Have you ever seen the letters “DRI” and wondered what it meant? What the heck is a dietary reference intake anyways? RDA, AI, UL, EAR…there are so many acronyms to keep track of when trying to figure out how much of different nutrients you need!
Well, this basic post is going to give you some background info to understand what a dietary reference is, the differences between the different types of dietary reference intakes, and how to interpret them, so you can understand nutrition facts and supplement labels with confidence.
Dietary Reference Intakes:
Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are developed and published by the Institute of Medicine. They represent the most current science-based recommendations of nutrient needs of healthy individuals. DRIs are currently set for over 40 substances.
DRIs are intended to serve as a guide for good nutrition to healthy people in the United States and Canada. Reference values vary based on age, gender, and life-stage.
Notice that these are intended for healthy individuals; individual needs vary based on health status or life stage (for example, pregnant individuals and teenagers need different amounts of certain nutrients compared to most healthy adults).
RDA: Recommended Dietary Allowance
RDA is something even people in nutrition mix-up. A common misconception is that it stands for “recommended daily allowance,” but it actually stands for Recommended Dietary Allowance.
RDA is the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of healthy individuals. It is considered a “goal” amount for dietary intake of individuals.…