The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI) is the amount of a food, vitamin, mineral, nutrient or other substance that should be consumed by healthy people in order to maintain good health. It is based on scientific research for use by the general public and all others concerned. Each nutrient is permitted a value or range that expresses the recommendation for intake.
The health, medicine or science boards and organisations of each country usually devise these nutrition recommendations based on their local populace. Therefore the recommendations may differ amongst countries. In fact, various dieticians usually have differing opinions on the recommendations. In Australia, the figures are released by the National Health and Medical Research Council. Also note that each country may refer to these recommendations by a different name.
The recommended dietary allowance, being a general guide encompassing many people of differing life stages, genders and requirements, is meant as a guide. Dieticians can suggest more specific intake of necessary nutrients depending on the particular needs of an individual. Individual needs may differ because of genetics, age, size (including weight and height), daily physical activity, career, health status and environment.
Here is a list of some of the nutrients the recommendations are made on:
- Protein, fats, fatty acids (such as omega-3), fibre
- Vitamins, including vitamin A, B, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, etc
- Minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, etc