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Definitions

Aggregated definitions of terms used on Fruitarian's Network. A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term - a word, a phrase, or a set of other symbols.

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are reference values that are quantitative estimates of nutrient intakes to be used for planning and assessing diets for healthy people. They include both recommended intakes and upper intake levels.

Although the reference values are based on data, the data are often insufficient or drawn from studies that had limitations in addressing the question. Scientific judgment is required in setting the reference values. 

  • EAR - Estimated Average Requirement - a nutrient intake value that is estimated to meet the requirement of half the healthy individuals in a group.
  • RDA - Recommended Dietary Allowance - the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 to 98 percent) healthy individuals in a group.
  • AI - Adequate Intake: a value based on observed or experimentally determined approximations of nutrient intake by a group of healthy people.
    Used when an RDA cannot be determined.
  • UL - Tolerable Upper Intake Level - the highest level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. As intake increases above the UL, the risk of adverse effects increases.

Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) is the average daily nutrient intake level that is estimated to meet the requirements of half  - 50% - of the healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group. 

Because the needs of the other half of the population will not be met by this amount, the EAR is increased by about 20% to arrive at the RDA.

Before setting the EAR, a specific criterion of adequacy is selected, based on a careful review of the literature. When selecting the criterion, reduction of disease risk is considered along with many other health parameters. 

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) - the average daily dietary nutrient intake level sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all - ~97% - healthy individuals in a particular life stage and gender group. 

The process for setting the RDA depends on being able to set an Estimated Average Requirement (EAR). If an EAR cannot be set, no RDA will be set. The EAR is the daily intake value of a nutrient that is estimated to meet the nutrient requirement of half the healthy individuals in a life stage and gender group.

The RDA is set at the EAR plus twice the standard deviation (SD) if known (RDA = EAR + 2 SD). If data about variability in requirements are insufficient to calculate a standard deviation, a coefficient of variation for the EAR of 10% is ordinarily assumed (RDA = 1.2 x EAR).

The RDA for a nutrient is a value to be used as a goal for dietary intake by healthy individuals. The RDA is not intended to be used to assess the diets of either individuals or groups or to plan diets for groups.

Vitamin B9, also called folate or folic acid, is one of 8 B vitamins.

  • Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9, found in supplements and fortified foods.
  • Folate occurs naturally in foods.

Folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health. It aids in the production of DNA and RNA, the body's genetic material, and is especially important when cells and tissues are growing rapidly, such as in infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy.

Folic acid also works closely with vitamin B12 to help make red blood cells and help iron work properly in the body.

Rich sources of folate include: spinach, dark leafy greens, asparagus, mustard greens, brussels sprouts, beans, soybeans, root vegetables, whole grains, oranges, avocado. 

Undernutrition is a form of malnutrition. (Malnutrition also includes overnutrition).

Undernutrition can result from:

  • inadequate ingestion of nutrients,
  • malabsorption,
  • impaired metabolism,
  • loss of nutrients due to diarrhea,
  • increased nutritional requirements.

Undernutrition progresses in stages: it may develop slowly when it is due to anorexia or very rapidly. First, nutrient levels in blood and tissues change, followed by intracellular changes in biochemical functions and structure. Ultimately, symptoms and signs appear. Diagnosis is by history, physical examination, body composition analysis, and sometimes laboratory tests. 

Undernutrition from micronutrient deficiencies, or "hidden hunger", affects over 2 billion people globally and can lead to reduced growth and cognitive development, birth defects, blindness, and overall poor health. Vitamin A deficiencyiron deficiency anaemia and iodine deficiency disorders are among the most common forms of micronutrient malnutrition. 

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George Bernard Shaw

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