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Barcode Scanning and Food Database in the KetoDiet App

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Hi Friends, I have great news for you!

After over three months in development and over two months in beta testing, an update of KetoDiet for iOS and Android has been released. You can now scan products, and search though hundreds of thousands of branded products!

Apart from barcode scanning, we improved the Planner and introduced a simplified way to display your days, macros and targets.

Barcode Scanning and Expanded Food Database

Barcode scanning for branded products is now supported. Products can be scanned directly in the Planner and can also be scanned & added to Custom meals. Searching for ingredients also lists branded products. Internet connectivity is required for these features and are available on both Android and iOS devices as shown below.

Barcode Scanning and Food Database in the KetoDiet App Pin itFollow us 148.4k

Barcode Scanning and Food Database in the KetoDiet App Pin itFollow us 148.4k

You can now scan products from:

  • the Planner when adding meals,
  • and the Custom Meals tab when creating a custom meal.
  • Coming soon: Barcode scanning in the Ingredients tab will be added in an upcoming update.

How Does Barcode Scanning Work?

A barcode is simply a product identifier - it does not include nutrition facts or any other product details. When a product is scanned, the barcode is matched against hundreds of thousands of known products in a food database. For barcode scanning to work well, the most crucial element is the food database. In our case we have created a database composed of several data sources:

  • USDA Branded Products
  • Nutritionix Food Database
  • Tesco Labs Database
  • Open Food Facts Database

We have designed our database so that it's easy to add more sources in the future.

How Reliable is Barcode Scanning?

The inherent problem with any food database, especially crowd sourced ones, is that they contain inaccurate or incomplete data. Broadly speaking, food databases are either crowd-sourced or verified.

Originally, we planned to only include verified sources, avoiding all crowd sourced data. However, verified sources are limited and do not include some commonly used branded products. Although we knew we have to include some crowd-sourced data, we didn't want to sacrifice the accuracy of the app, so we took steps to eliminate errors.

How Are We Different?

Instead of just using the available food databases, we developed a system to rank product data (we call it "trust level") so we can always offer users the most reliable results from all the data sources we are using. We also use this approach to eliminate products for which the nutritional data are clearly incorrect.

Although this doesn't mean the data you find will always be 100% accurate, we eliminate most errors, allowing our users to reliably track their diet.

What Causes Inaccurate Data?

Errors caused in databases can be down to:

  • Incorrectly entered data in food databases. Since there are hundreds of thousands of products (and growing daily), it is not an option to manually fix errors. To eliminate most errors we validate the data as explained above.
  • Products may be labeled incorrectly, or do not include sufficient information. Nutrition facts can be rounded up or down, which may be significant for some of them. Some products, such as sweeteners, may list nutrition facts for small amounts, such as "per teaspoon", in which case macronutrients are often rounded down to "zero". It therefore impossible to calculate values for larger quantities, such as 1 cup.
  • As I mentioned in this post, "net" carbs do not always reflect reality. Apart from fibre that can be fully deducted from total carbs, there are other types of carbohydrates that are deducted leading to seemingly low net carbs. Since there are no strict rules for labelling "net" carbs, some types of carbs such as sugar alcohols, fructooligosaccharides or isomaltosaccharides are often completely deducted, even though they partially - and sometimes significantly - affect blood sugar.

Improved Planner (iOS Only, Android Soon)

We enhanced the Planner and day stats so you can quickly see if you're meeting your daily macros. This update includes:

  • Improved Planner daily nutritional info with easier to understand targets and navigation
  • Simplified Planner day view
  • Improved Macros chart under Progress

Barcode Scanning and Food Database in the KetoDiet App Pin itFollow us 148.4k

Several Fixes and More

  • Fixed an issue affecting copying Quick meals
  • Fixed an issue that caused custom meal ingredient quantities to be re-calculated
  • Eliminated some rounding errors when rendering data
  • Fixed dragging a day meal passed the last item
  • Fixed iOS 11 layout issues
  • Added support for iPhone X

What's Next?

