Dietary reference intakes tables

These tables provide dietary reference intakes for vitamins, elements (minerals) and macronutrients.

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Estimated average requirement (EAR)

  • The EAR is an estimate of the median requirement for a nutrient. It is the median daily intake value that is estimated to meet the requirement of half the healthy individuals in a life-stage and sex group. At this level of intake, the other half of the individuals in the specified group wouldn't have their needs met.
  • The EAR is based on a specific criterion of adequacy, derived from a careful review of the literature.
  • The EAR is used to calculate the RDA. It is also used to assess the adequacy of nutrient intakes in a population, and can be used to plan the dietary intake of groups.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

  • The RDA is the average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirement of nearly all (97 to 98 percent) healthy individuals in a particular life-stage and sex group.
  • The RDA is the goal for usual intake for an individual.

Adequate intake (AI)

  • The AI is the recommended average daily nutrient intake level based on observed or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group (or groups) of apparently healthy people who are assumed to be maintaining an adequate nutritional state.
  • The AI is expected to meet or exceed the needs of most individuals in a specific life-stage and sex group.
  • An AI is derived if there isn't sufficient scientific evidence available to establish an EAR on which to base an RDA.
  • When an RDA isn't available for a nutrient, the AI can be used as the goal for usual intake by an individual. The AI isn't equivalent to an RDA.

Tolerable upper intake level (UL)

  • The UL is the highest average daily nutrient intake level likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in a given life-stage and sex group.
  • The UL is not a recommended level of intake.
  • As intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of adverse effects increases.

Estimated energy requirement (EER)

  • An EER is defined as the average dietary energy intake that is predicted to maintain energy balance in healthy, normal weight individuals of a defined age, sex, weight, height, and level of physical activity consistent with good health. In children and pregnant and lactating women, the EER includes the needs associated with growth or secretion of milk at rates consistent with good health.
  • Relative body weight (that is, loss, stable, gain) is the preferred indicator of energy adequacy.

Acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR)

  • The AMDR is a range of intake for a particular energy source (protein, fat, or carbohydrate), expressed as a percentage of total energy (kcal), that is associated with reduced risk of chronic disease while providing adequate intakes of essential nutrients.

Total fibre

  • The sum of dietary fibre and functional fibre.

Dietary fibre

  • Non-digestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants.
  • Dietary fibre includes plant non-starch polysaccharides ( for example, cellulose, pectin, gums, hemicellulose, β-glucans, and fibres contained in oat and wheat bran), plant carbohydrates that are not recovered by alcohol precipitation ( for example, inulin, oligosaccharides, and fructans), lignin, and some resistant starch.

Functional fibre

  • Isolated non-digestible carbohydrates that have been shown to have beneficial physiological effects in humans.
  • Functional fibre includes isolated non-digestible plant ( for example, resistant starch, pectin, and gums), animal ( for example, chitin and chitosan), or commercially produced ( for example, resistant starch, polydextrose, polyols, inulin, and indigestible dextrins) carbohydrate.

Physical activity level (PAL)

  • The ratio of total energy expenditure to basal energy expenditure.
  • The physical activity level categories were defined as sedentary (PAL 1.0-1.39), low active (PAL 1.4-1.59), active (PAL 1.6-1.89), and very active (PAL 1.9-2.5).
  • Physical activity level should not be confused with the physical activity coefficients (PA values) used in the equations to estimate energy requirement.

Vitamin E

  • The requirement for vitamin E is based on the 2R-stereoisomeric forms of alpha-tocopherol only. This includes RRR-alpha-tocopherol, which occurs naturally in foods, and the 2R-stereoisomeric forms (RRR-, RSR-, RRS-, and RSS- forms) that occur in supplements and fortified foods (all racemic alpha-tocopherol). Other forms of vitamin E do not contribute toward meeting the requirement.
  • Previously, vitamin E activity was reported in alpha-tocopherol equivalents (αTE), which included all forms of vitamin E. Alpha-tocopherol equivalents should be converted to milligrams of alpha-tocopherol.
  • The UL for vitamin E applies to any isomeric form of supplemental alpha-tocopherol.

Added sugars

  • Sugars and syrups that are added to foods during processing or preparation.


See definitions and conversion factors for further details.

not applicable
not determinable
niacin equivalent
retinol activity equivalent
retinol equivalent
Reference heights and weights
N/A Reference height (m) Reference weight (kg) Reference height (inches) Reference weight (pounds)
2-6 mo 0.62 6 24 13
7-12 mo 0.71 9 28 20
1-3 y 0.86 12 34 27
4-8 y 1.15 20 45 44
9-13 y 1.44 36 57 79
14-18 y 1.74 61 68 134
19-30 y 1.77 70 70 154
9-13 y 1.44 37 57 81
14-18 h 1.63 54 64 119
19-30 y 1.63 57 64 126

Calculated from median height and median body mass index for ages 4 through 19 years from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Growth Charts.

Since there is no evidence that weight should change with ageing if activity is maintained, the reference weights for adults 19-30 years of age apply to all adult age groups.

