The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) was developed by a team of experts from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences during the early stages of World War II. The purpose was to determine the nutritional values of different foods to ensure both military personnel and civilians were getting sufficient benefit from the foods they were eating. The minimum RDA values that were established in the early 1940s have been periodically revised to incorporate the most up-to-date research.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, publishes RDAs and Adequate Intakes (AI) of eleven minerals, also referred to as elements, that are considered essential to good health, including calcium, phosphorous, iron, iodine magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium and molybdenum. The RDAs presented are expected to meet the minimum nutritional requirements for at least 97 per cent of individuals, based upon their group category. Information is categorised by Life Stage Group, including Infants, Children, Males, Females, Pregnant Females and Lactating Females. These Life Stage Groups are further broken down by age ranges. The minimum RDA for copper as of 2004 was 340 mg for children between the ages of one and three years, while women in their twenties required 900 mg of copper. The RDA for phosphorus was 1,250 mg for 13 year-old-boys, but dropped to 700 mg once a male turned 19 years.
The Food and Nutrition Board also publishes RDAs and Adequate Intakes (AI) of fourteen vitamins that are considered essential to good health, including vitamins A, C, D, E, K, B-6 and B-12, in addition to thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid and choline. The minimum RDA may vary based on the life stage of the individual. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, a 30-year-old woman requires 900mcg of vitamin A, while a 30-year-old lactating woman requires 1300mcg of vitamin A. A nine-year-old male needs 45 mg of vitamin C each day, while a 50 year old male requires 90 mg of vitamin C.
The Food and Nutrition Board publishes RDAs and Adequate Intakes (AI) of seven macronutrients: water, carbohydrates, fibre, fat, linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid and protein. Values are based upon Life Stage Group. The RDA for certain macronutrients has not been determined for certain groups, including total fibre for infants, and fat for individuals one year of age and older. The Food and Nutrition Board also recommends individuals of all Life Stage Groups keep their intake of dietary cholesterol, trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acids to a minimum and limit added sugar to a maximum of 25 per cent of their total energy consumption.
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- Council for Responsible Nutrition: Vitamin and Mineral Recommendations
- Council for Responsible Nutrition:Vitamins: Historical Comparison of RDIs, RDAs and DRIs, 1968 to Present
- Food and Drug Administration: How to Understand and Use the Nutrition Facts Label
- National Academy of Sciences: Recommended Intakes for Individuals