Reference intakes

RI stands for ‘reference intake’. These are set by the government and are a guide to show how much of each nutrient an average healthy person should eat over the course of a day. Although the most important thing is to consume a balanced and varied diet, RIs are a useful tool to help us understand food and make healthier choices on a day-to-day basis.


An example of the RI for the average adult.

What else do we need to know?

• RIs are based on an average female who is moderately active, with no special dietary requirements, at a healthy weight.
• RIs vary depending on age, gender, build, lifestyle and activity level.
• The RI for calories is to be used as a guide.
• The RIs for fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt are maximum recommendations.
• Sometimes food labels will show nutritional information based on a percentage of
the RIs, per portion. Use food labels as a guide to know what the contribution is from energy and nutrients for a day.