Dietary Guidance


What is a healthy diet?

A healthy eating pattern is one that provides enough of each essential nutrient from nutrient-dense foods, contains a variety of foods from all of the basic food groups, and focuses on balancing calories consumed with calories expended to help you achieve and sustain a healthy weight. This eating pattern limits intake of solid fats, sugar, salt (sodium) and alcohol.

What are the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) and the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs)?

From 1941 to 1989, the IOM's FNB released the RDAs. The RDAs are a single set of nutrient-specific values. During deliberations in the mid-1990s, the FNB decided to replace this single set of values with multiple sets of values, including the EAR, RDA, AI and UL for designated age groups, physiologic states (for example, pregnancy), and by sex. These values are collectively referred to as the DRIs. Visit FNIC to access the DRI nutrient reports and tables for vitamins, elements, macronutrients, electrolytes, and water.

What are the benefits of tofu?

Tofu is a plant-based source of protein that is cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fats. Tofu, which is also known as soybean curds, is highly versatile, and can have many uses in home cooking. Tofu is especially useful if you cannot eat dairy, or avoid animal products like meat or chicken. With proper meal planning, tofu can be part of a healthful diet for most children and adults.

What are Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and how are they determined?

The DRIs are set by the IOM's FNB and can be accessed from FNIC's Dietary Reference Intakes page. The DRIs are a common set of reference values for a healthy population based on the relationships between nutrient intakes and health or the prevention of disease. DRI is a generic term for a set of nutrient reference values that include the EAR, the RDA, the AI and the UL.

Is it true that I can get all the vitamins and minerals I need from the food I eat?

There is insufficient evidence to recommend or not recommend the use of multivitamin/mineral supplements for the prevention of chronic diseases for healthy Americans. Aim to get all the vitamins and minerals you need by eating nutrient-dense forms of foods, while balancing calorie intake with energy expenditure. Nutrient-dense foods contain essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have health benefits.


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