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    Daily Values

    In 1973 the FDA developed the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance RDA system to replace the minimum daily requirements which had previously been used for nutrition labeling purposes. The U.S. RDAs were based on the Food and Nutrition Board’s RDAs, but were not identical to them. The Daily Values (DV) used on current nutrition labels are based on the U.S. RDAs and can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, (21 CFR)Part 101.9.

    In 1996 the Food and Nutrition Board, Commission on Life Sciences, National Research Council began developing Daily/Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) to replace the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). The DRIs are actually a set of four reference values: Estimated Average Requirements (EAR), Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), Adequate Intakes (AI) or an acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR), and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, (UL) that have replaced the 1989 Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs)

    Daily Values based on at 2,000 calorie diet

Total Fat grams (g) < 65
Saturated fatty acids grams (g) < 20
Cholesterol milligrams (mg) < 300
Sodium milligrams (mg) < 2400
Potassium milligrams (mg) 3500
Total carbohydrate grams (g) 300
Fiber grams (g) 25
Protein grams (g) 50
Vitamin A International Unit (IU) 5000
Vitamin C milligrams (mg) 60
Calcium milligrams (mg) 1000
Iron milligrams (mg) 18
Vitamin D International Unit (IU) 400
Vitamin E International Unit (IU) 30
Vitamin K micrograms (µg) 80

Thiamin milligrams (mg) 1.5
Riboflavin milligrams (mg) 1.7
Niacin milligrams (mg) 20
Vitamin B6 milligrams (mg) 2.0
Folate micrograms (µg) 400
Vitamin B12 micrograms (µg) 6.0
Biotin micrograms (µg) 300
Pantothenic acid milligrams (mg) 10
Phosphorus milligrams (mg) 1000
Iodine micrograms (µg) 150
Magnesium milligrams (mg) 400
Zinc milligrams (mg) 15
Selenium micrograms (µg) 70
Copper milligrams (mg) 2.0
Manganese milligrams (mg) 2.0
Chromium micrograms (µg) 120
Molybdenum micrograms (µg) 75
Chloride milligrams (mg) 3400

REV. REV. Jan 30, 1998
Source: Daily Values from the FDA Food Labeling Guide as of Jan. 2003

                                      Calories:       2,000      2,500
Total fat........................  Less than             65 g       80 g
Saturated fat....................  Less than             20 g       25 g
Cholesterol......................  Less than           300 mg     300 mg
Sodium...........................  Less than         2,400 mg   2,400 mg
Total carbohydrate...............  ...............      300 g      375 g
Dietary fiber....................  ...............       25 g       30 g

In the Federal Register of July 11, 2003 (68 FR 41507), FDA published an ANPRM to solicit information and data that potentially could be used to establish new nutrient content claims about trans fatty acids (trans fat); to establish qualifying criteria for trans fat in current nutrient content claims for saturated fatty acids (saturated fat) and cholesterol, lean and extra lean claims, and health claims that contain a message about cholesterol-raising lipids; and, in addition, to establish disclosure and disqualifying criteria to help consumers make heart-healthy food choices.
Source: Food Labeling
See: FDA Food Labeling Guide and Code of Federal Regulations - Food Labeling
USDA: Nutrient Data Laboratory at
RDIs at U. Texas
RDAs and Upper Limits
I Want Vitamins

Essential components of Protein and Fats

  • There are 9 essential amino acids.
    The essential amino acids are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. Another amino acid, histidine, is considered semi-essential because the body does not always require dietary sources of it. The other 11 amino acids (There are 20 in all) can be produced by the body.
  • Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acids. There are two families of EFAs: Linoleic acid (Omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3)
    EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems.
  • There are no "essential" carbohydrates. But, carbohydrate-rich foods are the main sources of protein for most of the world.

Other sources for Essential Nutrients:
Nutritional Content of specific foods
The nutrients known to be essential
Nutrition and Cancer: State of the Art at Positive Health
Nutrition & Wellness

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last updated 25 May 2004