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Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)



Our bodies need energy to grow and repair themselves, keep warm and do physical activity. Energy comes from food and drink, in particular from carbohydrate, protein, fat and alcohol. This energy is measured in kilojoules (kJ) or calories (kcal), with 1 kilocalorie equalling 4.2 kilojoules. In nutrition calorie and kilocalorie are sometimes used to mean the same thing.


Carbohydrates are the main providers of energy in our diet. Every body cell, including the brain, requires a constant supply of glucose as fuel, most of which is provided by the carbohydrates in food and drink.


Foods rich in fibre also contain powerful protective agents, such as antioxidants and phytochemicals. High fibre diets can also help in weight control and the management of diseases such as diabetes.


Protein is a source of energy but its main role in the body is growth and repair. It helps in the formation of muscles, hair, nails, skin and organs, such as the heart, kidneys and liver


Contrary to popular belief, fat is an essential nutrient with a host of important functions within the body. It is essential for supplying the body with omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids, producing healthy cell membranes and maximising the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble antioxidants (such as lycopene and beta-carotene). Fat is found in many foods and comes from both animal and vegetable sources

The amount of energy you need each day to maintain your weight depends on your age, gender, height, weight, weight history and physical activity level.


So how much do I need?

The information in the table (below) is based on an average 31 to 50-year-old female weighing 60kg and 1.6m tall, and an average 31 to 50-year-old male weighing 70kg and 1.8m tall, with sedentary* to moderate** levels of physical activity.

  • If you are older than 50, you will need to reduce your kilojoule intake by around 500kJ per day (for females) or 1300kJ (for males) — this will vary depending on how active you are.
  • If you are younger than 31, males need about 800kJ more, while females need about the same kilojoule content as for the 31 to 50-year-old age group.

*Sedentary is equivalent to seated work with little or no strenuous activity.
**Moderate activity involves standing or walking work, or sedentary work with regular exercise of at least 30 minutes.

Recommended intake for each day


Women (min)

Women (max)

Men (min)

Men (max)






Protein (min 15% of energy)





Fat (at 30% of energy)

62g +/-

79g +/-

80g +/-

103g +/-

- Saturated Fat (up to 10% of energy)





Carbohydrate (at 55% of energy)

250g +/-

323g +/-

326g +/-

418g +/-











*Aim for sodium intake less than 1600mg per day if you have, or are at high risk of, heart disease


Individual needs vary a lot, so use this as a general guide only. If you want help to interpret and apply this information, consult a dietitian or nutritionist for personalised advice and guidance.

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