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TOPIC: The database is oversaturated

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February 15, 2013 7:23 AM
The database is oversaturated with too many specific meals with many things in them making it too difficult to find generic items. When I search for for example "fried turkey breast" I get hundreds of results of foods with sandwiches homemade meals including turkey including all other stuff which people eat together with turkey, special meals including by dozens of restaurants, brands...etc. I want the first result to be general turkey fried turkey breast with most confirmations - nothing else.

It appears people make specific homemade meals witch include many different foods and input them into the database. This is fine as it makes it more easy for them to add those meals again , but don't put those specialized meals in the database for others as it oversaturates the database with meals that people rarely eat in those specific food combinations. Beside that it does not spcifically state how much of specific foods a particular meal (for example sandwich) includes making them next to useless for most people.

When I eat a turkey, cheese and onion sandwich I will add specific foods myself by how much of each it includes. This exact sandwich can have totally different ratios than what I eat.

This could be solved for example by separating the database into generic items category and specific combined meals or by some different means.

Cheers!
Edited by ProudTraitor On February 15, 2013 7:25 AM
February 15, 2013 8:35 AM
I get irritated when I find half a dozen entries for the exact same product. Doesn't anyone ever search BEFORE they submit something?
  452618
February 15, 2013 8:44 AM
yea...that's my main gripe about MFP...I love everything else except this in the database.
  2520251
February 15, 2013 8:53 AM
Welcome to crowd sourcing.
  6560859
February 15, 2013 9:06 AM
I just make sure I create my own item. If I eat it again (GOOD OR BAD), its usually the same amount or easily quartered to what I want. I am not depending on these foods. MAKE SURE WHAT YOU ARE EATING, HAS A LABEL. STAY IN CHARGE OF WHAT YOU KNOW.
  6187572
February 16, 2013 11:48 AM
QUOTE:

I get irritated when I find half a dozen entries for the exact same product. Doesn't anyone ever search BEFORE they submit something?


MFP actually does search automatically for you when you enter a new food with a similar name to something in the database. So there is no excuse for not searching since it is done for you. I think what happens is that there isn't an exact match in the database in the way of cals, sodium, etc, so people add a new one instead of just updating the one in the database.

I know that I have also seen exact matches in the database. That is that all the nutritional counts are identical. I think there should be a check in the system for that to clean out those exact matches.
  16475371
March 3, 2013 3:57 AM
I'm not talking about duplicates, those are not so much of a problem. I am talking about specific homemade foods useless to most people other than those who have input them.

It's fine for brand foods like McDonalds, Subway, KFC etc. or even smaller restaurants which have roughly the same quantities of items in them and are eaten by many many people. But just "ham and cheese sandwich" is useless to me since I don't know how much of cheese or ham or bread is in it...unless it more specifically states.

Also I think generic foods should be separate or at least always on top. If I search for example "cheese" I want the first results to be just most popular types of cheese itself, not all specific foods including cheese. And "chicken" should give me just chicken with options of cooked, roasted, or grilled. With oil or without. Not millions of foods containing chicken. If I want those specific foods I'll search for them.

"Coffee" should give me just brands of coffee with options; with milk or without, with sugar or without...etc. Generic things first.
March 3, 2013 8:31 AM
I agree. The DB has way too much data. Unfortunately one of this site's greatest strengths (the DB) is also a definite weakness.

I could see providing 4 DB list options just for an example:
1. everything just like it is now
2. filter and allow only site provided data
3. filter and allow only user provided data that had been confirmed by at least X number of other users
4. any user data with no sanity check

There are probably other schemes that would work as well or better.

As much as I like this site and the basic functionality, sometime the devil's in the details, and some of the details around here are very frustrating to deal with.

To make it worse, it appears that there must be a very small development team supporting this site that must be primarily concerned with bug fixing because there are any number of long standing feature improvements that people do everything except get down on their knees and beg for.

The two that bug me the most are issues with the DB and the inability to edit the "recent foods" list.
Edited by dondimitri On March 3, 2013 8:34 AM
March 3, 2013 9:01 AM
Maybe two databases? Or at least an option to filter out user-added content. Also to differentiate between user-added brand name of certain product and user-added recipes. I don't really want other people's recipes since that is not what I'm making exactly. I do like user-added brand name products or McDonald's meals. And I do like the "confirm accuracy" part.
March 3, 2013 9:12 AM
Yep. I couldn't agree more that it's annoying not to be able to find simple items in the forest of duplicates and generic homemade stuff. I use (and love) MFP because it's free. But, it's horrible to do a search and find such a crazy list.

