Myfitnesspal

Message Boards MFP Suggestions/Feedback
You are currently viewing the message boards in:

MFP are doing their calorie calculations wrong for REMAINING calories.

2

Replies

  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,457 Member Member Posts: 31,457 Member
    socajam wrote: »
    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

    Even "corrected" is a matter of opinion.


    Manufacturers change recipes, formulations and portion sizes all the time. If it isn't a MY FOOD or in my, "Recents" list, I don't use it.


    Editing a food that is in the public database is no guarantee, either. I can come behind you and re-edit it. :lol:
    edited June 6
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,880 Member Member Posts: 18,880 Member
    I've not checked - do edited/corrected items really show up in the general database for others?

    I was beginning to think it was a feature partly implemented - let you check the box, but nothing was done about it in reality.

    Same as not showing the number of responses of incorrect, only correct. At least a date as to last confirmed correct, if that person can read anyway, which they can't many times.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,457 Member Member Posts: 31,457 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    I've not checked - do edited/corrected items really show up in the general database for others?

    I was beginning to think it was a feature partly implemented - let you check the box, but nothing was done about it in reality.

    Same as not showing the number of responses of incorrect, only correct. At least a date as to last confirmed correct, if that person can read anyway, which they can't many times.



    In the olden days EVERY new food item got automatically added to the public database. That part is a fact. That's how it was when I joined, no choices, it all went to building the Google-Enormous database. At some point the option was given to us to choose whether or not to share new entries to the public database.

    Today I would have to specifically specify by ticking a box that I want to Share to the public database. I never do that.


    Any new item I put in is solely my property, and you can't see it. See if you can see this: "New Shrimp Ceasar whole grain linguini zucchini tomato parm" (I think you won't see it, but I've never tested this.)
    ____________________________
    As far as Editing:

    This is what I think happens (but I can't prove it and no one answers me in tech)

    Any time I find an item that is pretty close to what I want and it's already in the database I edit it. So if everything is right except (for instance) the protein, I'll change the protein and save it. I believe that updated-protein food then becomes a MY FOOD (i.e. a brand new listing in my MY FOODS list) - BUT!! I think it stays the same for the person who entered it originally. That's what I think. Other people, including Cyber Tone think it changes in the database for the original owner, too. I just think it changes in the database for whoever makes the edit.

    I don't go back to the database to search for something very often - so it's a mystery.

    We should test that, you and I, heybales. I don't really care that much though. :lol:


    ______________________

    edited June 6
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,303 Member Member Posts: 7,303 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.

    This wouldn't even work, since macros never add up exactly to calories because (1) rounding (at least on packaged items, the USDA entries should not have this issue); and (2) fiber counts towards carbs in the US, but is not allotted 4 calories.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,303 Member Member Posts: 7,303 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.

    It's time saving, since you just search the database to find what matches up with your packaged items (the information on packaged items change over time and are different in different countries, so macros making sense with the cals wouldn't tell me if the cals or macros were right for my item). For whole foods, you learn how to identify the USDA entries by the way they are written and the many unit options (including 100 g), or you check with the USDA site. Once you use an entry, it will end up in recent or frequent -- it was a bit more trouble initially, but became easy and fast.
  • yekcalyekcal Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1 Member
    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

    This has been a frustration for me as well. I am relatively new user (Feb 2021) and up until now, my weight loss has been fairly consistent. In the last few weeks, I've noticed that my weight loss is less consistent and is not going as fast. Since my ultimate weight goal is 100 pounds and I'm just 30 pounds into it, I am tracking a variety of things in an attempt to fine tune my diet (as I'm unable to exercise due to a back injury) to achieve my goal.

    I have opened a couple support tickets with MFP over these and other database issues and any response I receive reveal that my comments are not even being read accurately and as such, any of their fixes are useless. :(

    For me, what is working is looking extensively through the database to find a food that most closely matches the label if possible and if not, creating a new food. I have used the USDA database occasionally but I didn't find it very easy to use so that's not a quick fix as I'm logging a meal but something I do when I'm on my computer and analyzing my meals and weight loss.

    My sympathies are with you, Norman Cates. I hope you figure out a solution that is a good fit for you.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    All of this information from the users who have replied to this topic needs to go into a "Getting Started with MFP" entry somewhere so people can know what they need to do if they actually want to be as accurate as possible.

    ie. Ignore MFP food database entirely, and enter your own foods with the values you know are correct.

