What about the RDAs (recommended dietary allowances) for raw foodists? They do not seem to exist. The reason clearly being that the raw, although becoming more and more mainstream, it is still way of the center, to be recognized as a standard. Here is an interesting post by Adam Greer from INHS group on facebook, registered nutritional therapist, my friend,and a member of this forum. I thought it is very interesting and worthwhile of sharing:

Some nutrients, like zinc, calcium, sodium and possibly iron, are set at the level they are because of typical dietary patterns and current available evidence linking these to requirements.

For example, calcium requirements are set at 1000mg in the USA, 800mg in the UK, higher in both countries when post-menopausal (not relevant to you). However, when sodium intakes fall below 1100mg the requirements drop. When animal protein intake falls, to within the recommended total protein requirements, which means an animal protein intake of 4-5% calories maximum and total protein intake of 7-10% calories maximum, then the requirements fall lower still. When animal protein is excluded, calcium requirements may be as low as 450mg per day, according to WHO.

However, insufficient vitamin D status or insufficient total protein intake could still offset this, since protein seems to increase calcium absorption. Additionally, calcium is requireed in a 1:1 ratio with phosophorus as well as 1:1 with magnesium. If phosophorus or magnesium exceed calcium requirements by a ratio of more than 1.5:1 this can lead to low calcium status.

Therefore it is still advised to get a 1:1 ratio. Since many fruits have a ratio that is more in favour of phorphorus or magnesium, but greens have a ratio that is more in favour of calcium than phosphorus, in order to achieve the appropriate ratio, most people would still be wise to hit the 800-1000mg target for calcium on an average basis.

With zinc, technically the recommended amounts are 11-15mg for males and 9-15mg for females. The trouble is these are based on an assumption that most people will be consuming a diet containing either animal sources of zinc, which are more bioavailable, or high in phytates, which make the zinc less bioavailable. On a low phytate or phytate free diet, the zinc requirements may drop significantly more. Possibly as low as 3- 7mg for females and 4-9mg for males.

The trouble is that we have no reference point for intakes from fruit, since all currently available studies have been done on people consuming either phytate rich diets (especially in vegetarians) or people consuming animal products. Other nutrients, such as oxalates and tannins, which are also present in fruit and vegetables, could play a role in increasing zinc requirements in a similar way to phytates, since they also bind to zinc in the gut and inhibit absorption. This makes it hard to be sure how much zinc we actually need.

Sodium requirements are set at around 1600mg per day. However studies have found that many people can adapt to intakes as low as 68mg per day. In some cases, even less. However sodium requirements will depend on chloride intake from the diet, as well as potassium intake. Other factors, such as adrenal function, kidney function, aldosterone production, cholesterol metabolism, which could be influenced by other nutrient deficiencies or chronic stress, will all affect sodium levels and the balance between sodium:potassium in the body, their regulation by the kidneys, and intra-cellular versus extra cellular balance. Temperature outside the body and activity levels will also play a big role in sodium requirements, as will total calorie intake (the more glucose we need, the more sodium we need, to some extent).

In reality, it's normally considered that whilst 68mg is probably ok, for most people with normal kidney and adrenal function, if they are not extremely active, it will take time to adapt to such low intakes, as aldosterone levels will need to adjust approrpriately. This shouldn't take long but full adaptation will vary from individual to individual. Therefore consuming approximately 500mg is considered to be more prudent. This is easily achieved on a diet of fruits and vegetables.

Iron requirements depend on availability of vitamin C, tannins in the diet, gender and whether or not one is menstruating, pregnant, breastfeeding or post-menopausal. Phytates may also have an impact too. There can be significant variations in dietary requirements. In principle, on a diet low in phytates and tannins, and high in vitamin C, could lead to lower iron requirements, for men at least. But not significantly.

Other macromolecules, like omega 6 are also artificially inflated, because they are not technically a recommended target but a reference intake (ie. an observation of what is typical for most people in a given population and therefore what is known to be a safe amount to avoid deficiency). Requirements may be significantly lower, perhaps as low as 1100-6000mg per day (1.1g-6g per day, depending on gender, absorption, calorie intake, total fat intake and enzyme function (ability of the body to produce the longer chain omega 6 fats), as well as total omega 3 intake. Generally, it's still considered wise to consume at least 2- 3g omega 6 per day, and maybe even 6-8g per day, as long as the ratio of omega 6:3 does not exceed a 4:1 ratio.

We don't know a lot about actual requirements on a fruit based diet. Indeed, most countries have shifted away from recommended nutrient intakes to reference nutrient intakes or dietary reference values, to indicate what we at least know will be sufficient for 95-97.5% of the population to prevent deficiency. I think it's still generally prudent to air on the side of caution and aim to meet as closely as possible, the amounts set by at least the WHO, if not your own health associations.

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