The nutritional biochemist Alfred E. Harper was a member of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the National Research Council/National Academy of Sciences for many years, and chair of the Food and Nutrition Board from 1978 to 1982. In a number of articles, he described the original intent of Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) in the United States, briefly summarized as follows [1–3]. In 1940, to guide the U.S. government concerning national defense, a Committee on Food and Nutrition was established under the National Research Council, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, to advise the government on problems concerned with national defense. In 1941, the committee name was changed to the FNB. The allowances for specific nutrients from the FNB were intended to serve as a guide for planning adequate nutrition for U.S. civilians. Specifically, there was no intent to have RDAs as guides to perfect health, nor were they designed to attain ideal intakes. The RDA was stated to be not just “minimal sufficient to protect against actual deficiency disease” but sufficient “to ensure good nutrition and protection of all body tissues,” and in the 1953 edition they are stated to be “nutrient allowances suitable for the maintenance of good nutrition in essentially the total population.” The scientific bases for many RDAs were prevention of deficiency with a margin of safety, often determined from depletion-repletion studies or balance experiments. As Harper wrote, “The RDA has been adopted and adapted by various organizations for many purposes, but they were devised for the planning and procurement of food supplies that would be nutritionally adequate for population groups. Therefore, any assessment of the adequacy, accuracy, and reliability of the RDA will be meaningful only if it is done in relation to their use for this primary purpose. To base such an assessment on their adequacy for other purposes would be like judging the adequacy of the design of the family car for use as a snowplow” [3].