    Personally I am trying out at least one other food database / recording app (MyNetDiary) and seeing how that works. Whether it has any of the foods we have here in New Zealand, if we can enter our own foods specifically for us, and if the data exports are actually useful.

    MyNetDiary is free in similar ways to MFP, but is SUPPOSED to be curated and confirmed. ie user entries can be sent to them, and they will do a validity checking. Now of course ti depends on how good a job they do on that. I shall be seeing how that goes and what confidence is warranted.

    My reason for MND at the moment is because it will connect to FitBit (although only if you buy premium).

    And if the data exports for MND actually work and the data is usable, then that will be the clincher.

    Even if I do have to enter my own foods manually, as people have pointed out that list will grow.

    Basically if the data export from MND works, then I will for sure be totally done with MFP.

    I just wish that everyone using MFP knew to simply not trust it at all, so that they can have the best chance for success.

    I hate the cynicism that these companies have created in me over the years. Its become very clear that they are interested in keeping us confused and being unsuccessful in our efforts so that we keep giving them money and blaming ourselves for everything. I'll accept blame for things that are my fault. Not for companies being dishonest about how to use their products.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »

    This wouldn't even work, since macros never add up exactly to calories because (1) rounding (at least on packaged items, the USDA entries should not have this issue); and (2) fiber counts towards carbs in the US, but is not allotted 4 calories.

    Thats why I keep saying macros should match calories within a reasonable error margin. Maybe I didn't say that in the first post? I thought I kept saying it in my other posts.

    AS for carbs / fibre.... That is confusing. I assume because of the way calorie values are generated, fibre looks like carbs to the "burn it and see the energy we get out" tests.

    I would have thought that if those values are supplied separately, then MFP or us can make that calculation independently.


  • GummiMundiGummiMundi Member Posts: 359 Member Member Posts: 359 Member
    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?

    On the contrary, I find the food database to be quite useful. The vast majority of items that I have logged in my diary come from database entries that I found to be correct. Only a small percentage of them have I had to correct or create new ones.

    You may think that what I do is a waste of time, and you're entitled to your opinion. For me, the seconds/minutes that I spend checking the labels are time well-invested.

    Plus, I only need to do that once for a food I'm eating for the first time, or that I rarely eat. Even though manufacturers can change their recipes and labels every now and then, they're not doing it so often that I have to check my usual brand of milk every day (once in a while will suffice). And frequent foods will show up in my diary, so it's even faster to log them.

    And regarding macros, no, I don't do calorie calculations on the numbers shown in the package unless they're so off that it's obvious that something is wrong. Just like I don't run independent lab tests on the manufacturer's numbers. I value accuracy in my logging, but within reason.

    I'm sorry MFP is not meeting your accuracy standards. You can always create your own database on a spreadsheet and use it instead of MFP. At least then you'd know all the entries were accurate, because they'd be your own. It's honestly the only suggestion I can offer at this point.
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,880 Member Member Posts: 18,880 Member
    Ditto to the majority of items being correct in my usage, slight majority. Searching too specifically does not seem to help, because people put in the wrong names sometimes, but somehow get the nutrition label right.
    And the fact the serving size and calories is displayed on the web search list allows skipping old entries, and maybe in 2-4 clicks I've found the right one.
    Sometimes if there seems to be a vast amount of options, I'll pick the close one and correct the wrong info.
    edited June 7
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,880 Member Member Posts: 18,880 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    I've not checked - do edited/corrected items really show up in the general database for others?

    I was beginning to think it was a feature partly implemented - let you check the box, but nothing was done about it in reality.

    Same as not showing the number of responses of incorrect, only correct. At least a date as to last confirmed correct, if that person can read anyway, which they can't many times.



    In the olden days EVERY new food item got automatically added to the public database. That part is a fact. That's how it was when I joined, no choices, it all went to building the Google-Enormous database. At some point the option was given to us to choose whether or not to share new entries to the public database.

    Today I would have to specifically specify by ticking a box that I want to Share to the public database. I never do that.


