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TOPIC: Inaccurate database items...

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October 8, 2012 5:18 PM
I've come across a number of:

- wildly inaccurate items in the database. For example, "Pcc - Peas In A Pod Salad" is a pasta salad that supposedly has no carbs.

- items that are vaguely measured. For example, highly detailed nutritional information for a salad that is measured as "a bowl."

- Odd combinations. An item listed as a "two-egg omelette" that is measured in cups. (Is one cup of a two-egg omelette different than a cup of three-egg omelette?)

It would be nice to have some way to flag these for review and correction/removal. I'm happy to submit corrections, but in many cases it's impossible to know the correct information (e.g., such as as the carb-free pasta above or the "bowl" salad).

[Does correcting these actually change the master database, or just my own account?]
October 9, 2012 2:41 AM
I agree.
There's no reliable system for quality checking and no system for removing unnecessary items.
If a food item is 100% complete nonsense then you can either correct it or add the word 'Delete'.
October 9, 2012 2:44 AM
I have the same issues... red meat with no iron % put against it so my nutrients look like I'm not eating iron.

I have started correcting where I can, my other issue is duplication.. I wish I could get access to their core database and do some data integrity work for them.
October 9, 2012 4:29 AM
One thin you can do is when you select the item in the database, click "nutritional information." That shows you the info before you put it in your own diary. In that window there is an option to mark it accurate or inaccurate. I don't know that anyone checks to remove such things, but it's there so you know in the future how many folks have flagged it wrong.

Meantime, for recipes-put your own ingredients in and build your own set of recipes. Then you know it IS accurate.

When I used SparkPeople there was an option to choose whether you wanted to see entries from other users or not. I'd rather not and just use mine and the official database, personally. I'd love to see that option here.
  14436961
October 9, 2012 5:04 AM
I noticed this issue after I had gained 5lbs doing what I thought was really well on my eating - went back and double checked my days and finally figured out it was the errors on the database that had me posting wrong and leading me to believe I had more room in my macros than I thought - now I dont use anything off the database unless it completely matches the lables in my hand. Like 50kg says I'd love to get my hands on their database to do some corrections. If I start finding too many errors I think Im just going to create my own spreadsheet & database from actual lables of what I eat to track my eating.
  28245586
October 9, 2012 5:07 AM
Most database items are user-entered. It's up to you to verify the accuracy of what you eat.
October 9, 2012 5:08 AM
I hate these. I hate the ones that have all the information right and matching on the package, carbs, sodium, everything and then, for some reason the calories are off by like 10-20, it pisses me off so much, how can you get everything right but need to mess up the entire entry by having the calories off by a tiny bit?
  16416816
October 9, 2012 5:14 AM
For this EXACT same reason is why i check EVERYTHING and if it doesn't match the package in my hand i either edit it so that it does(if i have that option) or i just enter the new food according to the info i have on that food!! Some of things are so far off it isn't even funny!! And another thing is, i weigh EVERYTHING and some of the stuff is like 1 apple, well i have seen very large apples and very small apples so how do you go by that???? Like i said i weigh EVERYTHING!!!!
  103981
October 9, 2012 5:15 AM
QUOTE:

I hate these. I hate the ones that have all the information right and matching on the package, carbs, sodium, everything and then, for some reason the calories are off by like 10-20, it pisses me off so much, how can you get everything right but need to mess up the entire entry by having the calories off by a tiny bit?


Me too. Recipes change, but it's impossible that the other information is unaffected, carbs should go up or whatever. We'll just correct as we go, so this stops happening so much, yeah?
  9711248
October 9, 2012 5:16 AM
QUOTE:

One thin you can do is when you select the item in the database, click "nutritional information." That shows you the info before you put it in your own diary. In that window there is an option to mark it accurate or inaccurate. I don't know that anyone checks to remove such things, but it's there so you know in the future how many folks have flagged it wrong.

Meantime, for recipes-put your own ingredients in and build your own set of recipes. Then you know it IS accurate.

When I used SparkPeople there was an option to choose whether you wanted to see entries from other users or not. I'd rather not and just use mine and the official database, personally. I'd love to see that option here.


This option is available. See My Foods.
  9711248
October 9, 2012 5:19 AM
QUOTE:

I have the same issues... red meat with no iron % put against it so my nutrients look like I'm not eating iron.

I have started correcting where I can, my other issue is duplication.. I wish I could get access to their core database and do some data integrity work for them.


Unfortunately, the MFP creators have chosen the % option, so even though I know the nutritional content, I can't add the micronutrient because I can't convert it to a percentage of RNI, because that is entirely dependant on age, sex and weight.
The other problem is, it's a user generated database, and most people don't have the information of micronutrient content of foods available.
  9711248
October 9, 2012 5:22 AM
I know that there's a zero protein chicken sandwich in the database. LOL!

Seriously, I've learned that its best to double check things in the data base with a second on line source with the exception of things that I eat repeatedly like fruit or chicken breast.

