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MFP are doing their calorie calculations wrong for REMAINING calories.

norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
And its nothing to do with whether the macro values in a food is correct. (Well, OK, that will of course matter, but that's not the fundamental problem.)

I have an example showing 21g Carbs, 14g fat, 53g protein. With a calorie remaining value of 224. Which is very wrong.

MFP, why is this happening?

These are not rounding errors. And in fact are errors on the order of totally preventing diligent people from accomplishing their goals.
edited June 5
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Replies

  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,489 Member Member Posts: 31,489 Member
    What are you talking about?


    My calorie Goal per day is 1700. My macros are set at 50C 30F 20P

    That works out to:

    1,700 C213 F57 P85 (copied directly from my FOOD page...) which is exactly 50/30/20 using 4g C, 9g F, 4g P
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    Ah, sorry I was misremembering the problem. The problem is the calories remaining calculation for each day. For instance, I have an entry showing that I have nutrients remaining of 21g Carbs, 14g Fat, 53g Protein. And a calories remaining number of 224.

    Which is laughably wrong.

    I have screen shots.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    I couldn't delete the post, so I have edited this post to have the correct problem in it. Which will make the reply by cmriverside seem irrelevant. That is MY fault for posting the problem incorrectly in the first place.
    edited June 5
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,489 Member Member Posts: 31,489 Member
    Ah, sorry I was misremembering the problem. The problem is the calories remaining calculation for each day. For instance, I have an entry showing that I have nutrients remaining of 21g Carbs, 14g Fat, 53g Protein. And a calories remaining number of 224.

    Which is laughably wrong.

    I have screen shots.

    But even THIS is not about the site, it's because the users who created the food entry YOU CHOSE entered the wrong calories or the wrong macros and your FOOD page just adds them up.


    Pick the right entries and make sure they are correct BEFORE YOU USE THEM.

    You do understand that the database is 99.9% crowd-sourced, right? There are Admin-entered ones that do not have this problem. Find them.
    edited June 5
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    @cmriverside The problem is NOTHING to do with food entries.

    It shows my remaining macros as: 21g Carbs, 14g Fat, 53g Protein

    And remaining calories as 224.

    That is INCORRECT. It should be 442.

  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,489 Member Member Posts: 31,489 Member
    @cmriverside The problem is NOTHING to do with food entries.

    It shows my remaining macros as: 21g Carbs, 14g Fat, 53g Protein

    And remaining calories as 224.

    That is INCORRECT. It should be 442.

    Oh, for pete sake.

    Someone
    Entered
    The
    Data
    Incorrectly

    Maybe the calories, maybe the macros, but it's not the machine doing the copying and calculating.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    What are you talking about? You must be talking about something completely different to me.

    I am talking about the maths of adding up the macro calorie values. Thats just maths.

    Where is the confusion here?
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,489 Member Member Posts: 31,489 Member
    Wait. Wait.

    Are you saying that calorie values can be entered independently of the macros in a food entry? And that MFP just adds the columns straight down? No actual macro calculations. No error checking. No sanity checking?

    Yes, that's exactly right. :) One can enter whatever they want in the creation of a new food (or they can even edit it - incorrectly.)
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    What the actual FFFFFFFFF*******.

    Look I could vaguely understand being able to enter a food with just a calorie value.

    But the MOMENT that a macro is entered, that calorie value stops being just another value and MUST become tied to the macros.

    I have never entered the calories for a food I've entered, nor for any of the recipes I've created. It did the calorie calculation for me.

    If MFP aren't even attempting any level of sanity checking for calories vs macros then the entire database is corrupt. I can see why Under Armour wanted to get rid of it.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member

    Pick the right entries and make sure they are correct BEFORE YOU USE THEM.

    You do understand that the database is 99.9% crowd-sourced, right? There are Admin-entered ones that do not have this problem. Find them.

    How does one find "Admin-entered" entries. Are those the ones with the green shield and tick?

    I can't find any way of limiting the food search (at least in the app on iOS) to only those reliable ones.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    I can't speak for anyone else, but discovering that calories and macros are completely disconnected for food in the database is something I never anticipated. Ever.

    And I would suggest that the majority of people (if surveyed) would have not anticipated that either. From a data integrity point of view, it fails at integrating ANY level of sanity checking to food entry. And then it doesn't provide any warning if a food you are choosing to put into your diary has a calorie value that is unreasonable for the stated macros.

    Crowd sourcing the food data is a great idea. Your customers do the work for you, you benefit, and all the other customers benefit. But any crowd sourcing endeavour has to have some level of sanity checking. In this particular case, the relationship between macros and calories is extremely easy for the software to do that basic check on the fly.

    I have had a look around in the FAQs and help on the website, and there is nothing explicitly stating OR implying that macros and calories might have no relation to each other. And to use caution with user entered foods. The closest is some information about the green tick marks for checked food. WE know that people can enter food data themselves, so yes, there is a need to do some due diligence that some stated food isn't wildly off base. BY that I mean that someone may have entered "Fried Chicken" with impossible macros for the weight. Or similar.

    To the best of my knowledge, there is no "Getting started" when you first join that could point out the macro - calorie disconnect.

