Here are some of the most common questions regarding the COVIDiet study and the use of the Keenoa application for tracking your food intake.

Why should I participate?

The COVID-19 pandemic and self-isolation measures have potentially affected usual eating habits of people living in Canada. Your participation in this study will help identify these changes and their possible causes. The data we gather will be used to inform Canadian public health organizations on how to ensure all people living in Canada continue to have access to healthy foods in future crises.

What are the benefits in participating?

There may or may not be direct benefit(s) to you in participating in the COVIDiet study. If you so choose, registered dietitians can provide you with an analysis of your dietary intake once you complete the 4-day food diary components of the study. The greatest benefits however, are on a public health level; the information you provide will contribute to our understanding of how eating habits have changed in Canada during COVID-19.

What are the risks in participating?

The questionnaire will include questions about your demographics, feelings, and eating activities. There is no right or wrong way to answer the questions. Some questions may be personal and cause discomfort. You can refuse to answer any questions you don’t want to answer.

How do I participate?

Participation is simple. Simply click “Join the study now!”. You will fill the questionnaire about your eligibility to participate. If you are eligible, there is a brief consent form for you to choose whether you agree to participate in the study. If you agree to participate, you will be redirected to a brief questionnaire and information on how to track your daily food intake. You will then be prompted to download Keenoa, an intelligent food diary app, on your mobile device. You will track your food/drinks for 4 days using Keenoa.

I am living in Canada but am not a Canadian citizen, can I participate?

Yes! You do not need to be Canadian. However, you must be residing in Canada for the duration of your participation (12 months).

What is the time commitment?

You will start by completing a short 15-20 minute questionnaire and then track your food intake for 4 consecutive days. Food tracking usually takes around 2 minutes of your time per meal. After this, every 3 months you will be asked to track your intake for another 4 days. There will be 4 total follow-ups over 12 months.

Is my information kept confidential?

All of your personal information including your name and email address will be stored separately in password protected files on computers. You will be given a unique code to represent your data. Only the Principal Investigator and Study Coordinator will have access to the email address linked to your identity code. When you use the Keenoa application, you will enter your research ID so your dietary data will be anonymous as well.

Will other people be able to see what I’m eating?

Only select members from the COVIDiet team will be able to see the food pictures. However, all your information is still kept anonymous, so we will not know the pictures are from you.

Can I track my food on another app (ie: MyFitnessPal, etc)?

For this study we are using an app called Keenoa which uses artificial intelligence to help you track your intake. No other applications will be used.

How do I use Keenoa?

Keenoa is simple to use. We’ve created a short video to show you how to use the app https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5nkBfm8jrA&feature=youtu.be. Please scroll down to see the FAQ’s we have answered regarding Keenoa.

Can I participate if I eat out or don’t cook my own food? 


Will I find out the results of the study?

Yes, we will share our findings through a peer-reviewed publication and on professional media outlets. We will also summarize our findings on our website and on our Facebook page.

Keenoa-specific FAQ

Do I need to track everything I eat?

Yes. All meals, snacks and beverages for 4 consecutive days (3 week days and 1 weekend day). 

Do I need to enter my beverages?

Yes, it is essential that you enter everything you eat and drink while using Keenoa. This includes juices, pop, coffee, alcoholic drinks, smoothies, etc. Entering water is optional.

What tool do I need to use Keenoa?

A smartphone or a tablet.

Do I need wifi to use Keenoa?

No. You can use Keenoa offline (without internet connection). 

What if I forget to take a picture? 

If you completely forget to take a picture, click the “+” button to add a forgotten meal. You still need to enter the appropriate items and portion sizes.

What if Keenoa can’t detect every item in my meal?

Click the “search” button to add any food item that Keenoa can’t see. Try to find the items that most accurately represent what you are eating or drinking.

What if I have started to eat but forgotten to take a picture?

Take a picture of what remains on your plate. You will need to adjust the amounts of each item to match what you ate in total. You may also specify that you have already started your meal in the “Other details” section.

What if I take a picture of my plate, but don’t finish my meal? 

Go back and edit your entry to reflect the real amount you ate. You may also specify that you haven’t finished your meal in the “Other details” section.

Do my meals have to look nice?

No! Your meals do not have to be beautiful. Eat the way that you normally would – do not change your entries because you are taking photos. 

Do I still take photos when I eat at a restaurant? What if I have no idea what’s on my plate?

Yes. Provide your best guesses based on the menu and the portion sizes. 

How long does it take to use Keenoa? What if I’m super hungry?!

It can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes to enter your food into Keenoa. As you become used to the app, it will take you less time. Another option is to take a picture before eating, and enter the individual food items after you are finished.

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