Revising the Daily Values May Affect Food Fortification and in Turn Nutrient Intake Adequacy

Abstract: The Nutrition Facts panel on food labels in the United States currently displays Daily Values (DVs) that are based on outdated RDAs. The FDA has indicated that it plans to update the DVs based on the newer Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), but there is controversy regarding the best method for calculating new DVs from the DRIs. To better understand the implications of DV revisions, assuming that manufacturers choose to maintain current label claims for micronutrients from voluntarily fortified foods, we modeled intake of 8 micronutrients using NHANES 2007-2008 data and 2 potential methods for calculating DVs: the population-weighted Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) and the population-coverage RDA. In each scenario, levels of fortified nutrients were adjusted to maintain the current %DV. Usual nutrient intakes and percentages with usual intakes less than the EAR were estimated for the U.S. population and subpopulations aged ≥ 4 y (n = 7976). For most nutrients, estimates of the percentage of the U.S. population with intakes below the EAR were similar regardless of whether the DV corresponded to the population-weighted EAR or the population-coverage RDA. Potential decreases were observed in adequacy of nutrients of concern for women of childbearing age, namely iron and folate (up to 9% and 3%, respectively), adequacy of calcium among children (up to 6%), and adequacy of vitamin A intakes in the total population (5%) assuming use of the population-weighted EAR compared with the population-coverage RDA for setting the DV. Results of this modeling exercise will help to inform decisions in revising the DVs.

Citation: Murphy MM, Spungen JH, Barraj LM, Bailey RL, Dwyer JT. Revising the daily values may affect food fortification and in turn nutrient intake adequacy. J Nutr. 2013;143(12):1999-2006. doi:10.3945/jn.113.181099.

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