Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids


Report at a Glance

  • Macronutrients Table
  • Press Release (HTML)

This report is the fifth in a series of reports from the Food and Nutrition Board presenting dietary reference values for the intake of nutrients by Americans and Canadians.

This new report establishes ranges for fat, carbohydrates and protein and stresses the importance of balancing diet with exercise. Highlights of the report include:

  • Adults should get 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20 percent to 35 percent from fat, and 10 to 35 percent from protein. Acceptable ranges for children are similar to those for adults, except that infants and younger children need a slightly higher proportion of fat (25 -40 percent).
  • To maintain cardiovascular health, regardless of weight, adults and children should achieve a total of at least one hour of moderately intense physical activity each day.
  • Added sugars should comprise no more than 25 percent of total calories consumed. Added sugars are those incorporated into foods and beverages during production which usually provide insignificant amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other essential nutrients. Major sources include soft drinks, fruit drinks, pastries, candy, and other sweets.
  • The recommended intake for total fiber for adults 50 years and younger is set at 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women, while for men and women over 50 it is 30 and 21 grams per day, respectively, due to decreased food consumption.
  • Using new data, the report reaffirms previously established recommended levels of protein intake, which is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight for adults; however recommended levels for pregnancy are increased.
  • The report doesn't set maximum levels for saturated fat, cholesterol, or trans fatty acids, as increased risk exists at levels above zero, however the recommendation is to eat as little as possible while consuming a diet adequate in important other essential nutrients
  • Recommendations are made for linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and for alpha-linolenic acid (an omega- 3 fatty acid)