Be Careful When Using The Database

vingogly
vingogly Posts: 1,784 Member
edited July 2016 in Health and Weight Loss
Quest Protein Bar, Cookies & Cream: from the product label, 190 calories.

There are a lot of user contributed entries in the database for this item; they range from 180 calories to 210. That's a 30 calorie range for a single food item. Multiply discrepancies like this for 10-15 food items in a day's menu, and you have potentially hundreds of calories in error. Whether this is due to ignorance, laziness, or malice on the part of those loading up the database with junk entries, who knows.

The lesson learned is that you *can't* look something up and just take the first entry that pops up. What I've found is I need to read (or scan) product labels, and sometimes refer to other calorie count sources if I'm in doubt. The other problem with entries is the amount: what's a "small banana" or a "medium apple"? The only sure measure is weight.

If you're logging everything and not losing weight the way you should, looking at these issues is one thing you can do to figure out why.
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Replies

  • debtay123
    debtay123 Posts: 1,325 Member
    thanks
  • spookyface
    spookyface Posts: 421 Member
    So true. They should let us put the green checkmark on there when we know that entry is accurate.
  • SCoil123
    SCoil123 Posts: 2,108 Member
    Don't trust labels 100% either. Legally they can be up to 15% off on total calories per serving. A nutritionist warned me of this when helping me find a good protein shake and I believe it to be true.
  • RainaProske
    RainaProske Posts: 636 Member
    I thought, at first, that some of these entries were hilarious, then I realized that they cause problems.
  • wolfgirl78
    wolfgirl78 Posts: 57 Member
    With the quest bars I would assume, its because people weighed them for accuracy. Lots of times those bars weigh more the serving listed. Or perhaps someone didn't eat their whole bar.
  • SCoil123
    SCoil123 Posts: 2,108 Member
    I always assume the worst ;) and take the one with the highest calories.

    Me too now
  • CharlieBeansmomTracey
    CharlieBeansmomTracey Posts: 7,682 Member
    also a lot of the green checked entries are off too. I have seen where the calories/fat/carbs,etc were off. and you cant edit those either.I have seen entries for things were there were no carb counts as well. I wish bread had no carbs lol. if you weigh your food and compare it to the label you have to recalculate and put in the proper amount into the database. so say 100g of something is a serving and its 100 calories, you weigh the item and its 110g you would put 1.1 servings.the calories will of course be 110 calories. its easy to do that.the thing is if you cant find the proper entry you can always create one that is accurate.while labels can be off if you weigh food and put in the proper info then your diary will be more accurate as well.you can either try to get an exact serving listed on the package or you can do the math and get as close as you can.
  • hollygirl101
    hollygirl101 Posts: 93 Member
    I always just enter my own, then they're saved in the portion sizes I actually use and I know they're accurate. Takes more time on the front end but it's worth it.
  • Psychgrrl
    Psychgrrl Posts: 3,176 Member
    spookyface wrote: »
    So true. They should let us put the green checkmark on there when we know that entry is accurate.

    I've found green checked entries that were incorrect when compared to current product labeling.
  • fr33sia12
    fr33sia12 Posts: 1,258 Member
    I never use the database, all my foods are added manually myself and not shared.
  • treegirl97
    treegirl97 Posts: 70 Member
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    I never use the database, all my foods are added manually myself and not shared.

    Same with me.
  • nutmegoreo
    nutmegoreo Posts: 15,532 Member
    Psychgrrl wrote: »
    spookyface wrote: »
    So true. They should let us put the green checkmark on there when we know that entry is accurate.

    I've found green checked entries that were incorrect when compared to current product labeling.

    There's also regional differences. My Oreos have fewer calories than yours type of thing.
  • Maxematics
    Maxematics Posts: 2,287 Member
    Well, regarding the Quest bar, it's been through two formula changes since its launch. Each time the caloric value has changed. This is most likely why there are discrepancies in the database and some of the entries are no longer useful. Also, even though your label says your bar is 190 calories, due to rounding it could be higher or lower. Furthermore, by gram weight it's most likely 200 calories easily. Whenever I weighed Quest bars they were never 60 grams, they were 63 to 67 grams on average.

    Anyway, yes, some of the database entries are ridiculous. This is why I always check several entries for accuracy; that's the way the database should be used. I usually put in the food myself complete with gram weight so I know I can depend on it, but most of the time with a little effort the correct nutritional facts of any food can easily be found.
  • JeromeBarry1
    JeromeBarry1 Posts: 10,182 Member
    I do use the database and always check against https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3030?manu=&fgcd=
    for basic ingredients such as vegetables and meats. I have a simple spreadsheet set up to calculate percentages for A in RAE, C, Calcium, using the recommendation for a mature man, and Iron, using the Iron recommendation for a fertile woman. I find in almost every case that the food database has the values of A, C, Calcium, and Iron directly from the government database as presented in RAE, mg, or mcg. Before I add it to my food diary, I correct it. Nor do I trust that just because I corrected it before that it is still correct. I check every time I add it. It takes a lot of my time.
  • PaulaWallaDingDong
    PaulaWallaDingDong Posts: 4,640 Member
    wolfgirl78 wrote: »
    With the quest bars I would assume, its because people weighed them for accuracy. Lots of times those bars weigh more the serving listed. Or perhaps someone didn't eat their whole bar.

    If that's the case, then they should be making the adjustment in their own diary, not in the database entry, unless they're making a new entry for each individual bar, since they're all different, which would be incredibly stupid and annoying.
  • MakePeasNotWar
    MakePeasNotWar Posts: 1,336 Member
    Psychgrrl wrote: »
    spookyface wrote: »
    So true. They should let us put the green checkmark on there when we know that entry is accurate.

    I've found green checked entries that were incorrect when compared to current product labeling.

    AFAIK, the only thing needed to get the green check is for several members to "verify" an entry, so as long as the stats are accurate in one region, or were accurate at some point, they can be verified.

    I find the verified foods much more reliable than others, but they aren't perfect.

    At least it weeds out the really bizarre entries like apples with 50g of saturated fat, or 20 calorie doughnuts (if only!!!)
  • JeromeBarry1
    JeromeBarry1 Posts: 10,182 Member
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    I never use the database, all my foods are added manually myself and not shared.

    I even double-check my recipes to see if recent recipe tool screwups have messed up the ingredients and nutrition values in my recipes. I aver that I am not OCD.
  • Annahbananas
    Annahbananas Posts: 284 Member
    If you use the scanner icon in the food lists, this will activate your camera. This will grab the UPC code of the food in your hand and will give you the exact food nutritional content.

    I always use this. Just take your phone or tablet to the grocery score and scan the foods u want.

    This is how I do it. This way you don't grab a user inputed information. I've been doing this every time since I started and always got accurate readings
  • MakePeasNotWar
    MakePeasNotWar Posts: 1,336 Member
    If you use the scanner icon in the food lists, this will activate your camera. This will grab the UPC code of the food in your hand and will give you the exact food nutritional content.

    I always use this. Just take your phone or tablet to the grocery score and scan the foods u want.

    This is how I do it. This way you don't grab a user inputed information. I've been doing this every time since I started and always got accurate readings

    It can still be user inputted, though. If you scan something MFP doesn't recognize, it gives you the option to add it to the database manually, and then links your entry with the UPC code. I've done it several times.