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Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs)

What are Guideline Daily Amounts?

  • Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) help consumers make sense of the nutrition information provided on food labels. They do this by translating science into consumer-friendly information, resulting in simple guidelines on-pack that enable consumers to put the nutrition information they read on a food label into the context of their overall diet.
  • GDAs are guidelines for healthy adults and children about the approximate amount of calories, fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, total sugars, protein, fibre, salt and sodium required for a healthy diet.
  • Because people vary in many ways, in terms of size and activity levels for example, GDAs cannot be used as targets for individuals. They simply provide a benchmark against which the contribution from macronutrients, fibre, salt and sodium per serving of a food product can be roughly assessed. GDAs are different from Dietary Reference Values.
  • It is acknowledged that it is very difficult, if not impossible, for an individual to achieve the GDAs for all nutrients in any one day. This is not the purpose of providing this information. The aim is to provide a guide for consumers to assist them in making appropriate dietary choices. For example, consumers can use GDAs as a basis against which to judge the contribution of fat made by a particular food product to their diet.
  • Qualitative and quantitative consumer research was conducted by IGD in 1998 to inform the development of the term Guideline Daily Amount.
  • A new European Union regulation on the provision of food information to consumers (the Food Information Regulation) was published in October 2011 and includes legislation on front of pack labelling.
  • The regulation states that front of pack labelling initiatives may be provided in addition to mandatory back of pack nutrition information. These initiatives should be created using harmonised reference intakes based on per 100g/ml or per portion. Information can be provided for energy only or energy plus fat, saturates, sugars and salt. If this information is provided on a per portion basis then in the same vicinity the label must also state the energy value per 100g/100ml. These guidelines must be adhered to by December 2014.

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