Can you meet all your RDAs with food?

by (788) Updated April 03, 2012 at 1:30 AM Created April 02, 2012 at 2:48 PM

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Can food give us all the nutrients we need?

This is part question and part sharing of a great webpage.

I have been researching the vitamin and mineral content of food. I came across this website:


It gives some great info on the best sources of vitamins and minerals in both animal and plant foods.

I am not inherently against supplementation but Id rather get all of my nutritional needs from my food and not have to worry about it. In addition, as with anything man-made, I don't believe we know the full effects of supplementing or how effective it is.

So, can you get all your nutritional needs just from food? I am happy to eat offal, shellfish, or anything "out there". Can it be done?

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6 Replies

4620 · April 02, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Health is not found in a pill

And it can upset the synergy of your natural food intake- "Eat real food and prosper"

2543 · April 02, 2012 at 2:54 PM

i'd think so. or we'd die. no, kidding aside -- the RDAs issues by the government are based on science that we know to be flawed for a number of reasons, as well as on political issues. i think it's highly unlikey that the requirements, as they currently stand, are the end-all-be-all.

110 · April 02, 2012 at 6:23 PM

I did cronometer for a week just to check. . . on 2000 cal/day fairly compliant paleo diet, I kick the RDA's rear in all the B vits (except for B1). I'm a hair low on calcium (90%, I do consume minimal dairy, and I'm not concerned about calcium intake), low on iron (75%, but I have high iron absorption and don't care about this), low on magnesium (75%, I supplement to bring it up), and low on potassium (which may or may not matter as I don't have a lot of sodium and the ratio may be more important). Oh and I think I always come up low on D3 too, but that's a supplementer.

So yes, I think you can get all your vits from food, if you buy the RDA (which has some problems).

Cronometer will let you reset the target values from the default RDA, which is lovely, however, I'm not really sure what I should be going for anyways, so if you have an idea, let me know.

4247 · April 02, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Can you meet all the needs as defined by the government/some study? Maybe, maybe not. But I find it hard to believe that a basically healthy human being can't maintain sufficient levels of nutrients from just food, if you define "sufficient levels" as "enough to maintain healthy mental and physical function." We definitely survived and thrived for ages before anyone invented supplements.

1118 · April 02, 2012 at 5:53 PM

My hope is that your question is somewhat irrelevant since the FDA has everything so backwards. I strive for natural whole foods and variety including food type and color.

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