How are daily recommended value of nutrients derived?

Does anyone know the math behind how much each Macro and micro nutrients are recommended daily?
Who comes up with these numbers? did someone scientifically figure out how much a cell needs and basically multiply by number of cells in a human?

We need to understand this if we are to attempt to replace food.

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I doubt it’s anything like as scientific as that. A lot is going to be based on trial and error as well as analogy to other species. (Start with basics and then tweak it to make it work)


do you think this hard about meeting nutrient goals in your daily life when you cook? i doubt it


Here’s some info to get you started.

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Remember, normally most of us have some variety in our diets… if you always eat the same thing, you have to think more about it,

Remember, most regular Soylent consumers have variety in their diets. I don’t think we know how many 100% Soylent consumers there are, but my bet is that the numbers are very low, and even possibly zero. Even the inventor of Soylent only used it to the exclusion of everything else for a comparatively short time, and the last I heard, he typically has non-Soylent every week.

I spent a long time in Berkeley living on a very limited diet of falafels and halvah – I’m strange, sorry. But I never referred to nutritional charts --I just assumed that if what I was eating or not eating was bad for me, I would not feel good and would have to change my diet or see a doctor.

Do you think that people like me who tend to obsessively stay on the same diets should go to a doctor and check with him or her first? Because for reasons unrelated to Soylent I see lots of doctors and none of them seem very interested in what food I consume. Their attitude seems to be that I’m doing well, so they don’t care what I eat.


Yep, absolutely true, but I think the OP is looking more at trying to meet the goal of replacing food rather than supplementing food…

Yes, someone DID scientifically figure out what the needs are. It IS as scientific as that.

They did it by several methods. Some diseases (rickets, kwashiorkor, scurvy) are directly caused by lack of specific nutrients. Replacing those nutrients cures the diseases. This has been known for centuries in some cases – British sailors were called “limeys” because some ship’s doctors discovered that lime juice (high in vitamin C) would help correct scurvy. So do pickles, so they went to those later, but who wants to call a sailor a “pickley?”

In the last century or two, we’ve had scientific method used to identify requirements for vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats, as well as for caloric requirements. This has been recorded and reported in medical and scientific journals. This is actually important to governments (soldiers need to be fed and kept healthy without unacceptable wastage, and oh yeah, so do other people to keep them happy and productive) and companies that make and sell food want to know that what they are making and selling is marketable as good and nutritious. So both governments and private businesses have spent hundreds of millions of dollars studying and researching this. Universities are commonly funded to do the work. If your state has an agricultural college (it probably does) then part of its funding is used to study this.

When the USDA creates its recommendations, it may give an MDA – minimum daily allowance to keep the “standard” human being from getting a disease from the lack of the nutrient – or an RDA, recommended daily allowance, to keep the “standard” human being healthy.

Note that you are NOT a “standard” human being, most likely. They’ve worked to improve the definitions over time, though. You will still need more of some nutrients, and possibly less of a very few others.

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