Dietary Reference Values

In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health published the Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. This records Dietary Reference Values (DRV) which recommended nutritional intakes for the UK population. The DRVs can be divided into three types[1][2]:

  • RNI - Reference Nutrient Intake (97.5% of the population's requirement is met)
  • EAR - Estimated Average Requirement (50% of the population's requirement is met)
  • LRNI - Lower Recommended Nutritional Intake (2.5% of the population's requirement is met)

RNI is not the same as RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) or GDA, although they are often similar.[3]

Extension to EU level

In recent times Dietary Reference Values are under the interest of the European Food Safety Authority too, which intend to extend them at the EU level. EFSA is the equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA, and acts as watchdog inside the European market in order to establish a common ground on food safety requirements and nutrition as well.

EFSA met in September 2009 with representative of the Member States in order to gain their views on fats, carbohydrates, fibres and water as well as Food-Based Dietary Guidelines. Furthermore EFSA is searching for comments (Open Consultation) by 15, October, in order to validate its assumptions on the need to have:

  • carbohydrates being comprised among 45% / 60% of the overall daily caloric intake
  • fats being comprised among 20% / 35% of the overall caloric intake
  • fibre needs: complying with 25 grams/die

EFSA considers that there are not sufficient data to set DRVs for sugars, and not sistematic scientifical substantiation linking diseases such as stroke or diabetes (DMT1 or DMT2) to an increased intake of sugars (glycemic load/glycemic index). In any case, there is a lot of literature referring to this link, on journals with very high impact factor and statistically robust design and results

Many problems seem nowadays to derive from having integrated EU level DRV:

  • the presence of a previous EFSA opinion on Food Based Dietary Guidelines, aimed at stressing the need of having only country-based guidelines, against the WHO hypotesis. This is due to very different food patterns, for EFSA, inside Europe.
  • the presence of private scheme such as GDA (Guideilnes on Daily Amounts), referring on the same subject (calories from nutrient groups) but casting shadow on the effectiveness of DRVs as public authorities' scheme.


  • Jenkins DJ et al. . Glycemic index: overview of implications in health and disease. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;76(1):266S-73S;
  • Schulze MB,et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and dietary fiber intake and incidence of type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women. Am J Clin Nutr 2004; 80:348-56
  • Willett W, Manson J, Liu S. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and risk of type 2 diabetes. Am J Clin Nutr 2002; 76:274S-80S.
  • Liu, S, Willett, WC, Stampfer, MJ, et al. A prospective study of dietary glycemic load, carbohydrate intake, and risk of coronary heart disease in U.S. women. Am J Clin Nutr 2000; 71:1455-61.
  1. ^ Dietary Reference Values of Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom (Report on Health & Social Subjects)
  2. ^ Dietary reference values fluctuating depending on country
  3. ^ "Food labelling and health claims". British Nutrition Foundation. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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