Dietary guidelines take into account absorption?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 01, 2011 at 12:44 AM

Does anyone know if the FDA dietary guidelines take into account absorption of nutrients from food? For example, if it says 600 mg of such and such, does that mean 600 mg absorbed from food or 600 mg contained in food before eating? Note: I am not looking to start a discussion on the merits of FDA's dietary guidelines.

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on March 01, 2011
at 02:06 AM

no they cant because it is variable among persons. But you can determine this yourself by intensive testing with your doc.

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on March 01, 2011
at 03:03 PM

The RDA's and DRI's aim to take into account average absorption rates to provide sufficient amounts of nutrients to the majority of people. BUT.... then you get into whether you fall into the average range, whether their figures on how much is desirable are correct, how much the RDA/ DRIs were influenced by the recommended diet influenced by big ag interests, whether the differences in a paleo diet from the SAD change absorption rate. You have issues like the incredibly high calcium & potassium recommendations compared to other countries tied to trying to compensate for US high average sodium intake. And so on......

In other words it is intended to mean the amount of the nutrient contained in the food prior to eating. Whether the RDA/DRI is valid for you is an entirely different matter and leads back to the short answers above.


on March 01, 2011
at 01:02 AM

The short to that answer is no they do not. When you see a specific amount of a micro or macro nutrient in a food they are strictly talking about the constituents. It is impossible to calculate what the absorption would be for everyone since everybody has different abilities to absorb nutrition. Especially when it comes to gut health, food or supplement quality, etc. An example is that the FDA considers milk to be a necessary source of calcium since it is a very rich source, but doesn't consider the poor bio-availability of the calcium in milk compared to the calcium in deep leafy greens.

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