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Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

What to study?

For Prelims: What is RDA?

For Mains: Concerns over fast foods and measures needed.

Context: A laboratory analysis of most packaged and fast food items sold in India has revealed high salt and fat content, in violation of thresholds set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

The study was conducted by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

The study found that much of Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is used (or exhausted) by eating these foods.

The results show that in almost all the food CSE tested, companies have underreported the amount of transfats in their products.

For Prelims:

What is Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)?

It is used to understand how much of any nutrient (salt, sugar, fat) should be consumed from different meals.

Most packaged foods fall in the ‘snack’ category and the RDA of this food is, therefore, a proportion of daily intake.


It is influenced by:

Sex – In general requirement is more for men than women.

Age– Adult men and women require nutrients for maintenance where as infants and children require it for growth and maintenance. Nutrient requirements during childhood are proportional to growth rate.

Body weight: Among adults requirements are related to body weight and size.

Physiological states- During menstruation, pregnancy and lactation women require some nutrients more than the normal times.

Requirements of sports persons and athletes who perform high levels of extreme activity are high some times 2-3 times the normal times.

Physical activity- Sedentary person needs much less nutrients than a moderate to severely active person.

Environment- Extremes of climate or high altitude alters the need for certain nutrients.

Sources: the Hindu.