    Any new item I put in is solely my property, and you can't see it. See if you can see this: "New Shrimp Ceasar whole grain linguini zucchini tomato parm" (I think you won't see it, but I've never tested this.)
    ____________________________
    As far as Editing:

    This is what I think happens (but I can't prove it and no one answers me in tech)

    Any time I find an item that is pretty close to what I want and it's already in the database I edit it. So if everything is right except (for instance) the protein, I'll change the protein and save it. I believe that updated-protein food then becomes a MY FOOD (i.e. a brand new listing in my MY FOODS list) - BUT!! I think it stays the same for the person who entered it originally. That's what I think. Other people, including Cyber Tone think it changes in the database for the original owner, too. I just think it changes in the database for whoever makes the edit.

    I don't go back to the database to search for something very often - so it's a mystery.

    We should test that, you and I, heybales. I don't really care that much though. :lol:
    ______________________

    Well now you got me all curious!

    Clif - Clif Bar - White Chocolate Macadamia

    I changed Calcium from 25% to 15% 2 days ago, they got everything else correct, except the name of the company is actually Clif Bar as shown everywhere on packaging, but I didn't correct that because I can figure it out on this one.

    I did not find your entry - but found many that look no where near as healthy! Unless yours is almost 30% fat.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    GummiMundi wrote: »
    You may think that what I do is a waste of time, and you're entitled to your opinion. For me, the seconds/minutes that I spend checking the labels are time well-invested.

    I'm sorry MFP is not meeting your accuracy standards. You can always create your own database on a spreadsheet and use it instead of MFP. At least then you'd know all the entries were accurate, because they'd be your own. It's honestly the only suggestion I can offer at this point.

    No I don't think what you're doing is a waste of time. Clearly it's very neccessary. I have sometimes, when I have remembered, done a quick sanity check with the values in the database and whats on the packaging. Now, I have not done that very much after a while of using it.

    But that's mostly not my issue at all.

    My issue is that MFP has not put in the slightest ATTEMPT to sanity check the user entries using the entered information. Nor to warn us on the food diary end if the calories and macros are too out of whack relative to each other.

    If this had all been known to me 10 years ago when I started using it, then I could have been in the same position as others here who do check carefully every new food.

    AS it is, I feel like I have wasted a lot of time and frustration with data that appears to be sufficiently wrong that it makes my genuine attempts to improve myself something of a joke.

    Theres no reason you should know my background, but suffice to say that my anger in this matter is born out of decades of struggle to lose weight, not a momentary setback.

    To buckle down and do the right things which haven't worked. Unless I basically took appetite suppressors and had very little to eat.

    MFP losing years of my data that I wanted to run some analysis on.

    And the inability to do anything useful with my exported data to try to work out whats going on and what I need to change to get results.

    So its a whole pile of things that MFP just fails at.

    Sorry if this has come across as a temper tantrum, but I genuinely expected better from a company purporting to help us in our self improvement journeys. Naive perhaps. But there we go.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,457 Member Member Posts: 31,457 Member
    heybales wrote: »
    heybales wrote: »
    I've not checked - do edited/corrected items really show up in the general database for others?

    I was beginning to think it was a feature partly implemented - let you check the box, but nothing was done about it in reality.

    Same as not showing the number of responses of incorrect, only correct. At least a date as to last confirmed correct, if that person can read anyway, which they can't many times.



    In the olden days EVERY new food item got automatically added to the public database. That part is a fact. That's how it was when I joined, no choices, it all went to building the Google-Enormous database. At some point the option was given to us to choose whether or not to share new entries to the public database.

    Today I would have to specifically specify by ticking a box that I want to Share to the public database. I never do that.


    Any new item I put in is solely my property, and you can't see it. See if you can see this: "New Shrimp Ceasar whole grain linguini zucchini tomato parm" (I think you won't see it, but I've never tested this.)
    ____________________________
    As far as Editing:

    This is what I think happens (but I can't prove it and no one answers me in tech)

    Any time I find an item that is pretty close to what I want and it's already in the database I edit it. So if everything is right except (for instance) the protein, I'll change the protein and save it. I believe that updated-protein food then becomes a MY FOOD (i.e. a brand new listing in my MY FOODS list) - BUT!! I think it stays the same for the person who entered it originally. That's what I think. Other people, including Cyber Tone think it changes in the database for the original owner, too. I just think it changes in the database for whoever makes the edit.

    I don't go back to the database to search for something very often - so it's a mystery.