Even with a recipe, I will fill it out ingredient by ingredient to see if it makes sense.
October 9, 2012 5:22 AM
QUOTE:

For this EXACT same reason is why i check EVERYTHING and if it doesn't match the package in my hand i either edit it so that it does(if i have that option) or i just enter the new food according to the info i have on that food!! Some of things are so far off it isn't even funny!! And another thing is, i weigh EVERYTHING and some of the stuff is like 1 apple, well i have seen very large apples and very small apples so how do you go by that???? Like i said i weigh EVERYTHING!!!!


Yes, packet, glass, waffle, piece, bowl, steak, scoop, etc are all completely useless. I edit where ever I can too. There's nothing we can do to change this without educating and disciplining every user.
  9711248
October 9, 2012 5:26 AM
I think some of your problem amy be , you are looking at recipes other people have entered. When you enter a recipe you have the option to add it to the database. The problem with that, is using different ingredients for the same dish can drastically change the calorie/nutrition content. It's a bit more work, but I want to "know" as close as possible, what I'm actually eating so every time I cook I enter a new recipe. If it's something I have made before, I go back to my recipe and make sure I'm using the exact same ingredients, if not I edit the recipe.

The standard food items on here, I have had no problem with whatsoever. I always check the label to what MFP says the first time I enter something, And I've yet to see a mistake there.

So if you're making a PB&J, instead of searching for that, put each item in one by one. It takes a little longer, but you won't have that problem anymore.
  19648884
October 9, 2012 5:27 AM
QUOTE:

Most database items are user-entered. It's up to you to verify the accuracy of what you eat.


This

I know it's frustrating, but the only other options for databases would be professional nutrition software, but these only contain basic foods, are seldom updated, and retail at £600+.

The only way to fix these issues would be to limit how/who of how data is entered. This would mean that you'd not be able to correct food or add new foods when your shop invents a new flavour or finds a new food to sell and would ultimately lead to less usability and flexibility.
  9711248
October 9, 2012 5:28 AM
How about chiobani yogurts with 0 calcium. That's a kicker for me! It's got 20% MDR ... of course you can always go to the website and get the actual amount and put it in. I guess it's better to err on the side of NOT putting something into the general database unless you've got all the skinny on the product.
  30433008
October 9, 2012 5:31 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

For this EXACT same reason is why i check EVERYTHING and if it doesn't match the package in my hand i either edit it so that it does(if i have that option) or i just enter the new food according to the info i have on that food!! Some of things are so far off it isn't even funny!! And another thing is, i weigh EVERYTHING and some of the stuff is like 1 apple, well i have seen very large apples and very small apples so how do you go by that???? Like i said i weigh EVERYTHING!!!!

Yes, packet, glass, waffle, piece, bowl, steak, scoop, etc are all completely useless. I edit where ever I can too. There's nothing we can do to change this without educating and disciplining every user.

I disagree that these entries are useless - I've never been obsessive about weighing every single thing I eat, so for me one apple, one fillet of salmon, one chicken wing, one bowl of soup have been handy... different strokes for different folks.
And a handy hint for you - look for database entries with no * in front - these have been entered by MFP (not users) so should be accurate.
  4147547
October 9, 2012 5:35 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

For this EXACT same reason is why i check EVERYTHING and if it doesn't match the package in my hand i either edit it so that it does(if i have that option) or i just enter the new food according to the info i have on that food!! Some of things are so far off it isn't even funny!! And another thing is, i weigh EVERYTHING and some of the stuff is like 1 apple, well i have seen very large apples and very small apples so how do you go by that???? Like i said i weigh EVERYTHING!!!!

Yes, packet, glass, waffle, piece, bowl, steak, scoop, etc are all completely useless. I edit where ever I can too. There's nothing we can do to change this without educating and disciplining every user.

I disagree that these entries are useless - I've never been obsessive about weighing every single thing I eat, so for me one apple, one fillet of salmon, one chicken wing, one bowl of soup have been handy... different strokes for different folks.
And a handy hint for you - look for database entries with no * in front - these have been entered by MFP (not users) so should be accurate.


It's amazing you used one fillet of salmon as an example.
  9711248
October 9, 2012 5:50 AM
Call me anal it you want, but I have also found a number of inaccuracies in the food data base. Now I always review the nutritional information before I add it to my daily food listing. In addition to the listing here, I also maintain a separate spreadsheet that generates a monthly average based on my daily food intake. I track calories, carbs, protein, fat, cholesterol, and sodium on my spreadsheet and have found that total calories can vary by as much as 40 or 50 in a day.

Years ago, I learned that calories are only made up of 3 basic components - carbs, protein and fat. One gram of carbs equals 4 calories, one gram of protein equals 4 calories, and one gram of fat equals 9 calories. Knowing that, the calories should approximate the calculation of the three basics, but many here are not that close. In some instances, I have found that some people only enter calories without regard for the basic components. I would like to see that all user entries can only update the database if they contain specific entries for all components.