Data Sync for Android

You will soon be able to sync data across multiple devices and platforms. What this means is that if you, for example, have an Android phone and an iPad, you will be able to sync data between them.

Planner & Progress Enhancements

  • Barcode scanning in the Ingredients tab
  • Enhanced the Planner and day stats (Android)
  • Copy & paste planner meals for quick planning (Android)
  • Adding "favorites" to the Planner so you can quickly add frequently used meals
  • Universal search across all recipes when adding them to the Planner (blog meals, KetoDiet meals, custom meals, etc)
  • Data export, especially progress stats
  • Activity tracking & Health App integration
  • Ketone tracking, glucose tracking, and more tracking options

More Recipes, Restaurants & Foods

  • We will keep adding even more free recipes and articles more frequently via our fully integrated blog. Right now we keep sharing a recipe or article every day!
  • Adding new restaurant chains to our database to quickly find keto-friendly options when eating out
  • Adding new meals into the Starter pack and existing optional recipe packages (once you get any package, any recipes added in the future are always free!)

Other Features

  • Add recipe user notes in custom meals so that you have all you need to make your favourite recipe
  • Integration with KetoDiet meal plans (free and premium 7-day, 14-day and 28-day diet plans directly in the Planner with just one click)
  • KetoDiet Challenges & community integration
  • Apple Watch support
  • Add nutrition facts to hundreds of recipes included in my cookbooks so you can quickly add them to the Planner
  • Multi-user account support with data sync and fast user switching. This feature will be free for the first account. Any additional accounts will be available to buy for 0.99 USD per month to cover the cost of processing and storing the additional data on our servers.

The features are driven by your feedback! Feel free to leave a comment if you have anything else you would like us to add and if it's something we can do, we'll do our best to implement it in future updates.

Want to help us take KetoDiet to the next level?
If you find our Apps useful, please, leave a review on the AppStore/ Google Play. It's the best thing you can do to support us. Thank you!

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Martina Slajerova
Creator of

Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

Let us know what you think, rate this post!

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Comments (48)

Hi I was scanning a salad dressing and it used to shows 2 tbsp as the common server unit but now it’s only shows me grams as an option. It’s the same exact barcode and bottle of salad dressing so I’m confused as to how I change it back to tbps as that is a much easier unit of measurement to use for dressings

Hi Nicolle, I'm sorry for the delayed response - posts on the blog do not get checked as often as support emails. If the scanner shows something else it means it has been updated. Unfortunately we don't have control over all of the aspects of barcode scanning as we are (just like everyone else) using third party databases.

I need help with recognising hidden starch/carbs etc in food

Hi Sinead, our app does a good job at that! I would suggest using only verified sources (as mentioned in the post) as these are 100% reliable, unlike all the branded data that can be manipulated.

I would love it if you partnered with one of the smart food scales on amazon that would work with your ipad/iphone app.

Thank you Lisa, we will definitely look into this!

Bar scanner not working at all on my iPhone 12. Cones up with blank data each time the camera clicks on a bar code.

Hi Ian, I'm sorry you're experiencing these issues. This could be down to the third party service being temporarily down. If you are still experiencing any issues, please send us a support e-mail via the app. Comments on blog posts don't always get answered in time. Thank you!

Is there a way to print out you previous diary data? I would like to show my doctor how I am eating.   Is there a instruction guide for using the android app?  I have figured out how to copy a recipe but I want to modify it and it recalculate. I cannot figure the steps out. It also converts the measurements to oz wheras it was in cups. Need some type of instructions to figure out how to use.

