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What is a Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)?

Author -  Emily Hope

What is an RDI and why do you need to know what it is?

RDI blog.JPGA Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI), sometimes referred to as recommended daily intake, is the average daily intake level of a particular nutrient that is likely to meet the nutrient requirements of 97-98% of healthy individuals in a particular life stage or gender group.

For example,
The RDI for Iron for women aged 19-30 years = 18mg/day
The RDI for Iron for men aged 19-30 years = 8 gm/day

This means that most women 19-30 years of age who consume 18mg of iron each day will meet their iron needs and will not show signs of poor iron levels e.g. tiredness, low energy levels. In this case, women have higher Iron needs than men of this age because of their increased iron loss through menstruation.

To find an RDI for a particular nutrient, please use the combined Australian and New Zealand RDI tables by clicking on your appropriate age group below. Please note that these estimates are for healthy people and are not suitable for those people with various diseases or conditions, pre-term infants or those with specific nutrient needs.

Infants 7-12 months, Children 1-3 years, Children 4-8 years, Children & Adolescents 9-13 years, Adolescents 14-18 years, Adults 19-30 years, Adults 31-50 years, Adults 51-70 years, Adults >70 years, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding.

While we have given tables listing RDI values, it is important to eat a variety of foods from the four major food groups:

1. Fruit & vegetables
2. Bread and cereal foods
3. Milk & milk products
4. Meat and vegetarian protein alternatives

By eating a wide range of these foods, in addition to a small amount of healthy fats each day, you will be heading in the right direction to meeting your daily nutrient needs. Please see the articles below for more information as they provide examples of how many servings of each food group you need each day depending on your age or needs.

Daily guide to feeding your kids

How to feed hungry teenagers

Daily food guide for adults

Daily food guide for older adults

Daily food guide for pregnancy

Daily food guide for breastfeeding 

Athina Andonatou

1:27 p.m. Friday, 10 February 2012

Are RDI's based on what it takes to avoid major illnesses rather than what is required for optimal health?

Emily Hope - Healtheries Nutritionist,

1:38 p.m. Friday, 10 February 2012

Hi Athina,

An RDI is the amount of a particular nutrient that is likely to meet the needs of most people (97-98%) within that age group. This means that it will support optimal health for most people.

There are Suggested Dietary Targets (SDT) set for some nutrients which are thought to help in the prevention of chronic disease. These are slightly higher than the RDI. For example, the RDI for fibre for adults aged 31-50 years is 30g/day for men and 25g/day for women. However, the SDT for fibre is 38g/day for men and 28g/day for women to help reduce the risk of Coronary Heart Disease. 

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