Guideline Daily Amounts

The information on this page is historical. Food labels are changing and the term Guideline Daily Amount is being replaced by Reference Intake (RI). Read about the new nutrition labelling requirements.

GDAs help make sense of nutrition information provided on food labels. They translate science into consumer friendly information, providing guidelines that help put nutrition information into the context of an overall diet.

They are called guidelines because that's exactly what they are – a guide, not a target. Whilst it's OK to stick pretty close to the GDA for calories, you should try to eat no more than the GDA for sugars, fat, saturates (saturated fat) and salt.

GDAs for different nutrients

Experts developed GDAs for calories and seven other main nutrients - protein, carbohydrate, sugars, fat, saturates (saturated fat), fibre and salt. The table below lists the different GDAs.

Guideline Daily Amount Values
Typical values Women Men Children (5-10 years)
Calories 2,000 kcal 2,500 kcal 1,800 kcal
Protein 45 g 55 g 24 g
Carbohydrate 230 g 300g 220 g
Sugars 90 g 120 g 85 g
Fat 70 g 95 g 70 g
Saturates 20 g 30 g 20 g
Fibre 24 g 24 g 15 g
Salt 6 g 6 g 4 g

For more information on the technical development of GDAs see GDAs explained.

GDAs for women, men and children

An individual's nutritional requirements can vary with gender, weight, activity levels and age, meaning some people may need to eat more and others less. As you will see in the table above there are separate GDAs for women, men and children. Typically, men require slightly more nutrients than women with the exception of salt and fibre.

The GDA value on front of pack labels are based on the average requirements of an adult woman. Using the values for women simplifies front of pack labels and is endorsed by experts as a good benchmark to use for all adults. It also helps consumers to avoid over consumption.

GDAs are guidelines for an average person of a healthy weight (i.e. someone who is not intending to lose or gain weight) and level of activity. It is a good idea to speak to your doctor or registered dietician if you have specific concerns about your diet or weight management.

Where you will find GDA information?

A typical back of pack nutrition panel (such as the table example of wholegrain crackers below) gives information on the content of a product per 100g and per portion usually for calories and seven nutrients (protein, carbohydrate, sugars, fat, saturates (saturated fat), fibre and salt).

It may also give the contribution each nutrient makes towards the adult GDA as a percentage. In the table below you can see that the product contains 12.4g of protein per 100g and 0.7g per portion, which contributes 2 percent towards the adult GDA.

Typical back of pack nutrition and GDA information
Nutrition information
Typical values Per 100g Per slice (approx. 5.7g) % based on
GDA for an Adult
Calories 360 kcal 20 kcal 1%
Protein 12.4 g 0.7 g 2%
Carbohydrate 68.7 g 3.9 g 2%
Sugars 5.0 g 0.3 g <1%
Fat 3.9 g 0.2 g <1%
Saturates 0.5 g Trace <1%
Fibre 9.8 g 0.6 g 3%
Salt 0.8 g 0.05 g 1%

The panel may also display all eight GDAs in a format similar to the table below. Although this table contains GDA values for women, men and children (5-10 years) the GDA figures for the product in the column next to the per portion information are based on the GDAs for adult women. Remember that's what's on the front of pack too.

Typical back of pack nutrition and GDA information
Nutrition information Guideline Daily Amount
Typical values Per 100g Per slice (approx. 5.7g) % based on
GDA for an Adult
Woman Man Children
(5-10 years)
Calories 360 kcal 20 kcal 1% 2,000 kcal 2,500 kcal 1,800 kcal
Protein 12.4 g 0.7 g 2% 45 g 55 g 24 g
Carbohydrate 68.7 g 3.9 g 2% 230 g 300 g 220 g
Sugars 5.0 g 0.3 g <1% 90 g 120 g 85 g
Fat 3.9 g 0.2 g <1% 70 g 95 g 70 g
Saturates 0.5 g Trace <1% 20 g 30 g 20 g
Fibre 9.8 g 0.6 g 3% 24 g 24 g 15 g
Salt 0.8 g 0.05 g 1% 6 g 6 g 4 g

You will see tables similar to this one above on the back of pack label of many food and drink products. On the front you will often find the GDA label.

 

Last reviewed: 28 Jan 2014