…Those are just three of the acronyms commonly used when talking about nutritional information. There are a lot of different terms used on websites, articles and food labels, so many that it can feel confusing and make you wonder how the amounts they state compare to each other.
Firstly, what does RDA actually mean? It used to be Recommended Daily Allowance, now it’s Recommended Dietary Allowance. Why the change?
This was done to show that you don’t need to get all your nutrients every single day – they can be averaged out over time so you can meet the requirements in order to stay healthy. The RDA is therefore the number that shows the amount of a specific vitamin or mineral which, if 98% of the population consumes that amount, will prevent a deficiency of that nutrient. Of course we are all different – some people may need restricted diets and thus require more or less of a particular nutrient. But basically, these numbers are all about preventing deficiencies.
RDI stands for Recommended Daily/Dietary Intake, which is basically the same thing as RDA.
In the U.S. you will also see the phrase ‘Daily Value’ (DV) on some websites and articles, as this term is recommended by the FDA. On British food labels you can also find GDA (Guideline Daily Amounts) and RI (Reference Intake). All of these assume an average intake of 2000 calories per day and follow similar guidelines for fats, fibre, protein and vitamins and minerals, so no matter which acronym is being used, you can be confident that you know exactly how much of everything you are getting in your diet.