What is 'adequate' nutrition? (RDI vs DRI vs ?)


It seems most people are using the older RDI system for their baseline nutrient needs. Another (Newer) system is the DRI, however, both may be a fallacy.

You’ll be interested in reading this quote:

In September 2007, the Institute of Medicine held a workshop entitled “The Development of DRIs 1994–2004: Lessons Learned and New Challenges.”[12] At that meeting, several speakers stated that the current Dietary Recommended Intakes (DRI’s) were largely based upon the very lowest rank in the quality of evidence pyramid, that is, opinion, rather than the highest level – randomized controlled clinical trials. Speakers called for a higher standard of evidence to be utilized when making dietary recommendations.

In other words, we’re basing this whole idea of a nutritionally complete food substitute on the idea that these values are scientifically valid, though many speakers at this meeting raised concerns that these established values may have little scientific merit.

How do we decide what is our real “Adequate Intake” and our actual “Recommended Allowance”?

I certainly don’t want to base my food substitute off of something experts claim is opinion-based.

Another quote highlighting the problem:

The value of RDA/RDIs is disputed among nutritionists. Indeed, even the “definition of RDAs and their relevance to health” is disputed.[4]

For example, the daily maximum for some nutrients, like sodium are higher in the U.S. than in other parts of the developed world, and are far above established safe minimums.[5][6] For instance, the National Research Council has found that 500 mg of sodium per day (approximately the amount in a quarter-teaspoon of table salt) is a safe minimum level.[7] In Great Britain, the daily allowance for salt is 6g (approximately 1 tablespoon, about the upper limit in the U.S.), but are still considered “too high”.[8][9]


While the current system is in no way perfect, it is at the very least a place to start, from which we can adjust accordingly based on our discovered needs. The human body is incredibly adaptable, and Soylent is the most control you have ever had over what goes into it.

In fact (as someone else raised in another topic, I can’t remember who), Soylent provides a fantastic platform from which to improve the concept of RDI, as it’s the most controlled diet available so far. By knowing exactly what’s going into someone’s body, and being able to adjust individual values of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, we might finally be able to apply proper science to nutrition.


Still, I think it would be good as a community to go over meta-analyses and get expert opinions so that we can have a more accurate picture of what the body needs, preferably something based on grams of nutrient per kilogram of body weight.


Isn’t that basically what we’re already doing though?


It might be what @rob is doing it’s certainly not what the DIY community is doing.


I disagree, just look at the Nutrition category, there are plenty of discussions around dietary recommendations.

I’m not sure I understand the point of this thread either. You’re basically saying that RDIs aren’t absolute, and really aren’t much more than guesswork, which is pretty common knowledge. Sure, I’m sure it’s useful for the people who don’t know that. But you then seem to be saying that just because the RDIs aren’t a hard and fast rule, then we shouldn’t be basing anything off them?

Continuing that line of thought, how do we know that we’re getting enough of everything in our regular diets? Ignoring for a moment the fact that hardly anyone is, we know that it’s at least moderately sufficient, by virtue of you know, being alive. We also know exactly what’s in all of those foods, so I suppose we could base our Soylent on simply being equivalent to what we already eat. But, as we already know, we most likely have quite a few deficiencies in our diet. So how are we going to make up these deficiencies? How do we know how much of everything we need?

Well we don’t, do we. But we have some very reasonable estimates (the RDIs). Say all you will about their accuracy, but I can all but guarantee that following them will NOT get you killed. And from there we can do much more accurate comparative studies, and try to nail down the effects of different levels of individual nutrients.


No, I’m saying we should do exactly what the quoted experts suggest, review meta-analyses and get expert opinions on what our nutritional intakes should be, rather than relying on opinion.

According to many, those estimates are not reasonable.

I’ll point out 2 obvious problems. The upper limit for magnesium is below the recommended daily allowance, the sodium intake is by all accounts much higher than it should be.

Human experimentation is great but before you decide to use your body as a lab rat, try reading some published medical articles.


If you’d read the full documentation, then you’d know that the upper limit on magnesium is for magnesium in supplemental form. “By all accounts” needs at least one reference. I would agree that 6g is higher than average if you look at all recommendations from various governmental agencies, but who’s to say it’s “higher than it should be”?

How do you think the current governmental RDIs were formed? They performed meta-analyses, reviewed the population’s median intakes and made reasonable estimates based on those.

According to whom are those estimates not reasonable? You have reference numbers but then no links… Are there a significant number of respected nutritionists saying this, or a few speakers at one conference?

I’ve read quite a few published medical articles thank you very much, and yes, there is a whole lot of contradictory information out there. Do you have any specific articles you can link me to, or are you just making vague statements?


Isn’t the magnesium we use in supplemental form?

If so then what should or DV be for supplemental magnesium?

I’ll have to look into those links more, I posted them before following the sources because it seemed valid and a common response by nutritionists to the established DRI/RDIs.


Well which rda or dri did everyone end up using? And why?


That depends entirely on your recipe. For example, I’ll be getting 100mg from a multivitamin, and 500mg from food sources. Obviously if you start seeing symptoms of magnesium deficiency you’d lower it.

I’m going with the Australian RDIs for most things, simply because I’m Australian (and most of them line up pretty well with the American recommendations).


So, we should get expert opinions and not rely on them? What’s the point of getting opinions if you’re just going to ignore them?


Heheh yeah that statement wasn’t thought through too well…