I'm a person who doesn't need much energy (maybe even 1500 calories is too much), this means that every calorie I consume is very precious.I've noticed that it's incredibly difficult to meet 100% of RDI without consuming too many calories (2000+).Every article I read about nutrient X rich foods, I find something weird like "this food is very rich in that nutrient" (but it actually contains only 3-15% of RDI per 100g), am I supposed to eat a kilogram of certain food just to get enough of 1 nutrient?For example, most articles on the internet say how broccoli are rich in calcium but 100g meets only 3-5% of RDI (why is there so much misinformation regarding nutrition?).When all of this is considered, does one even need to meet 100% of RDI every day?

  • Why do you think it's misinformation?
    – Carey Gregory
    Aug 6, 2018 at 14:29
  • You can use a single source, such as NutritionData, for most foods and judge yourself what's rich.
    – Jan
    Aug 6, 2018 at 15:01
  • Maybe not misinformation but to be honest most people would think that they are really getting nutrients from something once they read that (and all other "this has x" when it has insignificant amounts of it). @Jan I've found these sites only recently, however finding articles listing foods is much easier than examining a database of thousands of products.Besides, there's a problem I've mentioned, looking for only certain nutrients will leave you without other nutrients.
    – JoeDough
    Aug 6, 2018 at 15:02
  • 1
    Naah, it's a single database and if you learn how to narrow down the search, it's really useful. Here's the original database from USDA.gov: in this one you can search by food or by a nutrient or by a combination of nutrients. Or you can find some big nutrition site that lists nutrients and has tables of foods high in them.
    – Jan
    Aug 6, 2018 at 15:09
  • 2
    I think you are underestimating both the calories you need and the calories you consume. For example, a 30 year old man who is 5'4" and 135 lbs needs 1500 calories just to breathe in and out and do nothing else all day.
    – JohnP
    Sep 5, 2018 at 21:20

2 Answers 2


I think non-fat plain yogurt has 45% of the RDA for calcium, or you could get 100% from three glasses of milk. I have found magnesium to be a challenge so I supplement magnesium. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

If you start the day with a fortified American breakfast cereal, you can pick up a lot of vitamins and some minerals in the morning depending on the brand, and the calcium in the milk; though in my opinion some of the cereals are a little too rich in iron (100%), which depending on what else you eat that day that has iron one can end up with a potentially excessive iron load over time (for men and postmenopausal women). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-Consumer/

Choline can be a bit of a challenge, three eggs will give you around 440mg (147 to 115 per egg). The adequate intake for men is 550mg in the U.S. There is no RDA for choline yet, just a recommendation for an adequate intake. I tend to forget about choline and I have to remind myself to think about it, but choline is one of those nutrients that I recommend people talk to their doctor before they take a supplement (see potential issue with TMAO). Cleveland Heart Lab. http://www.clevelandheartlab.com/blog-category/tmao/

I'm sure I don't get the required nutrients every single day, but at least I try to give it some serious attention, and then I don't worry about it excessively.

P.S. I think people can benefit from researching vitamin D and A on their own. Some people pick up Vitamin D well from the sun, and some don't. . I think there is a role for preformed "real" vitamin A in the diet (occasional calf liver, etc.). As far as preformed vitamin A supplements, it is wise to discuss it with a doctor before supplementing. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/

Of potential interest to diabetics, "pre-diabetics" and their physicians. Vitamin A. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4623591/

This page here contains a lot of information in one place. https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx

  • 1
    Unfortunately I don't think there are enriched cereals on my market (maybe some of those sugary cereals are, but I don't consume those).Why is artificially enriched food recommended in a balanced diet while supplements aren't?Those two should be the same, right?About calcium in dairy products, I've read multiple times how dairy calcium isn't absorbed well, is there any truth to it?
    – JoeDough
    Aug 7, 2018 at 12:51
  • 1
    @JoeDough I have heard that the "enrichment" is sprayed on the cereal, I don't know for sure. :). As far as calcium, I get it from food (mainly dairy), but I am not consistent about it week to week. Vitamin D is added to milk to prevent rickets, and to help the body absorb calcium. dairygood.org/content/2015/why-is-vitamin-d-added-to-milk
    – Gordon
    Aug 7, 2018 at 16:49
  • A related question on low vitamin D in the general population can be found at medicalsciences.stackexchange.com/q/16586 Nov 14, 2019 at 14:29

It is realistic to get all the nutrients you need by consuming foods without fortification and supplements.

In general (not as a strict rule), mineral and vitamin needs increase with the calories you spend, which mainly increase with physical activity. If you spend 5,000 Calories/day, you will likely need more vitamins/minerals than if you spend 1,500.

There are different criteria for mineral/vitamin requirements:

When people discuss about mineral/vitamin requirements, they usually refer to the US RDA values, but they are several reasons to believe those amounts are significantly higher than what an average adult needs, for example:

  • For potassium, they were not sure, so they did not call it RDA, but Adequate Intake (AI): previously it was 4.7 g/day and recently they lowered it to 3.4 g/day.
  • For calcium, in the US, the RDA is 1,000 mg/day, while in the UK, the RNI is 700 mg/day.
  • For vitamin C, the RDA is 75 mg/day, EAR is 65 mg/day and NRI is 40 mg/day.
  • For folate, the RDA is 400 µg/day, EAR is 320 µg/day and NRI is 200 µg/day.

Nutrient requirements refer to what you need every day in average, so if you get more one day you need less the next day.

To find foods high in a particular nutrient, you can check Nutrients Review. To finds which nutrients a certain food contains, you can check NutritionData.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.