All this being said, I still think this is one of the best sites for weight control out there. I have found that a great many people do take the time to enter items very accurately. Just some of my thoughts.
October 9, 2012 5:53 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

QUOTE:

For this EXACT same reason is why i check EVERYTHING and if it doesn't match the package in my hand i either edit it so that it does(if i have that option) or i just enter the new food according to the info i have on that food!! Some of things are so far off it isn't even funny!! And another thing is, i weigh EVERYTHING and some of the stuff is like 1 apple, well i have seen very large apples and very small apples so how do you go by that???? Like i said i weigh EVERYTHING!!!!

Yes, packet, glass, waffle, piece, bowl, steak, scoop, etc are all completely useless. I edit where ever I can too. There's nothing we can do to change this without educating and disciplining every user.

I disagree that these entries are useless - I've never been obsessive about weighing every single thing I eat, so for me one apple, one fillet of salmon, one chicken wing, one bowl of soup have been handy... different strokes for different folks.
And a handy hint for you - look for database entries with no * in front - these have been entered by MFP (not users) so should be accurate.


It's amazing you used one fillet of salmon as an example.


The amazing thing is all the packed crap food in the database. Most the time all I can find is packed BS and fast food. I realized quickly that this is a site for people with real problems, not someone like me that has a slight over indulgence for candy, but really don't eat fast food and don't eat that bad at all.

What's up with a cup of broccoli? What does that even mean? How can one banana always be 110 cals when they are all different sizes?

The past few days, I did have things from a package or can, and it is very obvious, and yet people entered the wrong values. I think I figured one of them out, they were entering what they ate, not a single serving. So, for a can of soup, they ate the whole can, so they were doubling all the value, rather than entering a serving. It's things like that that screw up the database and it drives me insane, especially for things that come Ina clearly marked package and they are the same everywhere.

Anyway, there could be improvements, but at the same time, I can usually figure it out or enter my own thing. I like some of the general entries because if I eat put, I have no idea about a piece of salmon. Sometimes, I do just pick a "filet of salmon". In fact, I've piced entire meals before off the database because being a calorie counter for years, I'm pretty good at looking at a plate and adding it up in my head and having a good approximation of what it is. Usually, when I've written down what I thought, and then add up the elements, I over estimate, most of the time.

Whatever, it's life not a science lab. Also, just in case anyone is really freaked out, calorie labels are wrong and companies are allowed to be off by 20%. Guess which side they err on? Anyway, rather than worry about precision, just try to learn that in general, a piece of bread is x calories, and a potato is about x calories and a slab of fish is y calories, and eventually youll be able to eye ball a plate of food and know where you're at. It's not an exact science at all. Just stay in the ball park.
October 9, 2012 5:54 AM
QUOTE:


Meantime, for recipes-put your own ingredients in and build your own set of recipes. Then you know it IS accurate.



This!

I've had to start doing this with my personal recipes, too. I need to start working to build my own database of My Foods and not share them since the public database is generally a cluster of misinformation due to users sharing foods with incomplete information. It's almost as if there's an army of people deliberately contaminating the MFP database ?

The database is not really all that convenient, I've found very few items that match the nutrition labels. I understand units of measure will be different by regions, maybe MFP could add an automatic conversion table if it's not too much of a load on the servers?

Still, right now, if we're serious about tracking nutrition with the service then I think we're better off grabbing all our labels and government published nutrition information to make up a database of My Foods to reflect our own little world.
October 9, 2012 6:01 AM
QUOTE:

Call me anal it you want, but I have also found a number of inaccuracies in the food data base. Now I always review the nutritional information before I add it to my daily food listing. In addition to the listing here, I also maintain a separate spreadsheet that generates a monthly average based on my daily food intake. I track calories, carbs, protein, fat, cholesterol, and sodium on my spreadsheet and have found that total calories can vary by as much as 40 or 50 in a day.

Years ago, I learned that calories are only made up of 3 basic components - carbs, protein and fat. One gram of carbs equals 4 calories, one gram of protein equals 4 calories, and one gram of fat equals 9 calories. Knowing that, the calories should approximate the calculation of the three basics, but many here are not that close. In some instances, I have found that some people only enter calories without regard for the basic components. I would like to see that all user entries can only update the database if they contain specific entries for all components.

All this being said, I still think this is one of the best sites for weight control out there. I have found that a great many people do take the time to enter items very accurately. Just some of my thoughts.


Macros is one method I thought could be used to throw up error messages when a user enters erroneous nutrition. However, it's not just the database that is guilty of this. If you look at serving nutrition and per 100g nutrition, you'll find that seldom do they add up. There is a lot of rounding that goes on in nutritional information labels.
  9711248
October 9, 2012 6:26 AM
QUOTE:


What's up with a cup of broccoli? What does that even mean?


Are you not in the US? That's a unit of measurement!
  250318
October 9, 2012 9:13 AM
Maybe if there was a way to downvote submissions with a set of reasons for flagging i.e. Inaccurate, out of date, brand closed, etc.
October 9, 2012 9:22 AM
I agree. Is there a "help" function where we can go to make suggestions like these to the administrators?

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