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In 1991, the United Kingdom Department of Health published the Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom. This records Dietary Reference Values which recommended nutritional intakes for the UK population. The DRVs can be divided into three types:
General advice is given for healthy people using the table. The government recommends that healthy people should eat a diet which contains plenty of starch (rice, bread, pasta and potatoes). It also recommends that a person should eat at least 5 fruit or vegetable portions each day. Meat, fish, eggs and other protein-rich foods should be eaten in moderation. Dairy products should also be moderately consumed. Finally, salt, saturated fat and sugar should be eaten least of all.
This advice is summarized in the eatwell plate.
Note that exceptions to these rules include pregnant women and young children. Additionally, those who have little exposure to sunlight may need to take vitamin D supplementation.
The Dietary Reference Values below are specified mainly for adults. They define the proportion of a person's total energy intake which should come from different components of food. These include fat and fatty acids, fibre, starch and sugars. Note that these values do not apply to children, and children younger than five with small appetites should not have such restrictions imposed.
The guideline salt intake for adults is about 6 grams of salt (approximately one teaspoon). The Food Standards Agency estimate the average salt intake is about 8.6 grams/day (2008). A high salt diet is likely to increase the risk of high blood pressure, which is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Recommendations for protein, vitamins and minerals vary by age. Where different intakes for males and females are recommended, the higher value is identified in the table below to ensure that the greatest needs of the group is met:
|Nutrient||Population average % of food energy|
|Saturated Fatty Acid||Not more than 11%|
|Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid||6.5%|
|Monounsaturated Fatty Acid||13%|
|Trans fats||Not more than 2%|
|Total Fat||Not more than 35%|
|Non-milk extrinsic sugars||Not more than 11%|
|Intrinsic milk sugars and starch||39%|
|Fibre as non-starch polysaccharide||18% [not applicable to children under 5]|
|Age||Target salt intake (grams per day)|
|0–6 months||Less than 1g|
|Nutrient||1-3yrs||4-6yrs||7-10yrs||11-14yrs||15-18yrs||Adults 19-50 yrs||Adults 50+|
|Vitamin A (retinol equivalents)||400mcg||400mcg||500mcg||600mcg||700mcg||700mcg||700mcg|
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