Hi Sher, I would kindly ask you to please use the support email option that is provided in the app as comments on blog don't provide the essential information we need to help.
Here's the guide to the app (it is also accessible via the app):
We also recommend that you join our Facebook group (again access via the app) and ask questions in the group.
Measurement systems can be changed in Settings. Some ingredients may not contain "cup" information so the will be listed in grams or ounces (depending on what you selected).
To modify a recipe, you can use the clone option (described in the guide linked above).
We have recently added a print/export data option to the Planner on iOS and will be adding the same features to Android.

why do I always get "waiting for permissions" when I select the barcode scanner? What am I doing wrong?

I believe that is because you may not have given permissions to use the camera to scan barcodes. You need to do that when the app asks you or later do this in the settings on your phone. I'm afraid this isn't something we can change in our app, it's in the phone settings and permissions.

Are there plans to expand EU food database? I’ve installed the app and had zero success scanning the products.
Or there (here) are just not enough customers to cover the cost of it?

Hi Alex, we actually do use European sources too but I believe most are UK based though so other countries may not be covered. We will check if there are better options we can license but our experience so far hasn't been good. All these database providers are offering data that is incomplete and/or inaccurate, and it can get costly if we sublicense more food databases so we have to be absolutely sure before we do.
Here's something I discussed in our FB group recently and it is relevant to product data in general:
While most items can be found in the database, it is entirely possible that when you scan a barcode, you may get inaccurate results, or you may not find it at all. Why is that? All product data is crowd sourced and licensed to people like us. In other words there is nothing like a "verified" branded products (barcode) database. In fact, we have additionally added several checks and calculations to make sure we can get the most accurate results (meaning we are trying to fix the database we did not build to start with, and still have to pay monthly to license them). We can't however change the fact that some of these entries may be entered for the wrong serving size (e.g. 100 g instead of 30 g) or other issues we can’t check by automated calculations. There is simply no way to verify hundreds of thousands of foods automatically or manually.
I understand how convenient barcode scanning may be but I personally strongly advice against using barcode scanning unless absolutely necessary. There are hundreds of thousands of generic/common foods (those that do not have barcode icons) that are verified (by that I mean in a lab) so the macros on those are very accurate. We have added trust level badges to all entries to mark those that can be trusted and those that can be incorrect. As an example, if I want to add avocado, eggs, ground pork, etc., it's better to use generic foods rather than branded foods. I only use branded food data in rare cases - for example when I use a certain spice mix which has more ingredients.
If you only use barcode scanning to track your diet (no matter what app you use as all apps use third party databases), you run the risk of eating hidden carbs or generally getting the wrong macros.
Finally, you can correct any inaccuracies that you discover so next time you scan the product it will be correct, and it will also send us a report so we can fix those entries.

I think the barcode feature is great but I struggle with it finding many Australian products.  I don’t feel there has been any improvement in the past year in relation to finding Australian products in the used database systems.  There are even some European products that don’t scan.
I have another diet diary type app on my iPhone which finds most items that I scan.  
Will improvement be made here?

Hi Dianne, we will definitely look into this to see if we can improve the database specifically for Australia! This could be the case of the other app using another data source. From what we've seen other data sources may include Australian products but they have fewer options from the US/Europe. It's about finding a balance without us having to use multiple data sources as these databases are very pricey (we are paying monthly to have the database) so we can't use too many different sources at the same time, plus there's the risk of even more duplicates.

Would love to see the ability to use the bar code feature to see tips and warnings about specific ingredients in a packaged food.
For instance: If xylitol is listed as an ingredient that is scanned, the app could tell the user its glycemic index number and that it has been known to spike blood sugars for certain people AND...the big one...that that specific ingredient is toxic for animals.

Thank you for your feedback Diana, I'd love that! I will double check but I don't think this piece of information is included in the barcode. I think it's only the product name and nutrition facts. If it's possible we will add it but I have to warn you, it my be out of our control. Thanks again!

