to an existing item so that you don't have to create an entire new food to have the serving size you want.

Just to be clear, we're mainly concerned about why people are creating PUBLIC duplicate items, i.e. items that you are sharing with all other MyFitnessPal members.

Let us know why you are creating duplicates by posting a reply in the topic below. You can also send me a private message if you prefer not to post publicly.

Thanks for your feedback! With your help, we hope to make the food database and MFP even better. Hope you are all enjoying the site.
Edited by mike On May 8, 2011 6:37 AM
May 8, 2011 6:16 AM
I have not created any duplicates (that I am aware of), I usually create items in my foods or my recipes. I do get frustrated with the amount of duplicates at times, however, it appears a lot of the times they are due to conversions (grams to cups etc.). I appreciate your working on the data base. IT is still the best one I have found for my needs. Thanks.
  1469046
May 8, 2011 6:19 AM
I try not to post duplicates, but I think when I have it's been because the serving was off. Now I just adjust for it...
  5513017
May 8, 2011 6:19 AM
For the serving size. I try not to use cup measurements, and work in grams more happily than ounces.
May 8, 2011 6:20 AM
I have once or twice bc the item was in grams and i have no idea what weight grams are compared to oz and pounds
  6626720
May 8, 2011 6:25 AM
I have created a couple, usually because the entry is clearly North American and the serving size of cups is meaningless to me and the calorie content is different here, a case in point is Coke Zero or Diet coke, which in the UK has the calorie content on the can, but in the US apparently people think it is calorie free, which it isn't. A can of diet coke has 4 calories and so I added one that was correct.

I find the portion size of cups incredibly difficult as we do not use this method at all, it would be better if people put weights and liquid measurements universally, but as we don't use the same methods this is not going to be possible. A specific UK database might be more useful. I have also seen people adding the calorie and nutrition for a serving as the whole, which is annoying and I do correct those when I find them. People sometimes must deliberately get it wrong, as I find some that are SO wrong it makes me wonder what the people were thinking.
  777568
May 8, 2011 6:27 AM
QUOTE:

I have once or twice bc the item was in grams and i have no idea what weight grams are compared to oz and pounds


Ditto.
May 8, 2011 6:27 AM
I haven't created duplicates because I didn't want to add to the problem. But I've been sorely tempted when the serving sizes aren't what I need or when the nutritional info is different.
  2761763
May 8, 2011 6:27 AM
- You searched for the item, but due to deficiencies in our search engine (i.e. doesn't always catch misspellings, etc.), you didn't find it


this one mostly, because I noticed I added one or two that maybe duplicates but I never found them originally in the searching due to how they were listed either not by a brand name first or not by the item or someone had spelled something wrong so that if you typed in the correct spelling it didnt pull up at all.
May 8, 2011 6:27 AM
Two reasons, 1. serving sizes
2. nutritional information not equivalent (initially I was editing until I found out that it varies so much region to region)
  5682876
May 8, 2011 6:31 AM
quite often the sodium count is very wrong in items, or they miss it out all together, many people on here track their sodium.

when i have bad signal on my phone or no internet connection i often have to create a duplicate item

brand recipies are often updated, eg the calorie count in my usual bread brand just went up by 3 calories a slice, so i had to recreate the item.
May 8, 2011 6:32 AM
QUOTE:

I have created a couple, usually because the entry is clearly North American and the serving size of cups is meaningless to me and the calorie content is different here, a case in point is Coke Zero or Diet coke, which in the UK has the calorie content on the can, but in the US apparently people think it is calorie free, which it isn't. A can of diet coke has 4 calories and so I added one that was correct.


This is a very strong support for variations region to region ...
Coke Zero and Diet Coke here in Canada show 0cal / can bottle on the nutritional information on the can the only item that is not zero is the sodium
  5682876
May 8, 2011 6:34 AM
I've only done it if the nutritional info was off. Yesterday I ate a dinner where the calorie count was correct but nothing else was correct, partly because the company changed the recipe. And sometimes I don't click the box to add it to the database bc I know this makes things more confusing.
May 8, 2011 6:39 AM
I would love to see a cleaner database too. Also, there are some items that are tricky to have a single item in the database for, such as getting a customizable sub from Quizno's for instance. There should be a way to check or uncheck components of a sub to get a better calorie count without fishing around for a sub with options that seems "close enough". Better yet, for a place where the list of possible ingredients for an item (subs, pizza) is known, there should be the default menu items and then all the other ingredients listed for that type of item as checkable choices. And of course, being able to unselect bread should be an option.