Unit conversion factors

Vitamin A
1 RAE = 1 μg retinol = 3.33 IU retinol
For preformed vitamin A, 1 RE = 1 RAE.
  • 1 RAE = 12 μg beta-carotene
  • 1 RAE = 24 μg alpha-carotene
  • 1 RAE = 24 μg beta-cryptoxanthin

To calculate RAE from RE of provitamin A carotenoids in foods, divide RE by 2.

Vitamin D
1 μg = 40 IU
Vitamin E
  • 1 mg alpha-tocopherol = 1.25 mg alpha-tocopherol equivalents (αTE)
  • 1 mg alpha-tocopherol = 1.49 IU d-alpha-tocopherol (natural, RRR form)
  • 1 mg alpha-tocopherol = 2.22 IU dl-alpha-tocopherol (synthetic, all racemic form)
  • 1 DFE = 1 μg food folate
  • 1 DFE = 0.6 μg folic acid from fortified food or from a supplement consumed with food
  • 1 DFE = 0.5 μg folic acid from a supplement taken on an empty stomach
  • 1 NE = 1 mg niacin
  • 1 NE = 60 mg tryptophan
1 g sodium = 2.53 g salt
Energy yield of macronutrients
  • Carbohydrate = 4 kcal /g
  • Protein = 4 kcal /g
  • Fat = 9 kcal /g
  • Alcohol = 7 kcal /g

Equations to estimate energy requirement

Infants and young children

Estimated energy requirement (kcal/day) = Total energy expenditure + energy deposition

0 to 3 months
EER = (89 x weight [kg] -100) + 175
4 to 6 months
EER = (89 x weight [kg] -100) + 56
7 to 12 months
EER = (89 x weight [kg] -100) + 22
13 to 35 months
EER = (89 x weight [kg] -100) + 20

Children and adolescents 3 to 18 years

Estimated energy requirement(kcal/day) = Total energy expenditure + energy deposition


3 to 8 years
EER = 88.5 - (61.9 x age [y])+ PA x { (26.7 x weight [kg]) + (903 x height [m]) } + 20
9 to 18 years
EER = 88.5 - (61.9 x age [y]) + PA x { (26.7 x weight [kg]) + (903 x height [m]) } + 25


3 to 8 years
EER = 135.3 - (30.8 x age [y]) + PA x { (10.0 x weight [kg])+ (934 x height [m]) } + 20
9 to 18 years
EER = 135.3 - (30.8 x age [y]) + PA x { (10.0 x weight [kg]) + (934 x height [m]) } + 25

Adults 19 years and older

Estimated energy requirement (kcal/day) = Total energy expenditure


EER = 662 - (9.53 x age [y]) + PA x { (15.91 x weight [kg]) + (539.6 x height [m]) }


EER = 354 - (6.91 x age [y]) + PA x { (9.36 x weight [kg]) + (726 x height [m]) }


Estimated energy requirement (kcal/day) = Non-pregnant EER + pregnancy energy deposition

1st trimester
EER = Non-pregnant EER + 0
2nd trimester
EER = Non-pregnant EER + 340
3rd trimester
EER = Non-pregnant EER + 452


Estimated energy requirement (kcal/day) = Non-pregnant EER + Milk energy output - weight loss

0 to 6 months postpartum
EER = Non-pregnant EER + 500 - 170
7 to 12 months postpartum
EER = Non-pregnant EER + 400 - 0

These equations provide an estimate of energy requirement. Relative body weight (that is, loss, stable, gain) is the preferred indicator of energy adequacy.

Physical activity coefficients (PA values) for use in EER equations
  Sedentary (PAL 1.0 to 1.39)
Typical daily living activities (for example, household tasks, walking to the bus)
Low active (PAL 1.4 to 1.59)
Typical daily living activities plus 30 to 60 minutes of daily moderate activity (for example, walking at 5 to 7 km/h)
Active (PAL 1.6 to 1.89)
Typical daily living activities plus at least 60 minutes of daily moderate activity
Very active (PAL 1.9 to 2.5)
Typical daily living activities plus at least 60 minutes of daily moderate activity plus an additional 60 minutes of vigorous activity or 120 minutes of moderate activity
3 to 18 y
1.00 1.13 1.26 1.42
3 to 18 y
1.00 1.16 1.31 1.56
19 y +
1.00 1.11 1.25 1.48
19 y +
1.00 1.12 1.27 1.45

Reference values for vitamins

Reference values for elements

Reference values for macronutrients

Additional macronutrient recommendations

  • Saturated fatty acids: As low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet
  • Trans fatty acids: As low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet
  • Dietary cholesterol: As low as possible while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet
  • Added sugars: Limit to no more than 25% of total energy
    • Although there were insufficient data to set a UL for added sugars, this maximal intake level is suggested to prevent the displacement of foods that are major sources of essential micronutrients.

We didn't set a UL for:

  • saturated fatty acids
  • trans fatty acids
  • dietary cholesterol
  • added sugars
Protein quality scoring pattern (age 1 year and older)
Amino acid Recommended pattern - mg/g protein
Histidine 18
Isoleucine 25
Leucine 55
Lysine 51
Methionine + Cysteine 25
Phenylalanine + Tyrosine 47
Threonine 27
Tryptophan 7
Valine 32

Reference amino acid pattern for use in evaluating the quality of food proteins using the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS). Based on estimated average requirements for both indispensable amino acids and for total protein for 1 to 3 year olds.

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