Does what I eat satisfies the RDA? I don’t know how to accurately calculate it.

I look at Nutrition Facts on food labels as often as I can to see what nutrients I am getting from what I eat, but they give such limited information. It’s so hard to tell if I am actually getting the Recommended Dietary Allowances throughout the day. I want to know if what I eat satisfies the RDA, but I don’t know how to accurately calculate it. I’ve tried, but it’s just too tedious trying to keep track of everything I eat by looking at food labels. Is there a better way?

The problem with just paying attention to food labels is that there may be only two vitamins and two minerals on the Nutrition Facts label. Yet there are Recommended Dietary Allowances for 11 vitamins and 7 minerals.

Since the food labels were revised in May 1994, the Food and Drug Administration requires less vitamin and mineral information on food labels unless the package makes a health claim like “reduced fat” or “good source of fiber”. This decision was made because of the decrease in deficiency diseases in the United States. However, nutrition research now focuses on the health benefits of getting an adequate amount of certain nutrients. Most people are aware of the benefit of calcium, vitamin D and fluoride in preventing osteoporosis or the role of calcium and potassium in high blood pressure.

Yes, there are two other ways that I know. Both require that you write down everything that you eat or drink during a day. Don’t forget to write down all the supplements that you take too.

A registered dietitian could analyze your food records for you. They use nutrition science principles to do the analysis and then generate reports that compare how you eat to your personal RDA. A dietitian could even include any supplements you may take. Charts and graphs make it real clear which vitamins and minerals you eat enough of and which you are lacking. They even provide a list of foods that are good sources of the nutrients you are lacking.

The other choice is to buy nutritional analysis software and enter all your recipes and everything you eat. It depends on how much time you have which would be a good choice for you.