    We should test that, you and I, heybales. I don't really care that much though. :lol:
    ______________________

    Well now you got me all curious!

    Clif - Clif Bar - White Chocolate Macadamia

    I changed Calcium from 25% to 15% 2 days ago, they got everything else correct, except the name of the company is actually Clif Bar as shown everywhere on packaging, but I didn't correct that because I can figure it out on this one.

    I did not find your entry - but found many that look no where near as healthy! Unless yours is almost 30% fat.

    Shrimp Linguini =
    cal 388 / carb 51 / fat 12 / protein 37 (fiber 11g)



    I know, there are things that will remain a mystery and for two users to try to coordinate a, "Do you see what I see," experiment just to satisfy an itch is too over-the-top for even me. I fix the foods I have to and move on.


    ANGTFT
    edited June 7
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,744 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,744 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.

    If it's the first time I'm eating a food, I'll compare it against the label (if it has one) or look up a USDA entry.

    You asked why I'm "blase" about this . . . it's because I use the free app and if I don't like it, then I'm free to just switch to another app. MFP doesn't owe me anything, I can use the service or not.

    It would be nice if they were more clear about the potential for inaccurate entries, but they're not. When I'm using a free app, I'll just quit using it if it's not meeting my expectations.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,303 Member Member Posts: 7,303 Member
    My issue is that MFP has not put in the slightest ATTEMPT to sanity check the user entries using the entered information. Nor to warn us on the food diary end if the calories and macros are too out of whack relative to each other.

    Again, that an entry makes sense with macros to cals doesn't tell you the cals are correct. There are weird entries like "homemade bacon and eggs, 1 serving." People use those and there's no reason to assume the cals make sense even if the person did the macro math correctly.
    If this had all been known to me 10 years ago when I started using it, then I could have been in the same position as others here who do check carefully every new food.

    I think it's really clear from the database, but yes, it would be nice if the issues with the database were explained. There are lots of posts about it, and there used to be a great sticky about how to choose entries (back in the day you could tell which ones MFP actually inputted). I do think comparing with packaging is kind of intuitive, and it's clear that many entries are inconsistent with each other. Anyway, good you know that now!
    AS it is, I feel like I have wasted a lot of time and frustration with data that appears to be sufficiently wrong that it makes my genuine attempts to improve myself something of a joke.

    That's a shame, but one thing is that you should adjust based on results. Even if you think you should lose at 2000 and that you are eating 2000, if you aren't losing you know the cals are too high, whether it is because 2000 is the wrong number or you aren't really eating 2000, but more.

    Also, your macros aren't what matters for weight loss, the calories are, and entries can be wrong even if the macros add up.
  • norman_catesnorman_cates Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member Member, Premium Posts: 95 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    That's a shame, but one thing is that you should adjust based on results. Even if you think you should lose at 2000 and that you are eating 2000, if you aren't losing you know the cals are too high, whether it is because 2000 is the wrong number or you aren't really eating 2000, but more.

    Also, your macros aren't what matters for weight loss, the calories are, and entries can be wrong even if the macros add up.

    And results are exactly what I've been trying to quantify. I have a 2 month graph showing my calorie difference, accounting for calories in and calories out, using MFP data and Fitbit data.

    This was done over 2 months of lock down where I used that "opportunity" to record exactly what I consumed, exactly what calories I burned. I am 100% confident that I did that to the best of the accuracy of the tools I have.

    I put a theoretical weight line on it based on the usual 3500cal per pound.

    And my weight loss and the theoretical weight loss do NOT match. My weight loss is about half of what the theoretical would indicate.

    uwuhxosb0lux.jpg


    So I'm afraid that for me I simply don't believe the holy word of Calories in - calories out. At least, as far as the estimates the tools are making are showing.

    I'm already trying to eat only about 1700-1800 calories a day. Dropping that by another 250 cal a day (which seems to be what would be needed to match the theoretical) gets into dangerous territory.

    I don't know why my body does not respond as it theoretically should. Hormone tests indicate nothing is off.

    I'm trying to run the experiment on myself with some different variables (specifically, changing macro ratios) but to do that I need to be able to analyse the data more extensively. And the current state of MFP and Fitbit data exports makes this almost impossible.

    So far MyNetDiary is streets ahead of MFP in almost every possible way. Most critically, data exports are sensible and usable.

