The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDAs), Are the RDAs enough to Perfect Health? Paleo Diet and more
Updated: Nov 1, 2021
Part I - (here) Nutrient Density, Essential Nutrients, and More
Part II - How about the RDA - recommended dietary allowance of nutrients?
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDAs) of nutrients was developed during World War II by a committee established by the United States National Academy of Sciences, in order to investigate nutrition issues that might "affect the national defense".
Since 1943, the RDA estimates the daily amount of a nutrient critical to be taken in order to avoid nutrient deficiency, and chronic health problems.
According to this committee, the RDA of a nutrient represents the average daily dose sufficient to meet the requirement of nearly 97-98 percent of the healthy population. (1)
However, is the RDA of a nutrient sufficient to ensure optimal nutritional adequacy and well-being?
The RDA estimates the minimum daily amount of each nutrient necessary to assess nutrient deficiency, and it does not take into account the sex, age, or health status of each individual. Then, it does not represent the optimal nutrient dose that will promote nutritional adequacy and well-being through life.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that most individuals benefit from an intake of nutrients above the recommended RDA dose, supporting the idea that we need more nutrients than the minimum RDAs values set by this committee.
Then, the safest way to prevent nutrient deficiencies, and consequently, chronic health conditions is through our diet. By optimizing a nutrient-dense diet, filled with high-quality macronutrients, dense in bioavailable micronutrients, diverse and colorful. (2, 3, 4, 5)
What kind of diet should I look for?
Remember that would be too risky if we focus on a diet that only provides us the minimum amount of nutrients (RDAs), as it only prevents acute deficiency symptoms and guarantees our survival.
In fact, for optimal nutritional adequacy our daily diet must include foods that have all the nutrients needed for our body fully function. It needs to be dense in bioavailable vital nutrients (here) that will help us maintain not just optimal nutritional adequacy but high-energy levels, and physical and mental well-being in the long term.
With this information in mind, if you want to prevent or reverse a chronic health condition, correct nutritional imbalances, and strengthen your immune system, my advice for you is to implement a Paleo type of diet for at least 3-6 months, and see the results.
The Paleo diet respects our genetics and focuses on a wide variety of foods dense in vital nutrients in a bioavailable form, which can be readily used by our bodies.
Why the Paleo diet?
Imagine for a moment our ancestors’ diet and lifestyle... Completely different from our modern food and lifestyle, isn’t it?
Then, we must consider that our ancestors were basically eating a diverse and nutrient-dense diet for approximately 2.5 billion years. And contrary, our modern diets are abundant in empty calories, antinutrients, synthetic and inflammatory ingredients.
So, we dramatically changed the diet we were genetically programmed to eat in a very short period of our history. Scare, isn’t it?
However, there is plentiful evidence that our ancestors evolved by extracting a substantial part of their diets from both terrestrial and aquatic animals. And based on these available evidences, the ancestral health community point of view about this topic is that we should respect the way our ancestors ate.
Of course, the ancestral health community include in their diet a list of foods that are considered the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and many banned and condemned for decades by the conventional nutrition community. Things such animal products including red meats, organ meat, poultry, eggs, and full-fat dairy products, preferably from pasture-raised animals. Also, wild-raised seafood, crustaceans, algae and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, etc.
Besides the animal products, they eat a wide variety of plants as salads, herbs, vegetables in general, roots, fruits, nuts, seeds, etc., preferably organic and as fresh as possible.
As you could see, the list of foods above includes wholesome, nutrient-dense, unprocessed and organic foods our ancestral ate before the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. And basically, this list includes every food allowed in the Paleo diet. (6, 7)
Why do we need a diverse diet?
Imagine that our ancestors ate between 100 to 200 different types of plants a year. And this number does not consider the animal species. So, we were genetically programmed eating a diet that was extremely diverse and dense in nutrients and fibers. Fresh and free of toxins.
Then, a diverse, nutrient-dense, and rich in fibers diet reproduces the way our ancestors ate, and directly benefits our intestinal flora/microbiota, the microorganisms that populate our intestine.
Many scientific studies shown that we depend directly on a healthy and diverse intestinal flora/microbiota for optimal health and well-being. Also, that our diet can positively or negatively change our intestinal flora/microbiota in 24 hours.
So, the more nutrient-dense and diverse our diet, the more diverse will be our intestinal flora/microbiota, easily we will adapt to the disturbances in our environment. (8, 9, 10)
I hope this was helpful, Please leave your comment or question in the link below.