Though, it might be better to treat such items like saved meals, and directly add the list of components to someone's food list when they choose a particular item...
  3644808
May 8, 2011 6:41 AM
I haven't done it, but I nearly did. I suspect fewer people would add duplicates if they knew it's possible to edit existing entries. Perhaps a way to combat this would be to send an email out to new users explaining how the database works and how to make edits.
  6490236
May 8, 2011 6:43 AM
Another issue I've seen is that for a lot of subs, people just say "1 sandwich" for the serving size. That doesn't tell me if it's 6 inch, 12 inch, or somewhere in between for all I know. It's like saying the serving size for a pizza is 1/8 of a pizza, where most pizza places have different possible sizes for their pizzas. A slice of 12" pizza has less calories than a slice of 16" pizza, for instance. It also depends on how many slices the pizza is cut into of course. But I suppose in that case it's splitting hairs, I'm not sure how many calories are different between them.
  3644808
May 8, 2011 6:45 AM
I don't think I've created any dupes. I've only created when there wasn't anything that matched or was at least a close match.
  3240741
May 8, 2011 6:48 AM
If I have created duplicates (not sure) it was due to serving size, search engine blips, or nutritional values didn't match from the ones I found in search.
  6862075
May 8, 2011 6:51 AM
- You found a matching item, but it didn't have the serving size you needed

This is my reason.
May 8, 2011 7:16 AM
I don't think I have created duplicates, but it's possible...I don't know how to edit an existing entry and would like to know that. I generally search for something that shows grams....I quite like it when the description states eg: 1C, (150g) or something like that so I can have a mental image on amounts and can choose the measurement that seems more comfortable to me. If the search engine could pick up misspellings more effectively that would also be helpful. I am not quick to add anything, but try to keep searching trying alternative ways of stating descriptions.

Thanks for all of your wonderful work, and trying to make this aspect of using the site easier!
  292489
May 8, 2011 7:38 AM
QUOTE:

I don't think I have created duplicates, but it's possible...I don't know how to edit an existing entry and would like to know that. I generally search for something that shows grams....I quite like it when the description states eg: 1C, (150g) or something like that so I can have a mental image on amounts and can choose the measurement that seems more comfortable to me. If the search engine could pick up misspellings more effectively that would also be helpful. I am not quick to add anything, but try to keep searching trying alternative ways of stating descriptions.

Thanks for all of your wonderful work, and trying to make this aspect of using the site easier!



I agree with the editing . There's a lot of areas where I would like to see editing capability. I think if a lot of the drop down menu choices had an "enter your own" place we could adjust a lot of things like quantity, nutrients, including things in exercise.
  6862075
May 8, 2011 7:39 AM
QUOTE:

I have once or twice bc the item was in grams and i have no idea what weight grams are compared to oz and pounds


That is my issue. I have to go to google to calculate it so I create an item.

Plus some of the non-processed foods, like chicken or fresh fruits and vegetables don't IMO have accurate numbers. They seem to be under compared to other sites.
Edited by ckmama On May 8, 2011 7:40 AM
May 8, 2011 7:42 AM
I think the only time I've created my own foods is because of serving size and I also like to track my potassium intake which most food items in the db do not have. Although I do try to just edit when possible.
May 8, 2011 8:04 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I have created a couple, usually because the entry is clearly North American and the serving size of cups is meaningless to me and the calorie content is different here, a case in point is Coke Zero or Diet coke, which in the UK has the calorie content on the can, but in the US apparently people think it is calorie free, which it isn't. A can of diet coke has 4 calories and so I added one that was correct.


This is a very strong support for variations region to region ...
Coke Zero and Diet Coke here in Canada show 0cal / can bottle on the nutritional information on the can the only item that is not zero is the sodium


Very good point. We (the US) don't "think" these items are calorie free. The nutritional info states it on the can. I do find it interesting that the calorie info is different between the UK and US. Weird.

I search heavily for my foods. The only time I enter a new one is if I can't find it, having searched page after page. Also, when I do find something with different information (serviing size, etc) than is on the box/container I'm looking at, I will edit the entry. If it's showing grams or something like that when the box shows cups I won't touch it, though.
  1776810
May 8, 2011 8:05 AM
while you're updating..can u please change it so it does not round fat grams up..if it's 1.5, make it 1.5 not 2...

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