EFSA on reference values for nutrient intakes

EFSA on reference values for nutrient intakes

EFSA’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies has established dietary reference values for the intake of carbohydrates, dietary fibre, fats and water.

EFSA’s advice on nutrient intakes provides an important evidence base to underpin nutritional policies, the setting of diet-related public health targets and the development of consumer information and educational programmes on healthy diets. The opinions were adopted by the Panel after consultation with Member States, the scientific community, and other stakeholders. The consultation ensures EFSA has benefited from the widest range of views to finalise the work and provide the most up-to-date, clear and comprehensive advice to EU decision makers.

Dietary reference values indicate the amount of an individual nutrient that people need for good health depending on their age and gender. The European Commission asked EFSA to update previous European advice in this area, taking into account new scientific evidence and recent recommendations issued at national and international level. EFSA delivers its first opinions on dietary reference values (DRVs) for carbohydrates dietary fibre, fats, and water. These will be followed by opinions on DRVs for vitamins and minerals.

The intake of total carbohydrates - including carbohydrates from starchy foods such as potatoes and pasta, and from simple carbohydrates such as sugars - should range from 45 to 60% of the total energy intake for both adults and children.

Intakes of fats should range between 20 to 35% of the total energy intake, with different values given for infants and young children taking into account their specific developmental needs.

There is good evidence that higher intakes of saturated fats and trans fats lead to increased blood cholesterol levels which may contribute to development of heart disease. Limiting the intake of saturated and tran fats, with replacement by mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, should be considered by policy makers when making nutrient recommendations and developing food-based dietary guidelines at national level.
A daily intake of 250 mg of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for adults may reduce the risk of heart disease.

The opinions published were finalised following comments received between 2008 and 2009 during an on line consultation process.
Source: EFSA – European Food Safety Authority


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