When I need a straightforward answer for something that people have used (and uploaded) in a million recipes (like "boneless, skinless chicken thigh"), I go to CalorieKing's app or website. They're straightforward and very reliable. Their list starts with the basic item at the top!

I don't use their app for tracking my daily food because it costs a monthly fee. But, it's free to use for looking at calorie counts.
March 3, 2013 9:38 AM
Is there an option where people can add their own foods in the recipes section, but not add it to the general database? if so, it should be promoted, so the DB does not become overcrowded.

Myself, I add individual items, but it can be frustrating searching through the database. I try to confirm other people's information where I can on products I am likely to use regularly, as this then tends to put them at the top of my search lists. I always do a few searches for a product before adding it just to ensure I am not missing something. I check several alternative names just to be sure. So far, I've only had to add one item, which was so new it wasn't even listed on the manufacturers website (well, not in English).
  28778422
March 4, 2013 9:02 AM
I've found the trick is to use concise secondary search terms like: "generic", "raw", "usda", etc.... Example, if i want raw chicken breast I will usually search "chicken breast raw usda". Or for prepacked foods terms like: "dry", "unprepared", etc work well too.
  33803537
March 4, 2013 9:45 AM
+1

The main problems are the duplication of entries for the same item (even specific brand-name products) with identical nutrition info - there should be a way to report duplicates to either trigger an automatic algorithm (compare nutrition information & names for similarity; if they're found to be identical, merge the entries, keeping the information from the most-used item), or to flag for human review.

I'm also annoyed with the "homemade" entries - until this includes the recipes, this information is useless to me. The only time these should be included in the database is when they include the source for the recipe (which has been entered without any substitutions of alterations).
March 4, 2013 3:27 PM
Also, is there a way to make "generic" always default at the top? Seriously, Safeway's fresh red raspberries are pretty much the same $@&M thing as Trader Joe's fresh red raspberries.
March 4, 2013 3:28 PM
just searched for "Broccoli Bread". Couldn't find it.
March 4, 2013 3:31 PM
GIGO
March 4, 2013 3:36 PM
QUOTE:

Also, is there a way to make "generic" always default at the top? Seriously, Safeway's fresh red raspberries are pretty much the same $@&M thing as Trader Joe's fresh red raspberries.


THIS.
I hate having to scroll through for the generic one (which usually has the most nutrition info also.)

There should definitely be a way to sort.
  35000189
March 4, 2013 3:39 PM
I'll have to research this more, but when I add recipes for myself MFP asks if I want to include it for public and I always say no. Maybe people are missing this step, or is that different from adding foods? I haven't added any foods.
  27739344
March 4, 2013 3:39 PM
This issue torks me off every single time I enter something. However, it seems consistent with every site of the type.
  27145096
March 5, 2013 6:02 AM
QUOTE:

I get irritated when I find half a dozen entries for the exact same product. Doesn't anyone ever search BEFORE they submit something?

Sometimes I'm guilty of putting in duplicates. I *do* search, but it is common that I find the same product with different nutritional information. I don't know if the product has changed, it's a regional difference, or something else. Sometimes the serving size is different, etc. I don't want to accidentally mess up someone else's numbers. Instead of "correcting" the one I found I add a new one, based on the package in my hand.
  29509817
March 5, 2013 10:01 PM
I agree, the polluted database is the biggest failing of MFP. I eat mainly self prepared meals which can be tough enough to find such things as "chicken breast" but my occasional Burger King results in hundreds of duplicate entries to wade through. Also many of those duplicates have measurements in the wrong system for me.

An option to ignore user submitted items would be useful addition.
Edited by TamaBrett On March 5, 2013 10:07 PM
March 5, 2013 10:23 PM
QUOTE:

I'll have to research this more, but when I add recipes for myself MFP asks if I want to include it for public and I always say no. Maybe people are missing this step, or is that different from adding foods? I haven't added any foods.


Adding foods is different than adding recipes. I always create my own recipes and just save them to my own database. This is different than adding a specific food into the database.

I HATE that there's no filter for the DB.
  33674569
March 5, 2013 11:52 PM
QUOTE:

just searched for "Broccoli Bread". Couldn't find it.


You will have to add it to the Database
  38263215
March 6, 2013 10:55 AM
QUOTE:

An option to ignore user submitted items would be useful addition.


PLEASE.
  452618
March 6, 2013 11:07 AM
Or how about an algorithm that sorts more complete nutritional information to the top? I had to try three different entries for red grapes before I came across one that included the potassium.

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