energy balance); other information about her diet (to determine how typical her intake was during the 7-day period); whether Ms. T was consuming fortified foods or supplements containing 400 μg of folate (as recommended for women capable of becoming pregnant), a recommendation distinct from the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) and intended to minimize the risk of neural tube defects; and additional information about her lifestyle (e.g., physical activity, use of alcohol).
The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) can be used in assessment of the apparent adequacy or excess of an individual's dietary intake. Such an assessment requires using the individual's observed mean intake as an estimate of long-term usual intake and using the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) of the appropriate life stage and gender group as an estimate of the individual's requirement.
For nutrients with an EAR and Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), the individual's observed intake in conjunction with measures of variability of intakes and requirements can be used to assess the likelihood of inadequacy. For nutrients with an Adequate Intake (AI), the z-test described above for the AI can be applied to determine if usual intakes are at or above the AI and can thus be assessed as adequate. For nutrients with a Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL), the method described above for the UL can be used to determine with a given degree of confidence whether an individual's usual intake is truly below the UL, and therefore is not at risk of adverse health effects.
Remember that in all cases, the individual assessments should be interpreted cautiously, in combination with other types of information.