Nutritional Information on the RDA Chart

Fruits

The RDA chart, or Recommended Dietary Allowances chart, has been in a state of constant evolution since it was first introduced during World War II. Here is a quick rundown of what the official dietary guidelines of the United States are today.

Understanding RDA, RDI and DRI

RDA is a norm for how much of various nutrients people should take in everyday to stay healthy. There is a specific RDA value established for every vitamin and mineral, which is a great aid when planning your diet strategy. Most American foods are by law required to clearly display its nutritional contents, and having this information makes for a simple yardstick against which you can quickly see whether a food product will provide sufficient nutrition.

In addition to RDA, there's RDI, the Reference Daily Intake. This is the practical implementation of RDA, tapping the values established above for a reality application. So when you view the nutritional information box, you can immediately determine that while the product provides X amount of for example zinc, that's to be compared against the RDI of Y for zinc.

Finally, there's DRI, the next evolutionary step of RDI. Introduced in 1997, this new system attempts to be more multi-faceted with estimated averages, probable adequate intake levels and upper limits. The latter in particular is of interest when you read about specific vitamin megadose therapies like those of Noble prize winner Linus Pauling and his theories about fighting cancer with enormous amounts of vitamin C.

In other words, RDA is still alive and well, but instead of being the end-all, be-all one stop shop for nutritional guidance it used to be, it is but one of four legs the new DRI system stands on. RDI is based on this data, but makes it easier to do at-a-glance comparisons in the grocery isles.

The RDA Chart

Having thus clarified how RDA fits into the big picture of acronyms, let's take a closer look at what the actual recommendations look like.

Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A -- 5000 IU
  • Vitamin C -- 60 mg
  • Vitamin D -- 10 mcg (400 IU)
  • Vitamin E -- 10 mg (15 IU)
  • Vitamin K -- 80 mcg
  • Thiamin -- 1.5 mg
  • Riboflavin -- 1.8 mg
  • Niacin -- 20 mg
  • Vitamin B-6 -- 2 mg
  • Folate -- 400 mcg
  • Vitamin B-12 -- 2 mcg
  • Biotin -- 30 to 100 mcg
  • Panthothenic acid -- 4 to 7 mg

Minerals:

  • Calcium -- 1200 mg
  • Phosphorous -- 1200 mg
  • Iron -- 15 mg
  • Iodine -- 150 mcg
  • Magnesium -- 400 mg
  • Zinc 15 mg
  • Selenium -- 70 mcg
  • Copper -- 1.5 to 3 mg
  • Manganese -- 2 to 5 mg
  • Chromium -- 50 to 200 mcg
  • Molybdenum -- 75 to 250 mcg

How Much Should I Sweat This Stuff?

Unless you're quite the diet guru, odds are your day-to-day eating won't quite hit the mark for everything. On the other hand, you don't eat exactly the same foods everyday, so a little less selenium today may well be compensated for by a little extra tomorrow. This is why health professionals always talk about the virtues of a varied diet -- the better mix of stuff you eat, and the more nutritious it is, the better odds of getting everything you need.In any case, you're not about to keel over from being a few percent shy of the RDA. If you're concerned about your vitamin and mineral intake, invest in a good multivitamin/mineral and pop a capsule with breakfast. Odds of overdosing on anything harmful is minimal in most over-the-counter brands, and with the cost being mere cents per day, there's no reason not to play it safe.

Nutritional Information on the RDA Chart