Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA ) is defined as the quantity of a nutrient present in the diet which satisfies the daily requirement of nearly all individuals in a population. RDA is also referred to as Daily Reference Intake (DRI).
While prescribing the levels of dietary intake of nutrients, their availability from the diet assumes importance. Nutrient requirements are also influenced by sex, age and body weight. Taking all these factors into consideration, dietary intakes of nutrients are recommended for different population groups.
There are certain general guiding principles in arriving at dietary allowances for various groups. The nutritional requirement of an individual and the dietary allowances for a group or a population are distinctly different. The former depends upon the age, body weight, the physiological and metabolic status of the individual. The latter must also take into consideration individual variation within the group, the quality of the diet, the effect of cooking and processing and the bioavailability of nutrients in food.