Hi, I am having trouble with entering the custom meals. Ex. Keto pizza I input the net carbs, fats, proteins, picture and title in window that says ingredients. When it is ready to save, the save button remain dark and unclikable.
I mostly cook my own recipes, how can I enter a whole recipe to use later. I don’t understand and I need an explanation. Do you have a page that explains this and other features. Tracking a whole recipe ingredients by ingredients would take forever and it won’t save anyways.
My husband will need his own app I assume it would be cheaper to pay another 12$ ( Canadian) than 1$+ a month. But before I fix him with an app of his own I need to understand how to customize my meals so that I can put them in the planner, in the custom meals, so that it reflects on my day. Like I said entering each ingredients for each recipes of the day would be a full time job! There has to be a way. Please give me a URL to read on how to customize my app. Thank you. I love the concept, I just have a hard time figuring it out.

Hi Nicole, apologies for the delayed response. Due to the high volume of comments, we are not always able to reply in time. If you have any feedback/questions about our app, do not hesitate to contact us directly via the app under Help. Also, under the same section you can find our guide (under Help > How to Use  KetoDiet).
To answer your questions, if the button is grey (not active), it means that there is a field you have not completed yet and you will need to do that before saving the meal. Without knowing more or seeing a screenshot I can't tell which field it might be.
Please, keep in mind it is a complex app with many features and there is a fine balance between adding more features (driven by feedback from our users) and keeping it as simple as we can. We have been working on a new update that should further simplify this feature so you will need fewer steps to create a custom meal.
I hope this helps - keto on!

I'm considering buying this app. Is it possible to import a recipe from a different blog site, short of having to type it in manually?

Hi Rob, thank you for considering buying our app! We do not have this feature because there is no way to check/rely on data provided by all blogs. There simply isn't a way to automatically recognise the ingredients listed because every blog is using different ways to calculate nutrition facts. A quick way to add them would be to specify the nutrition facts per serving rather than adding every ingredient separately.

Thanks for the reply. I’ve become vey accustomed to being able to import recipes (by copying and pasting the URL) using CarbManager. So I’ll have to decide whether that is a feature I can live without. It is a very handy feature. I Woukd not want to just enter the blogger’s nutritional info because it could be inaccurate. Are there any recipes that can be logged easily from within the app?

Just to clarify, if what you provide is just the URL, it means they are using fuzzy matching to get the nutrition facts, and that is actually way more inaccurate than entering the nutrition facts listed. Bloggers use food databases which have different levels of accuracy that is acceptable but by fuzzy matching, they are trying to read and understand the list of ingredients. If grams/oz are not listed then it's impossible to get the right nutrition info. If an app that uses fuzzy matching reads different nutritional facts, it is more likely that the app got it wrong - not the blogger.

I love the app - fabulous tool and the. Eat among others I’ve tried. The barcode scanner is brilliant. If I notice an error should I report it and if so how?
I ask as Tesco red cabbage showed as 0 net carbs. I was a bit excited but when I thought about it decided it must be and error.
Thanks in advance and thanks for a great bit of software.

Thank you for your kind words and support Marina! We are planning to implement a tool that will help us find those errors so we can eliminate even the "non-obvious" ones. The cabbage entry looks like an error but we currently don't have a "reporting" system to eliminate them manually.

The functionality of this does not work for me in the app so far compared to my fitness pal where everything you scan comes up. I've also tried to input the barcode number into the from the blog photo above under the title "Barcode Scanning and Expanded Food Database" and it could not find anything.

Hi Jordan, as mentioned above many other apps show all the results including the completely incorrect entries - we filter through them and present only those options that include all macros/ fairly accurate macros. Other apps may use crowd-sourced data without doing any "cleanup" and often include incomplete/inaccurate data (quantity over quality). Putting the number in the search bar won't make a difference and if you can't find it, it means the ingredient is not in the database. I hope this helps!

The Google Play Store is full of keto apps.  I entered KetoDiet and tons of apps showed up.  Which one is yours?  Thanks

Hi Jamie, the best way to make sure it's our app is to look at the icon: I hope this helps!

