Skip to content
Jan 12 2006 / Aaron

RDA’s vs RDI’s


  • Breakfast Smoothy (350)


  • Two Mega Muffins (300)
  • Baby Carrots (100)
  • Yogurt (60)
  • Grape Tomatoes (25)
  • Brussels Sprouts w/ Olive Oil (90)
  • Oranges (100)
  • Granola Bar (150)


  • Egg whites Souffle w/ Cheese (100)
  • Steamed Asparagus (25)
  • Bison Burger (home made) (600)

Ye Grande Total: 1895 Calories

I discovered I was using RDI’s for my default CRON-o-Meter targets, not RDA’s has I had expected. The RDI’s are Reference Daily Intakes — standardized amounts of nutrients so when you see 32% DV for Vitamin C on some packaging, it means it contains 32% of the reference daily intake for vitamin C. These are static values.

The RDA’s (Recommended Daily Allowance) are lower and refer to minimum amounts needed to maintain rudimentary health in the average population. RDAs are variable depending on age, gender, and lactation, and are generally much lower than the RDIs. This means that certain things I thought I was routinely low in, like Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D, it turns out it’s not nearly as bad as I thought if I use the RDA values. For other things like Zinc, the difference in RDI vs RDA is not as large. I spent a few hours yesterday painstakingly encoding the RDA and UL (Tolerable Upper Limits, for toxicity), and I’m still nowhere near done (there are too many damned nutrients). I do feel awesome now that I know, for the most part, I’ve been nutritionally knocking the socks off of most of the RDAs from diet alone.

Christine invented a great appetizer / protein supplement today. You put an egg-white in a coffee mug and mix in some seasoning (I like crushed chili peppers, black pepper and dill or parsley) and microwave it until it’s cooked (1 to 2 minutes). Dump it on a slice of deli turkey, and let it cool. You can garnish it with a little grated cheese or salsa. Then wrap the turkey around the fluffy egg-white souffl?, and devour. It’s a great way to boost your protein if you’re low for the day. Since it’s so high in protein, it curbs the appetite as well, and without cheese, it’s only about 50 calories.


leave a comment
  1. Michael / Jan 17 2006

    Hi Aaron!

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Still owe you an email on COM, which is a WONDERFUL program (thanks!). Had been meaning to mention this very issue to you. The other thing, before you get too far: WHICH RDAs are you using? The Institute of Medicine recently revised the RDAs, but these are not officially adapted by FDA; see this page, where the new RDAs are called DRIs (Dietary Reference Intakes):

    Given my ‘druthers, I’d rather see these used, as they are the latest, best science on the matter. (Fortunately, I can always customize, of course — and I’m sure that COM will eventually actually SAVE this information 😉 ).

    Be well!

    Love is the law, love under will.


  2. CBarrientos RD / Jan 18 2006

    Just so you know…The USDA and FDA have changed RDA’s to RDI’s now…(just a way to make us more confused)…so be sure you refer to the RDI of vitamins, minerals, and elements for your specific age range to ensure that your meeting your requirements. The RDI’s now reflect a good intake of a nutrient for at least 89% of the general HEALTHY population! =)

  3. CBarrientos RD / Jan 18 2006

    Um that was supposed to be 98% of the population sorry!

  4. CBarrientos RD / Jan 18 2006

    Um that was supposed to be 98% of the population sorry!

Leave a Comment