    The fact that I'm seeing 200 calorie discrepancies in a day is stunningly bad. That's a significant under or overage over a week, month etc. IF its a consistent difference. And it could easily be because of course MFP remembers our previous foods and gives them as an option. So we could just be re-selecting bad data.

    What I REALLY don't understand is why the repliers in this thread (and it looks like most of the people hitting the little icons under each post) are so blase about this?

    It destroys the relationship between macros and calories that we have beaten into us as being so essential.

    In the past I have logged very accurately my foods and drink, weighed myself, used my Fitbit to get an estimate of calories expended and built a graph over time of my calorie difference vs weight. So I could see what MY body was doing with the calories and exercise. Its a lot of work being accurate, as I'm sure I need tell no one here. And its being accurate that shows us if what we are doing is working.

    When I first joined MFP a decade ago I was delighted to have a tool that was trying to make this accuracy easier.

    I knew the food database was crowd sourced.

    MFP was a company that was building its reputation on being able to supply that critical information about macros and calories. As I say above it simply didn't occur to me to question if MFP were doing any basic sanity checking. MFP presents the macros and calories as if they are 100% related to each other. Which they should be. At least to a reasonable error level.

    Now I need to go to Fitbit and see if they use the calorie values supplied by MFP, or if they do their own calorie calculation based on the macros. If Fitbit don't know about this disconnect between calories and macros, then they need to. And if they do know, and are using the MFP calorie values, then they are complicit as well.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    The database is crowd sourced, macro entries don't roll up into a verified calorie count. That's why choosing entries you have confidence in is key.

    So what are your criteria for having confidence in an entry?

    MFP have not suggested any ideas for having confidence. Except of course for the green check marks. That's great, but the vast majority of foods in the database do not have those.

  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    GummiMundi wrote: »
    My confidence in an entry comes from comparing the numbers on *every* entry I use against what the package says. And with generic/unpacked foods, it comes from comparing the numbers on the entry against an "official" database (like former USDA and similar databases).
    I've been logging my food on MFP daily since 2018 and I have no issues. I sometimes notice an entry is incorrect, so I either correct it, find a better one, or create a new one.

    OK. Thanks for the reply.

    So it seems to me that you basically ignore the food database as anything useful except as a shortcut if a particular item in the database matches the exact numbers on the packet you are holding. Or researched from actual official sources. Which neutralises the database as a time saving resource.

    DO you do the macro to calorie calculations to make sure those numbers are within a reasonable error?

    I've just run a calculation on my food diary export I managed to finally get out of MFP. And stated calories versus calculated from macros is almost never the same. It varies from maybe 1% difference up to 50% difference. (Ignoring entries that are clearly wrong.) It seems to consistently lean towards over reporting the calories rather than under reporting. And the total percentage difference for over 4500 food diary entries is 7.9%

    Which for a 2000 calorie day means that MFP over reports my calories by 158cal.

    Which means that my calorie deficit for the periods I was very accurately logging is actually about 1000cal more a week than what my calculations showed. Which makes my very slow weight loss vs calorie difference even worse than it already was. Its just one kick in the teeth after another
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,917 Member Member Posts: 18,917 Member
    What the actual FFFFFFFFF*******.

    Look I could vaguely understand being able to enter a food with just a calorie value.

    But the MOMENT that a macro is entered, that calorie value stops being just another value and MUST become tied to the macros.

    I have never entered the calories for a food I've entered, nor for any of the recipes I've created. It did the calorie calculation for me.

    If MFP aren't even attempting any level of sanity checking for calories vs macros then the entire database is corrupt. I can see why Under Armour wanted to get rid of it.

    Oh - you need to go look at more food labels if you think all macros will add up to the stated calories.

    Even entries that are correct in the database will cause decent sized issues by the end of the day totaled up.

    There is no math between those figures.


    And FYI - Green checks on items were accurate up to one point in time - I've found probably 25% are still correct for what I'm logging, otherwise too old and food maker changed things. And you can't edit them.
    I always start with other entries.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,489 Member Member Posts: 31,489 Member
    Also, don't trust the green check marks. Many of those are wrong, too.

    You really have to vet every single item Completely before you use it.

    Go to https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/

    Choose "SR Legacy Foods" in the menu bar at the top. Find your food. Copy and paste that exact wording into the Search on Myfitnesspal.






    A side note: If you find items in the database that have "USDA" in their titles, they were entered by other users of the site. The admin-entered items do NOT have "USDA" anywhere in their descriptions. So if you find "USDA" entries, make sure you check those for accuracy, too.
  • socajamsocajam Member, Premium Posts: 2,601 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,601 Member
    GummiMundi wrote: »
    My confidence in an entry comes from comparing the numbers on *every* entry I use against what the package says. And with generic/unpacked foods, it comes from comparing the numbers on the entry against an "official" database (like former USDA and similar databases).
    I've been logging my food on MFP daily since 2018 and I have no issues. I sometimes notice an entry is incorrect, so I either correct it, find a better one, or create a new one.

    Like you I do the same thing or I would edit the food with the correct entry and add "corrected" to the food so that people would know that the food was corrected

    I always check before adding any food - sometimes I think people are illiterate in the way they enter the food
    Who ever heard of say "1 tbsp of cereal" for example - just weight the food to get a more accurate figure
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