Hi Martina,
Thank you to you and your team for all of the great features you continue to add to the app. I find the app to be an invaluable tool for staying on top of my health and enjoying delicious, healthy meals.  
Do you have an estimated date for when we can expect to have data export capabilities? I perform a lot of analysis on my health data, trying to statistically determine important factors.  Right now, nutrition is the biggest missing piece.  I manually enter some, but it would be fabulous if the app were integrated into Apple HealthKit from which I can make full exports.  
Also, will more micro nutrients be available soon?
Many thanks again for all of the outstanding work!

Thank you for your kind words, Aimee!
We have just submitted another iOS update so it will be out in a few days. We added some great new features although the data export is not amongst them. We added new tracking options such as ketone, blood glucose and lipids and also improved the Progress view.
The next step is to add all the new features to Android and at the same time work on the next iOS update in which we would like to add Apple iWatch and HealthKit (so this will be done soon!).
When it comes to micronutrients, I would love to say yes but this is where we are not sure if it would make sense to add this feature. Although some apps have this feature, from what we have seen, it is highly inaccurate. What I mean is that micronutrients are more prone to errors than macronutrients and they cannot be verified. We are using several types of databases and in many of them micronutrients are missing or are inaccurate. Thanks again for your feedback!

Hi i bought the Ketodiet  app for iPhone and was wondering if you could point out where the barcode scanner part of the app would come up as can not find it and its the main reason for getting it
Many thanks

Hi Steve, it can be found in the Planner (Add > Branded products). This way you can add meals or ingredients directly to the Planner.
Another way to use the barcode scanner is when creating a Custom Meal. When you add ingredients to create your custom meal, tap on the barcode icon in the search bar to scan any product.
The third option does not require scanning, as you can simply search for the product in the Ingredients tab.

Good improvements
Suggestion,  One time nutritional entries for when you want or make a guess or a reference you will likely not use again. E.G. you are not sure of your  ingredient qualities and/or portion consumed  and you take a swing at an estimate.

Thank you for your suggestion!

I'm currently using the keto diet basic app on iPhone. How do I upgrade it to get the barcode scanner and the daily calorie and macros tracker?

Hi Nini, you can upgrade from the main menu in KetoDiet Basic - check out this post for more details: New Upgrade Path for KetoDiet Basic (iOS)

Nice updates, well done. Really looking forward to when you bring in the facility to add notes to custom meals. I have so many and it'd be great to be able to put recipe instructions down, not just the ingredients. At present I have to either remember what to do or write the instructions down elsewhere to refer to each time I cook it - which is a pain  when I am away and forget to take me notebook!

Thank you Vicky! The truth is that there is a massive amount of work in the app functionality that is not visible to users but they are absolutely crucial for everything to work reliably. We will do our best to add features fast! 😊

I've just updated your app on my iPad but I am not able to find the line that shows
what macros you have left of have gone over.
This feature is shown very clearly in your picture.
Please advise.

Hi Leslie, it is in the Planner > tap on any day view and then for details tap on the arrow pointing right (on the image it is next to "calories"). Just to make sure, can you see the barcode scanning? To see if you updated to the latest version, go to the AppStore app and check to "updates". They should in most cases be automatic. I hope this helps!

I was wondering if this is set up for Canada?

Hi Nancy,  It's hard to know the exact product coverage for each country. We have details on data sources we use in the announcement post and we'll keep adding data sources as they become available.

I've been beta-testing the app for the last month or so from Winnipeg. Most of the products I've scanned were in the database or the barcode scanner worked almost every time.  If the barcode wasn't recognized the program gives you the option to add the item manually.

Sid, thank you very much for your feedback!

Awesome news. That's going to make the app much more practical.
I love what you're saying about using a trust level system. I hadn't thought about the data before but you're right - crowdsourced data will always have some risk of errors.

Thank you!