Reference Daily Intake

The Reference Daily Intake or Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) is the daily intake level of a nutrient that was considered in 1968 to be sufficient to meet the requirements of 97–98% of healthy individuals in every demographic in the United States. While developed in USA it has been used in other countries though it is not universally accepted.

The RDI is used to determine the Daily Value (DV) of foods, which is printed on nutrition facts labels (as %DV) in the United States and Canada, and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada respectively.

The RDI is based on the older Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) from 1968;[1] newer RDAs have since been introduced in the Dietary Reference Intake system, but the RDI is still used for nutrition labeling. The Food and Drug Administration has indicated that it plans to update the DVs based on the newer RDAs.[2]

Food labeling reference tables

DVs used by the FDA for the following macronutrients are Daily Reference Values (DRV).[3][4][5]

The following table lists the DVs based on a caloric intake of 2000 kcal (8400 kJ), for adults and children four or more years of age.

Total Fat 65 g
Saturated Fatty Acids 20 g
Cholesterol 300 mg
Sodium 2400 mg
Potassium 3500 mg
Total Carbohydrate 300 g
Dietary Fiber 25 g
Protein 50 g

For vitamins and minerals, the RDIs (100% Daily Values) are given in the following table, along with the more recent RDAs of the Dietary Reference Intakes (maximized over sex and age groups):[1]

Nutrient RDI highest RDA or DRI
Vitamin A 900 μg 900 μg
Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C 60 mg 90 mg
Calcium 1000 mg 1300 mg
Iron 18 mg 18 mg
Cholecalciferol Vitamin D 400 IU (10 μg) 800 IU
Tocopherol Vitamin E 30 IU 15 mg (33 IU of synthetic)
Vitamin K 80 μg 120 μg
Thiamin Vitamin B1 1.5 mg 1.2 mg
Riboflavin Vitamin B2 1.7 mg 1.3 mg
Niacin Vitamin B320 mg 16 mg
Pyridoxine Vitamin B6 2 mg 1.7 mg
Folate 400 μg 400 μg
Cobalamine Vitamin B126 μg 2.4 μg
Biotin 300 μg 30 μg
Pantothenic acid Vitamin B5 10 mg 5 mg
Phosphorus 1000 mg 1250 mg
Iodine 150 μg 150 μg
Magnesium 400 mg 420 mg
Zinc 15 mg 11 mg
Selenium 70 μg 55 μg
Copper 2000 μg 900 μg
Manganese 2 mg 2.3 mg
Chromium 120 μg 35 μg
Molybdenum 75 μg 45 μg
Chloride 3400 mg 2300 mg


The RDA was developed during World War II by Lydia J. Roberts, Hazel Stiebeling and Helen S. Mitchell, all part of a committee established by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences to investigate issues of nutrition that might "affect national defense" (Nestle, 35). The committee was renamed the Food and Nutrition Board in 1941, after which they began to deliberate on a set of recommendations of a standard daily allowance for each type of nutrient. The standards would be used for nutrition recommendations for the armed forces, for civilians, and for overseas population who might need food relief. Roberts, Stiebeling, and Mitchell surveyed all available data, created a tentative set of allowances for "energy and eight nutrients", and submitted them to experts for review (Nestle, 35). The final set of guidelines, called RDAs for Recommended Dietary Allowances, were accepted in 1941. The allowances were meant to provide superior nutrition for civilians and military personnel, so they included a "margin of safety". Because of food rationing during the war, the food guides created by government agencies to direct citizens' nutritional intake also took food availability into account.

The Food and Nutrition Board subsequently revised the RDAs every five to ten years. Daily Values were established based on the 1968 RDAs and have not been updated as of 2016. The last four revisions of RDAs were published in 1968, 1974, 1980 and 1989. In 1997, at the suggestion of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy, RDAs became one part of a broader set of dietary guidelines called the Dietary Reference Intake used by both the United States and Canada.

Nutrition facts label

On May 20, 2016, the FDA published guidance for a new Nutrition facts label for packaged foods to reflect updated scientific information.[6] The new label is intended to make it easier for consumers to understand the calorie and nutrient content of their foods in more common serving sizes.


The daily maximum for sodium is higher in the U.S. than in other parts of the developed world, and is above estimated minimums.[7][8] For instance, the National Research Council (United States) has found that 500 mg of sodium per day (approximately 1.25g of table salt) is a safe minimum level.[9] In the United Kingdom, the daily allowance for salt is 6g (approximately 2.5 teaspoons, about the upper limit in the U.S.), but this is still considered "too high".[10][11]

See also


  1. 1 2 "Council for Responsible Nutrition". Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  2. Murphy MM, Spungen JH, Barraj LM, Bailey RL, Dwyer JT (2013). "Revising the daily values may affect food fortification and in turn nutrient intake adequacy". J. Nutr. 143 (12): 1999–2006. doi:10.3945/jn.113.181099. PMC 3827641Freely accessible. PMID 24132571.
  3. "Information for Consumers (Drugs)". 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  4. "Electronic Code of Federal Regulations:". Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  5. "Guidance for Industry: A Food Labeling Guide (14. Appendix F: Calculate the Percent Daily Value for the Appropriate Nutrients)". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. January 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  6. "Changes to the Nutrition Facts Label". FDA Labeling and Nutrition. US Food and Drug Administration. 20 May 2016. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  7. "IOM Salt Reduction Strategies Report". 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  8. "Statement from the National High Blood Pressure Education Program". 1999-10-14. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  9. "Recommended Dietary Allowances: 10th Edition". Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  10. "Daily salt intake allowances 'were set too high'". BBC News. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  11. "Health | Britons told to cut salt intake". BBC News. 2004-09-13. Retrieved 2011-03-30.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. ISBN 9780520224650.

External links

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