Submitted to: Recommended Dietary Allowances Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 1995
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Setting Recommended Dietary Allowances requires a consideration of nutrient bioavailability from foods in common diets. Differences in nutrient bioavailability from different diets may warrant special recommendations for different cultural groups, and U.S. recommendations may need to be altered as diets of the population change. Bioavailability algorithms, or mathematical rules to ascertain nutrient bioavailability from different diets, can help establish recommended intakes and identify beneficial dietary modifications. Accurate algorithms are difficult to develop, because of the chemical complexity of the food supply. Numerous food components interact to influence the chemical form and solubility of mineral elements, and to facilitate or compete with nutrient binding to biological receptors. The most extensive development of bioavailability algorithms for mineral nutrients has been for iron, and that experience may help in developing algorithms for other inorganic nutrients. Both reductionistic and holistic approaches are necessary to identify the effects of isolated dietary components and evaluate these effects in the complicated matrix of a whole diet consumed by persons with varying nutritional status. The effects of food components on bioavailability may be modified by the nutritional status of the individual. Evaluating the effects of food components by deletion or addition to single meals may yield different results than by substitution for other foods. Computer approaches to decision making may help in the future development of bioavailability algorithms that consider continuous, non-linear relationships and the complex interactions that occur in whole diets.