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SP_COACH_DENISE Posts: 30,843
6/5/12 9:31 A

A lot of the items in the database do come from the USDA database, but thank you for the feedback, I'll pass it along!

Coach Denise

PT.JEFFGIRL SparkPoints: (120,043)
Fitness Minutes: (118,127)
Posts: 4,918
6/5/12 5:14 A

Linking to the USDA database seems a good idea if not already done. I myself have had some trouble getting calorie counts.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
6/5/12 12:48 A

GIGO is a problem when you have millions of global users all entering their own data and sharing it!

It has been suggested before that a team of volunteer user moderators could at least moderate all newly shared foods for ensuring that it contains all the required info and is named appropriately, even if not the accuracy of the data given, and that this could help reduce the problem with user-entered entries somewhat.

I'm a DBA myself ... I empathise.

MAGGIEMURPHY4 SparkPoints: (13,865)
Fitness Minutes: (10,813)
Posts: 936
6/4/12 6:43 P

Deb...part of the confusion was mine...The search feature on sparks data base is not very good. Unless you know exactly how it is worded on spark it automatically coverts to the members data base if it can't find what you are typing in...like strip steak. I did not know this either so when I typed entries in that weren't exact I would get everything including members entries and have to sift through it. I didn't know I could choose the none field and try a new search. But even doing that I have to limit my search to beef and then I have to sift through Sparks data base of everything that has beef in it ...like beef ravioli or beef broth, beef, top round, beef, bottom round and so on.

Maybe the correct suggestion is to improve the search feature on the food tracker. So that you are able to filter out information better with out having to go through extensive list and update the spark data base so that cuts of meat as well as fat percentages are more in line with the USDA's site. I don't know I just have NOT found the food tracker very user friendly or accurate (in terms of members entries).

I come from a database background and know that these things are very possible...Plus I have been a data base manager for years I hate errors in the information....the old saying applies "garbage in is garbage out." Perhaps the answer is that I will just have to invest the time in creating my own food tracker under my favorites.

But to the Spark Team Leader, I still like suggest that the food tracker be a topic for future releases in terms of accuracy, updates and filtering searches. I have to wonder how many members are blindly entering what they think is correct information.

UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
6/4/12 3:11 P

Spark's data in their nutrition tracker is from the USDA database. But perhaps it is getting older now and requires an update? I'm not sure how often they update it.

I think that's where the confusion in some of the responses was coming from - spark already DOES use the USDA database so we were confused about your comments - but you probably didn't know that.

MAGGIEMURPHY4 SparkPoints: (13,865)
Fitness Minutes: (10,813)
Posts: 936
6/4/12 1:32 P

Dear Spark Team Leader,

The reason I made this suggestion was because I was looking for the calorie information on a Strip steak. When I typed strip steak in the search field it came up with the member's data base...As Spark's directory doesn't have strip steak. Spark's directory is not as detailed as the USDA's directory especially when it comes to types and cuts of meat. USDA directory also shows nutritional values based on how a meat item is cooked and the percentage of fat i.e ground beef 70%, 80% etc cooked, grilled, fried or baked. It would be nice to be able to import that information from there site without having to manually type it in. The other benefit to linking the site is that I am sure it is updated on a regular basis. It will also reduce the errors from manual entry. This was just a suggestion, with the hope that when planningfuture releases it might be discussed by members of your IT team.

LUANN_IN_PA Posts: 16,123
6/4/12 9:21 A

Spark DOES use the USDA database.

So you DO have the choice of using it, using member-entered info, or entering the info yourself.

I myself NEVER use data entered by others.

MAGGIEMURPHY4 SparkPoints: (13,865)
Fitness Minutes: (10,813)
Posts: 936
6/4/12 6:41 A

Are you the tech person on this site? I thought this message board was to give feedback or make suggestion improve the site. The question I am asking or suggesting is that we are able to use other food data bases that will automatically fill in the calorie and nutrition info from that site without manually entering them. Which if very possible and not a full time job...all it is linking data bases to the spark data base using SQL other databases link and fixing the drop menu so you can choose it. It would be in my opinion a great improvement. The spark data base does not have all the foods listed and that is why there are so many member entries.

I realize no web site can be all inclusive but the USDA data base will be the closest for US residents as it is our regulating agency for all foods in the US.

Edited by: MAGGIEMURPHY4 at: 6/4/2012 (06:49)
UNIDENT Posts: 33,498
6/4/12 1:44 A

You do have an option ... you can use Spark's entries or member entries. Member entries are always marked with an asterisk, so you will know when it's a 'real' entry or a user-entered one.

No, sorry, it's not feasible for a site like this to put restrictions on how you can enter foods before sharing them. The moderating of that would be a four person full time job! :) They just don't have the resources.

I prefer to manually enter my own most of the time, if it's not in the USDA spark database, and just ignore other members' entries for exactly that reason.

MAGGIEMURPHY4 SparkPoints: (13,865)
Fitness Minutes: (10,813)
Posts: 936
6/3/12 5:48 P

Is there any way to clean up the calorie counter on spark? I have noticed a lot of issues with incorrect calorie counts entered by members. And the crazy thing is there might be 4 entries for the same item all having a different calorie count. It is frustrating to go through the multiple entries and then have to google the item to find out which one is correct. Can't you just link to the USDA data base for calorie and nutrition info and members be only allowed to enter foods manually in there favorites. Seems to me the USDA has already done all the work and categorized by groups and everything. Or at least give us the option of which database we would like to use for our food logs without having to manually enter them.

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