RDA and protein


The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council– an arm of the National Academy of Sciences– established and periodically updates ‘R-D-A’s,’ the Recommended Dietary Allowances. The R-D-A’s replaced the outdated ‘Minimum Daily Requirements,’ or M-D-R’s. Back in the 1940’s, when they were developed, these nutritional requirements were calculated to be adequate to meet the known nutrient needs of most healthy people. Because scientific knowledge about nutrients has increased dramatically since the inception of the R-D-A’s, the National Academy of Sciences now recognizes the ability of many nutrients in helping to reduce the risk of developing many chronic diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, so it’s beginning to make changes in setting the nutrient levels. Reference values for all nutrients are currently being updated and in the future will be called ‘Dietary Reference Intakes,’ or ‘D-R-I’s.’ Nutrition labels refer to these now not as ‘R-D-A’s,’ but as ‘Percentage of Daily Value,’ based on a 2,000-calorie diet. The R-D-A of protein for adults is eight-tenths of a gram per kilogram of body weight to cover the protein that’s lost or worn out every day. Athletes, growing children, nursing mothers, and people who have undergone surgery have a higher protein R-D-A. All of us have been taught the importance of getting enough protein, often equating it with good nutrition. In the U-S, however, most people– both rich and poor– eat too much of it, at least twice as much as the R-D-A. Research is increasingly showing that too much protein, like too little, can be harmful for you.

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