What are the current Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs)?
Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for Australia and New Zealand provide recommended intakes for energy (kilojoules), protein, carbohydrate, fibre, fats, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients based on age, sex and life stages.
The NRVs have been developed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
WHAT ARE THE NRVS?
The recommendations cover a wider range of nutrients. They include a set of values for each nutrient (see below), and there are recommendations about intakes of certain nutrients that may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The NRVs are made up of the following:
|Recommended dietary intake (RDI)||The average amount of a nutrient needed each day to meet the requirements of nearly all healthy individuals of a particular age and gender.|
|Estimated average requirements (EAR)||The amount of a nutrient estimated to meet the requirements of half the healthy individuals of a particular age and gender. (This value is the median usual intake of the population).|
|Adequate intakes (AI)||Used when an EAR (and therefore RDI) cannot be determined because of limited or inconsistent data. RDIs are derived from EARs. When the EAR is not known or is unclear, AIs – based on the mean intake of the population known not to have a deficiency – are adopted.|
|Suggested dietary targets (SDT)||The amount of a nutrient required to prevent or reduce the risk of chronic disease.|
|Upper limits (UL)||The highest daily nutrient intake level likely to not cause toxicity or other negative effects.|
|Estimated energy requirement (EER)||The average amount of energy (kilojoules) predicted to maintain weight and good health for a healthy adult of a particular age, gender, weight, height and level of physical activity|
|Acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR)||The estimated range required for each macronutrient (expressed as a % contribution to energy) that would allow for an adequate intake of all other nutrients, whilst maximising general health.|
The RDIs, EARs and AIs are set at levels to avoid deficiency diseases whereas the SDTs aim to prevent or reduce the risk of chronic disease.
For example, vitamin A previously had an RDI of 750mcg for men and women aged 19-54 years old. The revised NRVs have a new RDI of 900mcg/day for men and 700mcg/day for women, along with an optimal intake (to prevent chronic disease) of 1500mcg/day for men and 1220mcg/day for women, and a maximum intake of 3000mcg/day.
HOW DO THE NRVS CHANGE WHAT WE SHOULD BE EATING?
The Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013) were developed using a Food Modelling System which translates the NRVs into food combinations that aim to meet the nutritional requirements of different age groups and genders. To figure out what the recommendations are for your age and sex, see the Australian Dietary Guidelines.
The percentage of energy in our diet should come from the following:
- 15-25% from protein
- 45-65% from carbohydrate
- 20-35% from fat with no more than 10% of this coming from saturated fat
More information on the NRVs can be found on the NHMRC website.