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Our modern pregnancy diet is failing us

What You Need to Know About Our Failing Modern Pregnancy Diet



Vitamin A

Vitamin E

1. Averages of the previously listed Indigenous Diets 1.97




2. Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) – for Pregnancy, standards proposed by US Government, Ages 19-30 1.00


2541 IU


3. Percentage of Adult Women below the RDA, averages (RDA is not identical to the DRI, but the figures are similar) 65.1%




4. Percentage of Adult Women below 50% of the RDA (that is, percent of women who eat ½ or less of the RDA figures) 28.6%




5. Percentage of Adult Men Below the RDA 55.4%




The chart above lists the guidelines for pregnancy intakes compared indigenous diets average intakes, as mentioned in the pregnancy diet section of this website. As you can see, the recommendations for our modern diets are far lower than what the healthy indigenous diet consisted of. Note: Vitamins A and E are both fat-soluble vitamins which are important for good health. Also, the figures for phosphorus and calcium are listed in grams.

1. Healthy Pregnancies: Averages of the Previously Listed Indigenous Diets

The first row in the chart shows the averages of the four indigenous diets mentioned previously on this website. Even though the exact numbers for fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamins A and E) are not available, we know that they are lacking in our modern diet. Also, we know that these fat-soluble vitamins were much higher in the diet of a healthy indigenous person than they are in the modern Western diet. Dr. Price found through his research that the indigenous diet included a much higher level of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K), even as much as ten times that of the modern diet that replaced it. I know for certain that the tests Weston Price used for fat-soluble activators generally were related to tests for vitamin A.

2. Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for Pregnancy

As you move to the 2nd row in the chart, you will see the Dietary Reference Intakes by the National Academy of Sciences. This row represents the recommendations that are given by our government agencies which are commonly known as healthy nutritional intakes for pregnant women. Remember that the indigenous nutrient intakes listed were representative of the consumption of an average adult, and the numbers do not reflect the higher nutrient intake that is required during pregnancy; the true figured for indigenous diets during pregnancy could have possibly been even higher. The intake percentages for the modern diets are in reference to the figures in line 2, the DRI. If the nutrient intakes of the average US citizen were compared with that of healthy indigenous people, then that we would find that 5% or less of the US population is following a diet with sufficient levels of nutrition.

3. Percentage of Adult Women below the RDA

For clarification of confusing acronyms: it is important to understand that the RDA, Recommended Dietary Allowance, is now known as the RDI, Reference Daily Intake (which is similar to the DRI, but different). In 1994-1996, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) did a nutrition survey, that studied the RDA standards of nutrition in women. The DRI standards which are listed in the chart are likely to be quite similar to the RDA standards back then. In some cases, the figures may a little different– but they are close enough for us to make a general comparison. It is interesting to note that phosphorus, which is a bone building nutrient, has a very low requirement. Because of this abnormally low phosphorus recommendation, the survey shows less of a phosphorus deficiency — 27.4% of 19-30 year old women are below the required level of phosphorus. The USDA survey discovered that only 5% of adult women consumed the same or more than 1.4 – 1.6 grams of phosphorus a day. Based on this information, we can make a generous conclusion that about 5% of modern women get their daily intake of phosphorus. But truely, the reality is most like far more grim than that.

Even though the USDA has a low designation for healthy mineral intakes (comparing line one with line two), the conclusiont that was made was that modern people may be lacking calcium.

The current calcium intakes listed by these people may actually be insufficient for optimal peak bone mass, as well as preventing age-related bone mass loss.

4. Percentage of Adult Women below 50% of the RDA (If These Women Became Pregnant, They Would be Severely Nutrient Deficient)

The next row on the chart is the number of women who are nutritionally lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. If these women became pregnant (or they already are pregnant), there is a significantly higher chance of birth difficulties, complications, and giving birth to a child in poor health. A generous estimate is that these women are only eating approximately 25% of the nutrients required for optimal health. This percentage of the population represents approximately 20% of the women in their childbearing years in the United States.

5. Percentage of Adult Men below the RDA

Because men contribute to half of genetics of the pregnancy before conception occurs, it is important to look at the nutritional levels of the men as well. If men nutritionally deficient or unhealthy at the time of conception, then it is harder to achieve a healthy pregnancy.

When a new life is conceived, the baby is made with 50% of the genetic material that comes from the man. On average, 60% of adult men don’t even meet the daily deficient DRI standards. Looking at these numbers show us that over half of the population in the United States is creating new life with nutrient deficiencies, creating a situation where our children are not prepared physically to thrive in the world.

Modern Diet is a Failure for Pregnancy.

Dietary Reference Intakes, Institute of Medicine,,

1. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA TABLES, USDA’s 1994-96 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, Table Set 12, US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service,




Third Report on Nutrition Monitoring in the United States, USDA.

Photo Credit: kristinbanks from Flickr

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