  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 18,880 Member Member Posts: 18,880 Member
    "This was done over 2 months of lock down where I used that "opportunity" to record exactly what I consumed, exactly what calories I burned. I am 100% confident that I did that to the best of the accuracy of the tools I have."

    That is the problem, not with CICO, but believing CICO number can be put down on paper and be 100% correct.

    Food labels are allowed to be 20% off, for even the weighed amount eaten.
    The actual calories in fruit & vegetables with high water content can vary greatly.

    Your Fitbit if it used HR-based calorie burn for all exercise was off.
    Your Fitbit for daily burn if distance of steps walked wasn't correct was off.
    Your BMR as basis for Fitbit daily burn could be 5% off.

    I had a summer prior to triathlon trying to lose last 5 lbs for better race weight - that's hard.
    Pretty simple but bland and likely tad more accurate logged foods eaten.
    All exercise was manually logged from best formula's or power meter.
    Daily burn was based on better BMR calc using decent estimated BF%.
    Start & end weight pretty good for no water weight fluctuations.

    Weight lost was within 3% of paper predicted. So my logging was pretty close.
    That is highly not normal.
    Not unless I was prepping for race would I eat in a manner that allowed that. Exercise I still log that way. Other figures I just don't get anymore to make estimates best.

    More recently over months of time it appears 7% accurate.

    If you've been dieting for awhile, the CI has likely effected the CO and your body has adapted - that amount throws another monkey wrench in the paper figures.
  • JruzerJruzer Member Posts: 3,487 Member Member Posts: 3,487 Member
    As a counterpoint, here is the graph of my initial weight loss vs the predicted rate of loss based on calculated exercise and food. This wasn't done with MFP, but with a similar tool. My rate of loss is significantly higher than predicted.

    qfvy6xmzmq2z.jpg

    So what does this prove? Most likely that I overestimated the food that I ate, underestimated my exercise calories, and that I apparently have a higher NEAT than I anticipated, which has been my observation several times since then.
  • lemurcat2lemurcat2 Member Posts: 7,303 Member Member Posts: 7,303 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    That's a shame, but one thing is that you should adjust based on results. Even if you think you should lose at 2000 and that you are eating 2000, if you aren't losing you know the cals are too high, whether it is because 2000 is the wrong number or you aren't really eating 2000, but more.

    Also, your macros aren't what matters for weight loss, the calories are, and entries can be wrong even if the macros add up.

    And results are exactly what I've been trying to quantify. I have a 2 month graph showing my calorie difference, accounting for calories in and calories out, using MFP data and Fitbit data.

    This was done over 2 months of lock down where I used that "opportunity" to record exactly what I consumed, exactly what calories I burned. I am 100% confident that I did that to the best of the accuracy of the tools I have.

    I put a theoretical weight line on it based on the usual 3500cal per pound.

    And my weight loss and the theoretical weight loss do NOT match. My weight loss is about half of what the theoretical would indicate.

    uwuhxosb0lux.jpg


    So I'm afraid that for me I simply don't believe the holy word of Calories in - calories out. At least, as far as the estimates the tools are making are showing.

    I'm already trying to eat only about 1700-1800 calories a day. Dropping that by another 250 cal a day (which seems to be what would be needed to match the theoretical) gets into dangerous territory.

    I don't know why my body does not respond as it theoretically should. Hormone tests indicate nothing is off.

    I'm trying to run the experiment on myself with some different variables (specifically, changing macro ratios) but to do that I need to be able to analyse the data more extensively. And the current state of MFP and Fitbit data exports makes this almost impossible.

    So far MyNetDiary is streets ahead of MFP in almost every possible way. Most critically, data exports are sensible and usable.

    If you are losing less than expected you lower cals or increase activity if the goal is a reasonable one. You are either eating more than you think, moving less than you think, or have a lower metabolism than average. Given the issue with inaccurate MFP entries, it's likely eating more than you think.
  • DaffersWBDaffersWB Member Posts: 1 Member Member Posts: 1 Member
    Scanning barcodes is also unreliable. Sometimes only the kcals are entered and not other nutrients, e.g. sugar which I am monitoring for diabetes. If the data looks dodgy to me, I check against the nutrition label and enter a new corrected item.
Sign In or Register to comment.