A scientific organization that sets daily dietary allowances of vitamins and minerals will report that Americans can get by with lower intakes of some nutrients than previously believed, but will add that women should consume more calcium, it was reported Monday.
The National Academy of Sciences committee report, still in draft form, is already causing controversy among some who say it could be used to justify further cuts in food stamps allowances, school lunch subsidies and other food assistance programs.
Dr. Henry Kamin of Duke University, chairman of the academy’s committee on dietary allowances, said Monday that the new recommended daily allowances (RDAs) to be proposed are not designed to establish minimum standards, but to state what is healthful for all Americans.
The report proposes reducing RDAs of vitamins A, C and B6 and of magnesium, iron and zinc, but raising the amount of calcium recommended, according to the New York Times.
The current RDA of vitamin A is 1,000 units for men and 800 for women. The new guidelines reportedly will propose lowering them to 700 for men and 600 for women. The current RDA of vitamin C, now at 60 units for both men and women, would be 40 for men and 30 for women.
Calcium requirements would go from 800 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams for women, from 1,200 to 1,500 for pregnant women, and remain at 800 for men.
The NAS nutritional guidelines are revised every three or four years. They have been used in menu planning by the armed services, schools, hospitals and other institutions since the first standards were issued in 1943.
They are also used in development of food supplements and on food packaging.
Lynn Parker, senior nutritionist at the Food Research and Action Center, a nonprofit law firm, said her organization was concerned that any reductions in RDAs could be used “as a rationale for reductions in food assistance programs.”