What Are Recommended Daily Allowances And Are They Helpful?

All of us learn about the 5-a-day campaigns that governments in the Western world like to advertise. Consume 5 portions of fruit and veg and you will be getting all the nutrients that you need.

Hmmm, perhaps. The RDA system is not new. Indeed the Americans developed it in 1941 as a means of ensuring that their troops were receiving a respectable nutritional intake when food was rationed.

Of course, it was an awfully good idea, it took off and got embraced by many countries in the post war years. Nevertheless, there is no definitive standard and each nation has its own scientific board that supervises the recommendations; in the UNITED STATES it's the National Academy of Sciences.

Government funded organizations have an in-built requirement to be conservative. It can be very unhelpful to make loud and direct remarks that shake the nation.

In the UK in 1988 Health Minister, Edwina Curry, dropped this little gem into a chat with press reporters, 'Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now affected with salmonella,' On another occasion she chose to say that the people in the north of England were 'dying of ignorance and chips'.

Although Edwina (or Eggwina) was likely right on both counts she was, needless to say, removed from her job – even though she was intimately acquainted with the Prime Minister of that time.

A few of the best nutritionists in the world question the levels recommended in the RDA systems. Many think that they are much too low, save for some Minerals which can be damaging if absorbed in higher amounts; copper, iron and selenium.

Not only are the RDA's too little, according to dietary expert, Patrick Holford, but the nutrients in the meals that we consume are typically quite degraded. Poor levels of nutrients in soil, due to over-farming, along with oxidation whilst produce is in storage, processing, freezing and food preparation are all reasons for the Vitamins and mineral losses.

The solution is to improve your diet plans; plenty of green vegetables, study nutrition and supplement them. Treat RDA's as a minimum.

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