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J Nutr. 2006 Oct;136(10):2457-62.

Which dietary reference intake is best suited to serve as the basis for nutrition labeling for daily values?

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Environ International, Arlington, VA, USA.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing regulations on nutrition labeling to better address current health issues as well as updating nutrient daily values (DVs), most of which are still based on recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) established in 1968. In 2003 the Committee on Use of Dietary Reference Intakes in Nutrition Labeling of the Institute of Medicine recommended that the DVs be based on the estimated average requirement (EAR) rather than the RDA and that a population-weighted mean of EARs be used. The rationale given is that the EAR is the best statistical approximation of the nutrient requirement for any one individual in the population, and its use would result in a food appearing more nutritious, as it would provide a greater percentage of the DV if the DV were a smaller amount. Concerns about these recommendations focus on the appropriate role of the Nutrition Facts panel, 1 of the 3 major public nutrition education tools in the United States (along with MyPyramid and Dietary Guidelines for Americans). Providing a benchmark or standard that knowingly has only a 50% chance of meeting a consuming individual's requirement is not appropriate. The DV on a Nutrition Facts panel should provide useful guidance to the individual about how a serving will assist in meeting that person's goal for consumption, and thus it should be based on the RDA or adequate intake, rather than the EAR, and be derived from the highest recommended intake, as has been the practice since 1973.

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