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TOPIC: Calories Don't Add up

 
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October 8, 2012 10:45 AM
My calories NEVER add up.
For example:
My goal is to eat 2400 calories a day
I can be a single gram of protein off from meeting all my macronutrient goals and MFP will say I'm 60 calories under.
Why?
Does this happen to anyone else?
My boyfriend uses this app and says it always happen to him too.
I WISH THEY WOULD FIX THIS! So annoying.
October 8, 2012 10:46 AM
For those of you who don't know . . . 1g of protein= 4 calories. So if I was under by a single gram of protein I should only be under my calorie goal by 4 calories.
October 8, 2012 10:59 AM
This question comes up all the time for some reason. All MFP does is add up the nutritional info from all the foods you entered. It doesn't check the total grams of protein and multiply by 4; it just takes the info that it's given. Some of the difference is due to incorrect information being entered, and a lot of it is simply caused by rounding.

How would you have them fix it, exactly?
October 8, 2012 11:02 AM
It should all add up, exactly right. I enter almost all my food myself so I know the information is 100% correct. Rounding should not cause more than a few calories difference. Certainly no greater than 10. I don't know how they need to fix it, except they need to fix it.
October 8, 2012 11:03 AM
There's a couple of things at play here. First, the nutrition data is largely entered by users, and I've seen products that say "4.5g Protein" on the packaging get entered as 4.0 or 5.0. Then there's rounding - the food maker/packager may have already rounded that 4.5g figure up or down a bit.

Also, MFP doesn't multiply your protein by 4 to get calories. If someone enters a FooBar Chocolate Extreme as 200 calories and 99 grams of protein, that's what will show up on your diary.
October 8, 2012 11:05 AM
QUOTE:

It should all add up, exactly right. I enter almost all my food myself so I know the information is 100% correct. Rounding should not cause more than a few calories difference. Certainly no greater than 10. I don't know how they need to fix it, except they need to fix it.


If you know all your exact info and so forth yourself and you need it to be THAT precise.. then you probably could track yours on your own and not use MFP. :) Just sayin'.
October 8, 2012 11:06 AM
QUOTE:

It should all add up, exactly right. I enter almost all my food myself so I know the information is 100% correct. Rounding should not cause more than a few calories difference. Certainly no greater than 10. I don't know how they need to fix it, except they need to fix it.


Didn't see this until after I submitted my last comment already.

Go to your food diary. Add up the number under "calories" for every food item you ate. Does that equal the total shown at the bottom? Do the same for protein. Does that match too? If yes, there's nothing for MFP to fix.
October 8, 2012 11:08 AM
I've noticed this and wondered myself.

Seems like EITHER the "X grams of [whatevermacronutrient] equals Y number of calories" premise is flawed, OR some of the nutritional information on the foods we buy is misleading.

I'm not sure which of these two to be more skeptical of, but I'm sure there is room for error both ways. I wonder if there are even more variables yet not accounted for even after taking these two into consideration?
October 8, 2012 11:26 AM
QUOTE:

It should all add up, exactly right. I enter almost all my food myself so I know the information is 100% correct. Rounding should not cause more than a few calories difference. Certainly no greater than 10. I don't know how they need to fix it, except they need to fix it.

There's no way this is true. If you go in and add up the numbers from the nutritional values of each food, you will see that it adds up perfectly. Look at the individual foods and you will find the errors. I've seen this countless times and it's ALWAYS in the individual foods.
October 8, 2012 11:28 AM
I've seen this too, I think its just rounding errors

They don't put 10.4 protein on the label, they put 10
Then they also round the calories
April 10, 2014 2:10 PM
Yes, rounding is a big part of it, although I have found many instances of errors in the user-entered data as well. But there is another factor as well. Insoluble fiber is not required to be counted as having caloric content. Thus, my Fiber Love Bar states it has 160 calories from 29g carbs, 4g protein, and 6g fat. Doesn't add up - it seems like it should total 186 . But if we subtract the 4g of insoluble fiber, we get 170 calories, and they probably rounded up the fat and protein figures slightly, so the true caloric content is somewhere between 155 and 165, and they rounded to the nearest 10 calories, which they are allowed to do.

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm064932.htm

That said, it probably doesn't pay to obsess over discrepancies of a few percent. Calorie counts, and nutritional information generally, are meant to serve as a guideline, not a strict mathematical formula. If you want to lose weight, don't get caught up in the numbers. Eat a healthy, balanced, moderate diet, and get some exercise.
Edited by talksthetalk On April 10, 2014 2:11 PM
  60882707
May 31, 2014 1:39 PM
I have an interesting statistic, for whatever it may be worth.
I put 31 frozen entrees in an Excel spreadsheet, comparing the number of calories on the Nutrition Data panel to the calculated result based on the macros.
Only two of the entrees had the same numbers for both Nutrition Data calories and calculated calories.
9 of the entrees had a discrepancy of 10 or more. One was off by 33 calories.

However, the average discrepancy was only .065 calories.

This suggests that worrying about such discrepancies is unnecessary. From now on, I am going to follow the macros and ignore the calories. Sometimes the calorie count will be a little higher than expected, sometimes a little lower, but the discrepancy should average out to zero over time.
  60882707

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