Recommended Dietary Allowances:

More Research and Better Food Guides Needed

CED-78-169: Published: Nov 30, 1978. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 1978.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Recommended dietary allowances in planning diets, evaluating nutritional contents of food, establishing guidelines for food labeling, and developing new food products can be used properly only when their meanings are understood.

Recommended dietary allowances are considered to be too complex for use by the consumer and are intended to be used by the professional nutritionist or dietitian. Although they provide a reasonable standard for use by nutrition professionals in planning and evaluating diets, a diet which provides the recommended dietary allowances does not necessarily ensure adequate nutrition.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture and Health, Education, and Welfare should have the National Academy of Sciences assist in identifying nutrition research needs and in establishing research priorities relating to human nutritional requirements. This assessment should be used to improve and expand federal research on human nutritional requirements. The Committee on Dietary Allowances should use the research results to expand and extend recommended dietary allowances to include additional nutrients and direct them toward more specific population groups. The Secretaries should also request a qualified and respected body of experts to assist in the departmental planning efforts of developing food guides for the consumer to supplement other government nutrition education efforts. These guides should help the consumer to develop diets that satisfy recommended dietary allowances and nutrition guidelines and should address the current nutrition concerns regarding food components, lifestyle factors, and diet and health.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Jun 9, 2016

May 26, 2016

May 19, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Jan 14, 2016

Jan 8, 2016

Jul 9, 2015

Jun 18, 2015

May 26, 2015

May 20, 2015

Looking for more? Browse all our products here