Content Map Terms

Dietary Reference Intake


What do the terms RDA, UL, and AI mean?

RDA, UL, and AI are part of a set of nutrient guidelines for healthy people. The guidelines are called the Dietary Reference Intakes.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).
This is the average daily level that nearly all healthy people should take to meet their nutrient needs.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL).
This is the highest amount of a nutrient a healthy person could take before it could cause a health problem.
Adequate Intake (AI).
This is used only when there isn't enough information about a nutrient to set the RDA. It's the level that experts assume will provide enough of that nutrient.

These guidelines are issued by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences. This is an independent non-profit science group. The guidelines are updated from time to time. Updates are based on the latest data.

What does "Daily Value" mean on a food label?

Daily Value (DV) is found on the Nutrition Facts label of any packaged food or drink. The DV shows the amount of a nutrient in one serving as a percentage. The % Daily Value is based on 2,000 calories a day. You may need more or less than 2,000 calories a day.


Current as of: March 1, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator