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NORDIC NUTRITION RECOMMENDATIONS 2023

RECOMMEN­DATIONS


Principles for setting DRVs in NNR2023

Ever since the nutrients were discovered, e.g., the vitamins between 1910-1950, societies have strived to give advice to avoid deficiency and protect health and wellbeing of people. Recommendations for nutrients were based on an estimation of the human body’s requirement from studies on the nutrients’ biochemical and physiological roles as reported in for example balance studies. Varying body weights and heights were typically used to estimate the distribution of the requirement in a population. In the first editions of NNR, the recommended intake (RI) of nutrients were based on various such studies and conclusions in Nordic expert committees. Among the major references for the recommendations were the “Recommended Dietary Allowances” produced by the Food and Nutrition Board of the US National Academy of Sciences (previously Institute of Medicine), UK’s Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). No formal criteria or systematic methodology were available and utilized to derive the RIs.
The ideal method to set RIs was early recognized, but rarely achieved. This method included: 1) determinations of average requirement (AR) of a healthy and representative segment of each age group for the nutrient under consideration; 2) assess statistically the variability among the individuals within the group; and 3) calculate from this the amount by which the average requirement must be increased to meet the need for nearly all healthy individuals (NASEM, 2019) (see Table 5 for definition of DRVs). Similar methodologies were developed for setting the tolerable upper intake level (UL), which is the dose where risk of excess in population is close to zero (IOM, 1998b).
While this is still the basic principle, the principles and methods have developed and improved considerably in recent years. The two major organizations that have contributed to this development of methodology are the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the US National Academies (renamed and incorporated in 2011 into the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM)), and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The recent framework for developing DRVs are most comprehensively described in the following reports from IOM/NASEM, EFSA and NNR: 
  • Scientific Opinion for principles for deriving and applying Dietary Reference Values, EFSA, (2010a)
  • Guiding principles for Developing Dietary Reference Intakes Based on Chronic Diseases, NASEM (2017)
  • The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 2022 – principles and methodologies. Food & Nutrition Research, 2020 (Christensen et al. 2020)
Ideally, the first step is to identify the functional outcome or indicator used to set AR and UL for all life-stage groups of each micronutrient under consideration. The causality of the exposure-outcome pair should ideally be considered in a recent qSR, and the strength of evidence should be graded above a certain predefined level. Then, a dose-response curve should be established and the average requirement of a healthy and representative segment of each age group for the nutrient determinations. If data are not available for all life-stage groups, interpolation or extrapolation to the remaining life-stage groups is performed, so that all life-stage groups have a defined set of ARs and ULs (see Appendix 5). Based on the life-stage specific ARs, the corresponding RIs are then calculated. Typically, if normally distributed, the RI is calculated as AR + 2 standard deviations (SD) to cover the requirements of almost the whole population (97.5%). This ideal methodology is, however, often not possible to implement fully due to a lack of appropriate scientific data.
Table 5 Definition of different reference values (adapted from IOM (2006), EFSA (2010), NNR2012 and NASEM (2019)  
Average Requirement (AR)
The average daily nutrient intake level that is estimated to meet the requirements of half of the individuals in a particular life-stage group in the general population. AR is usually used to assess adequacy of nutrient intake of groups of people, and may be used in planning for groups.
Recommended Intake (RI)
The average daily dietary nutrient intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (usually 97.5%) individuals in a particular life-stage group in the general population. It can be used as a guide for daily intake by individuals. Usually used to plan diets for groups and individuals.  
Adequate Intake (AI)
The recommended average daily intake level based on observed or experimentally determined approximations or estimates of nutrient intake by a group people that are assumed to be adequate. The AI has larger uncertainty than RI. Can be used when an RI cannot be determined. The AI is expected to meet or exceed the needs of most individuals in a life-stage group.
Provisional AR
The average daily nutrient intake level that is suggested to meet the requirements of half of the individuals in a particular life-stage group. The provisional AR, which is an approximation of AR, has larger uncertainty than AR. It is calculated by multiplying AI by a factor of 0.8. Can be used when an AR cannot be determined.
Recommended intake range of macronutrients
The recommended average daily nutrient range of an energy providing macronutrients expressed as percentage of total consumed energy intake (E%). The recommended intake range is associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases while providing adequate intake of essential nutrients. The recommended intake ranges of macronutrients should not be considered as an RI that provides a defined intake level. The ranges are provided to give guidance in dietary assessment and planning by taking into account the probabilities related to the role of the total diet for risk of chronic disease.
Recommended intake of subgroup of macronutrients
The recommended energy percent (E%) of a macronutrient.
Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)
The highest average daily nutrient intake level that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects to almost all individuals in the general population. As intake increases above the UL, the potential risk of adverse effects may increase.
Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intake (CDRR)
The level above which intake reduction is expected to reduce chronic disease risk within a life-stage groups in the general population. The CDRR represents the level of intake for which there was sufficient strength of evidence to characterize a chronic disease risk reduction.
Similar formal methodologies have been developed to define recommended intake ranges of macronutrients and reference values for energy intakes (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2023).
There are considerable uncertainties about some of the DRVs. If AR cannot be formally defined, for example if a dose-response curve is not available or a factorial approach cannot be established, an adequate intake (AI) recommendation can be made based on observed intakes in a healthy population or other methods (Trolle, in press). In those cases, a “provisional AR” is calculated as AI x 0.8, i.e., assuming a CV of 12.5% as suggested by Allen et al. (2020). Importantly, as this is usually derived from observed intake in the general population, the provisional AR likely overestimates the true AR.
For some nutrients, AR, AI and UL are not defined at all due to lack of appropriate data.
Previous editions of NNR have not performed a formal setting of ARs, AIs, RIs, ULs for micronutrients, recommended intake ranges of macronutrients and reference values for energy intakes as described above. Values corresponding to the values set in IOM/NASEM and EFSA reports were used instead. Sometimes these values have been adjusted based on expert consensus and alternative scientific assessments or local conditions in the Nordic countries.
In each new edition of NNR, new scientific evidence published since last edition have been assessed. If significant new evidence for changing the DRVs of a nutrient was not found, the values were kept unchanged. If new significant evidence was detected, the DRVs were updated accordingly. Throughout the various updates, the visibility of the original basis for setting the DRVs and the reason for adjustments has varied. Therefore, while the DRVs in the previous editions of NNR were based on careful scrutiny of scientific evidence, the exact values may deviate from the lastest updates of IOM/NASEM and EFSA.
In NNR2023, we are more explicit in identifying the source document used for setting AR and UL (i.e., the specific IOM, NASEM or EFSA report). We have first identified the source document for AR and UL for each nutrient in the previous NNR editions. Then, we considered the most recent reports from IOM/NASEM and EFSA with an aim to harmonize the criteria for setting dietary reference values when warranted (see Allen et al., 2020; Yaktine et al., 2020). In general, we selected the most recent source document that was based on a methodology similar to that described in the NNR2023 methodology papers (Christensen et al. 2020; Arnesen et al. 2020b; Høyer et al. 2021). Harmonized criteria similar to EFSA was set for 22 nutrients, and similar to IOM/NASEM for 3 nutrients. The specific source document for each nutrient is presented in Tables 6 and 7.
Table 6 Basis for setting DRVs for vitamins in NNR20231
Nutrient
Type of reference value
Source
Criteria for setting reference values
Vitamin A
AR
RI
EFSA (2015)
Factorial approach, target liver concentration of 20 μg retinol/g.
Vitamin D
AR
RI
NNR2023 (Brustad and Meyer 2023)
Dose-response approach, biomarker (25(OH)D).
Vitamin E
AI
Provisional AR
NNR2023 (Hantikainen and Lagerros 2023), Raederstorff et al. (2015)
 
For infants: EFSA (2015)
Relationship to PUFA intake (prevention of PUFA oxidation)
 
For infants: estimated intake from human milk.
Vitamin K
AI
Provisional AR
EFSA (2017)
Observed intakes in European countries.
Biomarkers.
 
For new-borns: prevention of vitamin K deficiency bleeding
Thiamin
AR
RI
EFSA (2016)
Erythrocyte transketolase activity coefficient, urinary excretion.
Riboflavin
AR
RI
EFSA (2017)
Urinary riboflavin excretion.
Niacin
AR
RI
EFSA (2014)
Urinary excretion of niacin metabolites.
 
Pantothenic acid
AI
Provisional AR
EFSA (2014)
Observed intakes in European countries.
 
For infants: estimated intake from human milk.
Vitamin B6
AR
RI
EFSA (2016)
Biomarker (plasma pyridoxal 5-phosphate).
Biotin
AI
Provisional AR
EFSA (2014)
Observed intakes in European countries.
 
For infants: estimated intake from human milk.
Folate
AR
RI
EFSA (2014)
Biomarker (serum and red blood cell folate), plasma homocysteine.
Vitamin B12
AI
Provisional AR
EFSA (2015)
Vitamin B12 biomarkers, and observed intakes in European countries.
Vitamin C
AR
RI
EFSA (2013)
Biomarker (fasting plasma ascorbate concentration).
Choline
AI
Provisional AR
EFSA (2016)
Observed intakes in European countries, and deficiency symptoms (organ dysfunction).
1 Scaling of all nutrients uses NNR2023 reference weights. AR: Average/provisional average requirement. RI: Recommended/provisional recommended intake.
Table 7 Basis for setting DRVs for minerals in NNR20231
Nutrient
Type of reference value
Source
Criteria for setting reference values
Calcium
AR
RI
EFSA (2015)
Factorial approach, calcium balance and calcium accretion in bone.
 
For infants: estimated intake from human milk.
Phosphorus
AI
Provisional AR
 
EFSA (2015)
Scaled to RI for calcium (molar calcium to phosphorus ratio of 1.4:1).
Potassium
AI
Provisional AR
 
EFSA (2016)
Prevention of high blood pressure and risk of stroke.
Sodium
Chronic Disease Risk Reduction Intake
NASEM (2019)
Sodium reduction trials and one balance study.
 
Extrapolations to children and adolescents using NNR2023 reference energy intakes.
Magnesium
AI
Provisional AR
 
EFSA (2015)
Observed intakes in European countries.
 
For infants 7-11 months: midpoint between extrapolated values from infants 0-6 m and the highest range of observed intakes.
Iron
AR
RI
NNR2023 (Domellöf & Sjöberg, 2023)
Factorial approach, replacement of daily iron loss, and need for growth.
Zinc
AR
RI
EFSA (2014)
Factorial approach, zinc balance, accounting for phytate intake (assuming a phytate intake of 600 mg/day in adults).
Copper
AR
ARI
IOM (2001)
A combination of copper biomarkers (including plasma copper, serum ceruloplasmin, platelet copper concentration).
 
For infants: estimated intake from human milk and estimated additional intake from complementary foods in infants 7-11 months.
Iodine
AI
Provisional AR
 
EFSA (2014),  
NNR2023 (Gunnarsdóttir & Brantsæter, 2023)
Biomarker (urinary iodine concentration), prevention of goitre.
Selenium
AI
Provisional AR
 
EFSA (2014),
NNR2023 (Alexander & Olsen, 2023)
Biomarker (plasma selenoprotein P, target >110 µg/L).
For infants: estimated intake from human milk.
Fluoride
AI
Provisional AR
 
EFSA (2013)  
Prevention of caries (for adults: extrapolated from data in children).
Manganese
AI
Provisional AR
 
EFSA (2013)
Observed intakes in European countries, and null balance.
 
For infants 7-11 months: a combination of extrapolation from infants 0-6 months, extrapolation from adults’ AI, and observed intakes.
Molybdenum
AI
Provisional AR
EFSA (2013)
Observed intakes in European countries, and null balance.
¹ Scaling of all nutrients uses NNR2023 reference weights. AI: Adequate intake. AR: Average/provisional average requirement. RI: Recommended intake.
The indicator used to set AR, AI and UL in each source document was then identified. The recent scientific evidence on the indicator is discussed in the corresponding nutrient background paper. Evidence based on new qSRs (see Table 1 and Appendix 2) were especially emphasized. If new evidence since the publication of the source document had appeared that changed the strength of evidence relative to the predefined criteria (Christensen et al. 2020), the corresponding change in AR, AI and UL were implemented. Additionally, if new SRs revealed new indicators, these were also implemented.
Next, we identify whether the AR and UL were set by dose-response or factorial approach. Again, the corresponding nutrient background papers were essential in assessing recent evidence published since the last edition of NNR. In specific cases, the NNR2023 project performed new meta-analyses (see list of de novo qSRs above). Otherwise, the NNR2023 project based the evaluation on dose-response curves in the source documents (see table 6 and 7).
If data were not available for all life-stage groups, interpolation or extrapolation to the remaining life-stage groups was performed in the NNR2023 project, so that all life-stage groups have a defined set of ARs and ULs. The methodology of scaling to other life stage groups was identified from the relevant source document (i.e., isometric scaling or allometric scaling, with or without a growth factor), as described in Appendix 5. When an AR could not be set, the extrapolation was performed with the AI.
An important basis for scaling is the representative healthy weights for each life-stage group. For life stage groups aged 18 years or more, healthy weights are, in agreement with the consideration in NNR2012, defined as a BMI of 23 kg/m2 (calculated from the most recent population heights reported in national dietary surveys (Amcoff et al. 2012; Pedersen et al. 2015; Nurk et al. 2017; Valsta et al. 2018; Grīnberga et al. 2020; Abel and Totland 2020; S. Gunnarsdottir et al. 2022)). For children and adolescents aged 6-17 years, healthy weights were calculated based on height in the most recent growth curves in the Nordic and Baltic countries and corresponding healthy BMIs for age defined by WHO (World Health Organization 2007; Juliusson et al. 2013; Saari et al. 2011; Tinggaard et al. 2014; Wikland et al. 2002). For age groups 5 years and younger, healthy weights were based on the growth curves. For detailed values for weight, see Appendix 4. The new weight values are an important update from previous editions and ascertain that scaling is performed according to healthy weight curves representative for Nordic and Baltic countries. In addition, age groups have also been updated and harmonized with EFSA and IOM/NASEM.
A Physical Activity Level (PAL) of 1.6 is used when calculating AR for nutrients based on energy requirements. For the age groups 1-3 years, 4-10 years and 11-17 years, an average PAL of 1.4, 1.6 and 1.7 were used, respectively (see Reference values for energy intake and Cloetens and Ellegård, 2023).
The background papers on all individual nutrients (see table 6 and 7) have been essential in the assessments described above and have been used as a major source in developing the one-pagers on nutrients and the specific DRVs.
Based on the life-stage specific ARs, the NNR2023 project then calculated corresponding RIs (see Appendix 5 for details). The standard deviation used to calculate RIs is taken from the corresponding source document (Table 6 and 7). When an AR could not be set, a provisional AR was calculated from the corresponding AI.
Finally, standard rounding of all AR, AI, RI and UL values was performed according to the approach used in the source document.
The science advice for specific recommendations to authorities in the Nordic and Baltic countries are formulated in the text and tables below, and build on the detailed considerations described in the nutrient sections later in this report.  

Life-stage groups in NNR2023

Different life-stage groups have been used when setting DRVs by NNR, EFSA and NASEM/IOM, making comparisons and harmonization difficult. Recently, Allen et al. (2020) suggested that life-stage groups should be harmonized according to those used by EFSA. NNR2023 has decided to change the life-stage groups used by the 5th edition of NNR (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2014) and align them with EFSA. Thus, the standard life-stage groups used in NNR2023 are the age groups ≤ 6 months, 7-11 months, 1-3 years, 4-6 years and 7-10 years for infants and children. For females and males, DRVs are individually set for the age groups 11-14 years, 15-17 years, 18-24 years, 25-50 years, 51-70 years and > 70 years. Additionally, DRVs are set for pregnant and lactating women.
DRVs in age groups are often set for a “point age” or as a median age. For example, the point age in the age group 1-3 years is 2 years, while the median in the age group 1.0-3.99 is 2.5 years. In contrast, NNR2023 uses the median as the principle for setting and scaling to different age groups of children and adolescents. In addition to age groups presented in the report, Appendix 6 contains reference weights and DRVs for children and adolescents in 1-year increments.

New DRVs for Nordic and Baltic countries

NNR2023 includes recommended intake ranges for macronutrients, upper or lower threshold levels of certain subcategories, and ARs, AIs, RIs and ULs of essential micronutrients. The macronutrient sub-categories are polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated, and trans-fatty acids, dietary fibre and added and free sugars. 

Reference values for energy intake

Both excessive and insufficient energy intake in relation to energy requirements can lead to negative health consequences in the long term. For adults, an individual’s long-term energy intake and energy expenditure should be equal (Cloetens & Ellegård, 2023).
In Table 8, reference values are given for energy intake in MJ per day for groups of adults with three different physical activity levels (see Appendix 4 and Cloetens & Ellegård (2023) for methodology). An active lifestyle, corresponding to PAL 1.8, is considered desirable for maintaining good health. An activity level of PAL 1.6 is close to the population median and corresponds to a common lifestyle with sedentary work and some increased physical activity level during leisure time. The reference body weights used for the calculations are based on self-reported weights in Nordic populations (Appendix 4). The original weights have been adjusted so that all individuals would have a BMI of 23, as explained above. Therefore, the reference values indicate an energy intake that would maintain normal body weight in adults.
Specific recommendations for energy intake cannot be given due to the large variation among individuals with respect to metabolic rate, body composition and degree of physical activity.
Table 8 Reference values for energy intakes in groups of adults with sedentary and active lifestyles.
Age, years
Reference weight, kg1
BEE, MJ/d2
Low active PAL 1.4, MJ/d
Average PAL 1.6, MJ/d
Active PAL 1.8, MJ/d
FEMALES 
18-24 y
64.2
5.9
8.3
9.4
10.6
25-50 y
64.1
5.7
8
9.0
10.2
51-70 y
62.5
5.2
7.2
8.3
9.3
>70 y
60.6
5.1
7.1
8.2
9.2
Pregnant3 
≤50 y
76.4
6.4
8.9
10.2
11.5
Lactating4
≤50 y
62.4
7.8
10.9
12.5
14.1
MALES
18-24 y
75.2
7.4
10.4
11.8
13.2
25-50 y
74.8
7.1
9.9
11.3
12.7
51-70 y
73.0
6.4
9
10.3
11.6
>70 y
70.6
6.3
8.8
10.1
11.3
1 See Appendix 4 and Cloetens & Ellegård (2023) for sources and methodology as well as reference values per year of age.
2 For corresponding values expressed as kilocalories (kcal)/day, see Appendix 4.
3 Weight gain of 14 kg during pregnancy, assuming a pre-pregnancy BMI of 18.5-24.9
4 Exclusive breastfeeding 0-6 months postpartum
Tables 9 and 10 present reference values for energy intakes in groups of children. It must again be mentioned that individual energy requirements might differ from these group-based average values.
Table 9 Reference values for estimated average daily energy requirements per kg body weight for children 6-12 months, assuming partial breastfeeding.
Age, months
Average daily energy requirements, kJ/kg body weight
 
BOYS
GIRLS
6
339
342
12
337
333
Table 10 Reference values for estimated daily energy requirements (MJ/d) for children and adolescents, 1-17 years.
Age
Reference weight,
kg1
REE, MJ/d2
Estimated energy
requirement, MJ/d3
1-3 y
13.6
3.3
4.6
4-6 y
20.7
4.0
6.3
7-10 y
30.8
4.9
7.8
FEMALES  
11-14 y
46.5
5.4
9.2
15-17 y
57.8
5.9
10.1
MALES 
11-14 y
48.2
6.2
10.5
15-17 y
65.6
7.5
12.7
1 See Appendix 4 and Cloetens & Ellegård (2023) for sources and methodology.
2 For corresponding values expressed as kcal/day, see Appendix 4.
3 PALs (average) for age groups: 1-3 years = 1.4; 4-10 years: 1.6; 11-17 years: 1.7

Recommended intake ranges of macronutrients

Macronutrients are nutrients required in relatively large quantities for energy and to support various bodily functions and overall health. These include proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibre, which in general provide about 17, 37, 17 and 8 kJ/g, respectively. The energy provided vary somewhat among different types of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and fibre (Cloetens & Ellegård, 2023). Alcohol is also an energy-providing nutrient (29 kJ/g), but is not an essential nutrient. The conversion factors for joules and calories are: 1 kJ = 0.239 kcal; and 1 kcal = 4.184 kJ.
Macronutrients can to a certain degree substitute for each other to meet the body’s energy needs. Thus, increasing the proportion of one macronutrient necessitates decreasing the proportion of other macronutrients. In the 3rd edition of NNR, recommendations of intake ranges for adults of fats (25-35 E%), carbohydrates (50-60 E%) and protein (10-20 E%) were included (Sandström, 1996). In the 5th edition of NNR this was updated to 25-40 E%, 45-60 E% and 10-20 E% for fats, carbohydrate and proteins, respectively. The recommendations in NNR2023 are unchanged from the 5th edition of NNR (Box #2).
Box 2: Recommended intake ranges of macronutrients for adults
Fats                                                                                                                           
25-40 E%
Cis-monounsaturated     
10-20 E%
Cis-polyunsaturated            
5-10 E%
Saturated fatty acids
 <10 E%
Carbohydrates1    
45-60 E%
Dietary fibre
≥25-35 g/d
Added and free sugars      
<10 E%
Proteins  
10-20 E%
1Including energy from dietary fibre
These ranges are defined as ranges of intakes (expressed as percentage of total energy) that are associated with low risk of chronic diseases while also providing adequate intake of essential nutrients. The ranges are also based on adequate energy intake and physical activity to maintain energy balance. If an individual consumes below or above these ranges, there is a potential for increasing the risk of a chronic disease, as well as increasing the risk of insufficient intakes of essential nutrients (EFSA, 2010; IOM, 2005; NASEM, 2023).
It is not possible to determine a definitive level of intake range for macronutrients at which chronic diseases may be prevented or may develop. Therefore, the recommended intake ranges of macronutrients should not be considered as an RI that provides a fixed intake level. The ranges are provided to give guidance in dietary assessment and planning by taking into account the role of the total diet for risk of chronic disease.
Evidence supporting these intake ranges is provided in the background reviews on protein (Geirsdóttir & Pajari, 2023), carbohydrates (Sonestedt & Øverby, 2023), dietary fibre (Carlsen & Pajari, 2023) and fatty acids (Retterstøl & Rosqvist, 2023). Besides the proportion of protein, fat and carbohydrates, the importance of the balance of their subcomponents (e.g., unsaturated fatty acids, fibre, amino acids) has gradually become more evident. For protein, an AR and RI is also established to maintain body nitrogen balance and support growth.
The recommended intake ranges for macronutrients vary among age groups (Box #3), and there are also some additional needs for pregnant and lactating women.

Age group up to 2 years of age

Exclusive breastfeeding for about 6 months is advised, with continued breastfeeding parallel to giving complementary foods from that age until 12 months of age, or longer if it suits mother and child. There is strong evidence that the risk of obesity in childhood and adolescence increases with increased protein intake higher than recommended during infancy and early childhood (Hörnell, Lagström, et al. 2013; Arnesen et al. 2022). The protein intake should increase from about 5 E% (the level in breast milk) to the intake range of 10–20 E% for older children and adults (Box #4).
Box 3: Fatty acids (expressed as triglycerides)
  • n-6 fatty acids should contribute at least 4 % of the total energy intake (E%) for children 6–11 months and 3 E % for children 12–23 months of age.
  • n-3 fatty acids should contribute at least 1 E% for children 6–11 months and 0.5 E% for children 12–23 months.
  • During the first year, the intake of trans fatty acids should be kept as low as possible.
  • From 12 months, the recommendation on saturated and trans fatty acids for older children and adults should be used.
Box 4: Recommended intake of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins
Expressed as percent of total energy intake (E%) for children 6–23 months1
Age                                                                      
E%
6–11 months
Protein   
7–15
Fat
30–45
Carbohydrates2
45–60
12–23 months
Protein     
10–15
Fat  
30–403
Carbohydrates2
45–60

Avoid foods and beverages with added and free sugars for children below two years.
For young children it is advisable not to exceed a range of 10-15 E% of protein intake.
1 Because exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants <6 months, no recommendations for fat, protein, or carbohydrate intakes are given for this age group. For non-breastfed infants, it is recommended that the values for infant formula given in the EC legislation (REGULATION (EC) No 1243/2008 and Directive 2006/141/EC) is used.
2 including energy from dietary fibre
3 Cis-monounsaturated and cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids should together constitute at least two thirds of the total fat intake.

Age groups 2 years and older

Fatty acids
Partly replacing saturated fatty acids with cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids and cis-monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid) from vegetable dietary sources (e.g., olive or rapeseed oils) is an effective way of lowering the serum LDL-cholesterol concentration. Replacement of saturated or trans-fatty acids with cis-polyunsaturated or cis-monounsaturated fatty acids also decreases the LDL/HDL-cholesterol ratio. Replacing saturated and trans-fatty acids with cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, and replacement of saturated and trans-fatty acids with cis-monounsaturated fatty acids from vegetable sources (e.g., olive or rapeseed oils) has a similar effect (Box #5).
Box 5: Fatty acids (expressed as triglycerides)
  • Intake of cis-monounsaturated fatty acids should be 10-20 E%.
  • Intake of cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids should be 5–10 E%. N-3 fatty acids should provide at least 1 E%.
  • Cis-monounsaturated and cis-polyunsaturated fatty acids should constitute at least two thirds of the total fatty acids in the diet.
  • Intake of saturated fatty acids should be limited to less than 10 E%.
  • Intake of trans-fatty acids should be kept as low as possible.
  • The total fat recommendation is 25–40 E% and is based on the recommended ranges for different fatty acid categories.
  • Linoleic (n-6) and alpha-linolenic (n-3) acids are essential fatty acids and should contribute at least 3 E%, including at least 0.5 E% as alpha-linolenic acid.
  • For pregnant and lactating women, the essential fatty acids should contribute at least 5 E%, including 1 E% from n-3 fatty acids of which 200 mg/d should be docosahexaenoic acid, DHA (22:6 n-3).
Even though total fat intake varies widely, population and intervention studies indicate that the risk of atherosclerosis can remain quite low as long as the balance between unsaturated and saturated fatty acids is favourable (Retterstøl and Rosqvist, 2023). The recommended range for the total amount of fat is 25–40 E% based on the sum of the ranges of the recommendations for individual fatty acid categories.
For the intake of total fat, a suitable target for dietary planning is 32–33 E%.
At total fat intakes below 20 E%, it is difficult to ensure sufficient intake of fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. A reduction of total fat intake below 25 E% is not generally recommended because very low-fat diets tend to reduce HDL-cholesterol and increase triglyceride concentrations in serum and to impair glucose tolerance, particularly in susceptible individuals (Retterstøl and Rosqvist, 2023).
Carbohydrates and dietary fibre
Health effects of dietary carbohydrates are related to the type of carbohydrate and the food source. Carbohydrates found in whole-grain cereals, whole fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds are recommended as the major sources of carbohydrates. Total carbohydrate intake in studies on dietary patterns associated with reduced risk of chronic diseases are in the range of 45–60 E% (including energy from dietary fibre). A reasonable range of total carbohydrate intake is dependent on several factors such as the quality of the dietary sources of carbohydrates and the amount and quality of fatty acids in the diet.
Just like the importance of the quality of fat, it is equally important to pay attention to the quality of carbohydrates and the amount of dietary fibre. The recommendations for dietary fibre and carbohydrates (with low intakes of added and free sugars) should be achieved through an ample supply of plant-based foods (Sonestedt and Øverby, 2023).
Box 6: Dietary fibre
  • Adults: At least 3  g/MJ. Based on the reference energy intake, this corresponds to at least 25 g/d for females and 35 g/d for males.
  • Children: An intake corresponding to 2-3 g/MJ or more is appropriate for children from 2 years of age. From school age, the intake should gradually increase to reach the recommended adult level during adolescence.
An adequate intake of dietary fibre reduces the risk of constipation and contributes to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and several other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, fibre-rich foods help maintain a healthy body weight. Intake of appropriate amounts of dietary fibre from a variety of foods is also important for children.
For dietary planning purposes, a suitable target is at least 3 g/MJ from natural fibre-rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains, fruits and berries, pulses, nuts and seeds (Box #6).
Box 7: Added and free sugars
  • Intake of added and free sugars should be below 10 E%, and preferentially lower
Restricting the intake of added and free sugars is important to ensure adequate intakes of micronutrients and dietary fibre (nutrient density) as well as to support a healthy dietary pattern. This is especially important for children and persons with a low energy intake. Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited due to their association with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and excessive weight gain. Frequent consumption of foods with added and free sugars should be avoided to reduce the risk of dental caries. The recommended upper threshold for added and free sugars is also compatible with the food-based recommendation to limit the intake of sugar-rich beverages and foods. Higher consumption of added and free sugars contributes to a negative environmental impact (Box #7).  
The recommended range for the total amount of carbohydrate is 45–60 E%. For dietary planning purposes, a suitable target for the amount of dietary carbohydrate is 52–53 E%.
Proteins
In order to achieve an optimal intake in a varied diet according to Nordic dietary habits, a reasonable range for protein intake is 10–20 E% (Box #8 and Table 11). This intake of protein should adequately meet the requirements for essential amino acids.
Box 8: Protein
  • AR and RI for adults are 0.66 and 0.83 g/kg, body weight, respectively (both males and females) (Table 11).
  • Adults and children from 2 years of age: Protein should provide 10–20% of the total energy intake (E%).
  • With decreasing energy intake (below 8 MJ/d) the protein E% should be increased accordingly.
  • Dietary proteins of animal origin or a combination of plant proteins from, for example, legumes and cereal grains, give a good distribution of indispensable amino acids.
Table 11 Average requirements and recommended intakes of protein by life stage
Age group
AR
g/kg
RI
g/kg
≤6 mo
 
 
7-11 mo
1.04
1.23
CHILDREN  
1-3 y
0.82
1.05
4-6 y
0.70
0.86
7-10 y
0.75
0.91
FEMALES 
11-14 y
0.72
0.88
15-17 y
0.68
0.84
18-24 y
0.66
0.83
25-50 y
0.66
0.83
51-70 y
0.66
0.83
>70 y
0.66
0.83
Pregnant
add 0.5/7.2/23 g/d¹
add 1/9/28 g/d¹
Lactating
add 10/15 g/d²
add 13/19 g/d²
MALES 
11-14 y
0.74
0.9
15-17 y
0.71
0.87
18-24 y
0.66
0.83
25-50 y
0.66
0.83
51-70 y
0.66
0.83
>70 y
0.66
0.83
Adapted from EFSA (2012a)
¹ Pregnancy: Additional protein requirement per trimester.
² Lactation: Additional protein requirement for 0-6 months and >6 months postpartum.
For planning purposes, 15 E% protein can be recommended.
The AR and RI for both sexes, which is based on nitrogen balance, is the same for older adults (>70 years of age). The available evidence in qSRs is not sufficient to increase the AR for protein intake in older adults. However, for food planning purposes a suitable target for the amount of protein for a group of older adults intake should be 18 E% which may be higher than the RI. This corresponds to about 1.2 g protein per kg body weight per day for prevention of declined physical functioning (Geirsdóttir & Pajari, 2023).
Alcohol
Based on the overall evidence, it is recommended to avoid alcohol intake. If alcohol is consumed, the intake should be very low. Alcohol is not an essential nutrient, and from a nutritional point of view, energy contribution from a high intake of alcoholic beverages negatively affects diet quality. Based on this and new systematic reviews and recommendations, and that no threshold for safe level of alcohol consumption has currently been established for human health, the NNR2023 recommends avoidance from alcohol. For children, adolescents and pregnant women abstinence from alcohol is recommended. The consumption of alcoholic beverages contributes to a negative environmental impact.  

Recommended intake of micronutrients

RI (Table 12) and AI (Table 13) for vitamins, RI (Table 14) and AI (Table 15) for minerals, expressed as average daily intakes over time, are given below. The values for RIs are intended mainly for planning diets for groups of individuals of the specified age intervals and sex. The values include a safety margin accounting for variations in the requirement of the group of individuals and are set to cover the requirements of 97.5% of the group. An alternative way to plan a diet is to use the requirements in combination with the distribution of reported or usual intakes for the specific nutrients (Murphy et al. 2021).
Table 12 RI for vitamins – all life-stage groups
Age group
Vita­min A
RE2
Vita­min D
µg3
Thia­min
mg/MJ
Riobo­flavin
mg
Niacin
NE/MJ4
Vita­min B6
mg
Folate
µg
Vita­min C
mg
≤6 mo1
 
 
 
0.3
 
0.1
64
307
7-11 mo
250
10
0.1
0.45
1.6
0.45
90
307
CHILDREN 
1-3 y
300
10
0.1
0.6
1.6
0.6
120
25
4-6 y
350
10
0.1
0.7
1.6
0.7
140
35
7-10 y
450
10
0.1
1.0
1.6
1.0
200
55
FEMALES
11-14 y
650
10
0.1
1.4
1.6
1.3
280
75
15-17 y
650
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.5
310
90
18-24 y
700
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.6
3306
95
25-50 y
700
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.6
3306
95
51-70 y
700
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.6
330
95
>70 y
650
208
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.6
330
95
Preg­nant
750
10
0.1
1.9
1.6
1.9
6006
105
Lactat­ing
1400
10
0.1
2.0
1.6
1.7
490
155
MALES 
11-14 y
700
10
0.1
1.3
1.6
1.5
260
80
15-17 y
750
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.8
320
105
18-24 y
800
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.8
330
110
25-50 y
800
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.8
330
110
51-70 y
800
10
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.8
330
110
>70 y
750
208
0.1
1.6
1.6
1.7
330
110
1 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are based on estimated intake from human milk. These values represent an AI.
2 RE = Retinol equivalents (1 RE = 1 μg retinol = 2 μg of supplemental β-carotene, 6 μg of dietary β-carotene, or 12 μg other dietary provitamin A carotenoids, e.g., α-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin).
3 From 1-2 weeks of age, infants should receive 10 µg vitamin D3 per day as a supplement. For people with little or no sun exposure, an intake of 20 µg/d is recommended.
4 NE = Niacin equivalent (1 NE = 1 mg niacin = 60 mg tryptophan).
5 Extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months. These values represent an AI.
6 Values for pregnant women represent an AI. Most national authorities in the Nordic and Baltic countries recommend supplement of 400µg/d in addition to dietary intake for women in fertile age from planned pregnancy and throughout the first trimester.
7 AI, set to 3 times the intake known to prevent scurvy in infants. These values represent an AI.
8 For age group 75 years and older.
Table 13 Adequate intake1 for vitamins – all life-stage groups
Age
group
Vitamin E
α-TE4
Vitamin K
µg5
Pantothenic acid
mg
Biotin
µg
Vitamin B12
µg
Choline
mg
≤6 mo2
4
 
2
4
0.4
120
7-11 mo
53
10
33
53
1.5
1703
CHILDREN
1-3 y
7
15
4
20
1.5
150
4-6 y
8
20
4
25
1.7
170
7-10 y
9
30
4
25
2.5
250
FEMALES 
11-14 y
10
45
5
35
3.5
350
15-17 y
11
60
5
35
4
390
18-24 y
10
65
5
40
4
400
25-50 y
10
65
5
40
4
400
51-70 y
9
60
5
40
4
400
>70 y
9
60
5
40
4
400
Pregnant
11
80
5
40
4.5
480
Lactating
12
65
7
45
5.5
520
MALES 
11-14 y
11
50
5
35
3
330
15-17 y
12
65
5
35
4
400
18-24 y
11
75
5
40
4
400
25-50 y
11
75
5
40
4
400
51-70 y
11
70
5
40
4
400
>70 y
11
70
5
40
4
400
1Adequate intake based on observed intakes in healthy people or approximations from experimental studies, used when an RI cannot be determined.
2 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are based on estimated intake from human milk.
3 Extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months.
4 Assuming a PUFA intake of 5 % of energy intake. α-TE = α-tocopherol equivalents (i.e., 1 mg RRR α-tocopherol).
5 1 µg/kg body weight.
Table 14 RI for minerals – all life-stage groups
Age group
Calcium
mg
Iron
mg2
Zinc
mg2
Copper
µg
≤6 mo1
120
 
 
200
7-11 mo
3103
10
3.0
2203
CHILDREN 
1-3 y
450
7
4.5
340
4-6 y
800
7
5.8
400
7-10 y
800
9
7.7
570
FEMALES
11-14 y
11504
135,6
10.8
780
15-17 y
11504
156
12.2
880
18-24 y
1000
156
9.7
900
25-50 y
950
156
9.7
900
51-70 y
950
87
9.5
900
>70 y
950
7
9.3
900
Pregnant
950
268
11.3
1000
Lactating
950
15
12.6
1300
MALES 
11-14 y
11504
11
11.1
740
15-17 y
11504
11
14.0
900
18-24 y
1000
9
12.7
900
25-50 y
950
9
12.7
900
51-70 y
950
9
12.4
900
>70 y
950
9
12.1
900
1 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are AIs based on estimated intake from human milk.
2 Assuming a mixed animal/vegetable diet with a phytic acid intake of about 600 mg/d.
3 AI, extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months. These values represent an AI.
4 Average of females and males applied for age 11–17 y.
5If menstruating: 15 mg.
6 If large menstruation bleedings, screening of iron status and supplementation as indicated.
7 If still menstruating, the RI for 25–50 y (15 mg/d) should be used.
 8 Screening of iron status and supplementation if indicated is recommended.
Table 15 Adequate intake1 for minerals – all life-stage groups
Age group
Phos­phorus
mg3
Potas­sium
mg
Magne­sium
mg
Iodine
µg
Sele­nium
µg
Fluoride
mg6
Manga­nese
mg
Molyb-denum
µg
≤6 mo2
 
400
25
80-905
10
 
12 µg
 
7-11 mo
170
700
804
80-905
204
0.4
0.02-0.57
10
CHILDREN 
1-3 y
250
850
170
100
20
0.7
0.5
15
4-6 y
440
1150
230
100
25
1.0
1
20
7-10 y
440
1800
230
100
40
1.5
1.5
30
FEMALES 
11-14 y
640
2400
250
120
60
2.3
2
50
15-17 y
640
2850
250
120
70
2.9
3
60
18-24 y
550
3500
300
150
75
3.2
3
65
25-50 y
520
3500
300
150
75
3.2
3
65
51-70 y
520
3500
300
150
75
3.1
3
65
>70 y
520
3500
300
150
75
3.0
3
65
Preg­nant
530
3500
300
200
90
3.1
3
70
Lactat­ing
530
3500
300
200
85
3.1
3
65
MALES
11-14 y
640
2550
300
130
65
2.4
2
45
15-17 y
640
3400
300
140
85
3.3
2.5
60
18-24 y
550
3500
350
150
90
3.8
3
65
25-50 y
520
3500
350
150
90
3.7
3
65
51-70 y
520
3500
350
150
90
3.7
3
65
>70 y
520
3500
350
150
85
3.5
3
65
1 Adequate intake based on observed intakes in healthy people or approximations from experimental studies, used when an RI cannot be determined.
2 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are AIs based on estimated intake from human milk.
3 Assuming the RI of calcium is consumed.
4 Extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months.
5 The AI for iodine in infants < 1 y is presented as a range with 80 µg/d in iodine sufficient populations and 90 µg/d in populations with mild to moderate iodine deficiency. The WHO recommends 90 µg/d for all infants.
6 Based on an adequate intake of 0.05 mg/kg bodyweight, using population reference weights. For pregnant and lactating women, this refers to pre-pregnancy weight.
7 Range based on upwards extrapolation from intake of infants 0-6 months, the mean of observed intakes and downwards extrapolation from adult AI.
Sodium as salt
In the U.S., the AI for sodium reference level of sodium intake (adequate intake) for adults was set to 1.5 g/d due to limited evidence of health effects of sodium intake at lower levels. It was advised to reduce the intake if above 2.3 g/d (NASEM, 2019). There is strong evidence to aim for a reduction of sodium intake in the Nordic and Baltic populations (Jula, 2023). Reductions in sodium intakes that exceed the chronic disease risk reduction (CDRR) of 2.3 g/d are expected to reduce chronic disease risk within the general population.
  • NNR2023 adapts the reasoning from NASEM to recommend limiting intake of sodium to 2.3 g/d in adults (Table 16), which corresponds to 5.75 g of salt/d.
Table 16 Chronic disease risk reduction intake  of sodium – all life-stage groups1.
Age group
Sodium, g
≤6 mo2
0.11
7-11 mo
0.373
CHILDREN
1-3 y
1.1
4-6 y
1.4
7-10 y
1.7
FEMALES 
11-14 y
2.0
15-17 y
2.3
18-24 y
2.3
25-50 y
2.3
51-70 y
2.3
>70 y
2.3
Pregnant
2.3
Lactating
2.3
MALES 
11-14 y
2.0
15-17 y
2.3
18-24 y
2.3
25-50 y
2.3
51-70 y
2.3
>70 y
2.3
1 Values for children and adolescents 11–14 years old are extrapolated from adults based on energy intake (NASEM, 2019).
2 Values for infants 0-6 months are derived from estimated intake from human milk.
3 Estimated intake from breastmilk (70 mg/d) and complementary foods (300 mg/d) (NASEM, 2019)
Dietary supplements
Prolonged intakes of nutrients from supplements have generally not been associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases or other health benefits in healthy individuals eating a varied diet that covers their energy requirements. In contrast, there is a large body of evidence suggesting that elevated intakes of certain supplements, mainly vitamins with antioxidative properties, might increase the risk of certain adverse health effects, including mortality. Thus, there is no scientific justification for using supplements as a means for adjusting an unbalanced diet. Few exceptions for ensuring optimal intake are vitamin D supplementation for infants, pre-pregnant, pregnant and lactating women and elderly people, as well as folic acid supplementation for women aiming for pregnancy until the end of pregnancy week 12. Extensive dietary restrictions for health or ideological reasons, e.g., veganism, or use of certain medications often lead to the need for dietary supplements. For example, vitamin B12 supplementation is necessary when foods of animal origin are excluded from the diet, and folic acid supplementation is necessary with medication with properties of folate antagonism. 
An energy intake of 6.5–8 MJ is considered a low-energy intake with an increased risk of an insufficient intake of micronutrients. A very low energy intake is defined as an energy intake below 6.5 MJ/d and is associated with a considerable risk of an insufficient intake of micronutrients.  A very low energy intake may be related to either a very low physical activity level, low body weight or low small muscle mass and, therefore, to low energy expenditure. Very low energy intakes are found among persons on weight reduction diets, among persons with eating disorders, food intolerances and some other diseases or conditions. Such diets should be tailored according to individual needs under supervision from health professionals.

Reference values (AR and provisional AR) for assessing nutrient intakes in dietary surveys

Vitamins and minerals

Assessing nutrient adequacy
AR and provisional AR for vitamins and minerals are presented in Table 17-20. The values are intended for use in assessing results from dietary surveys. Before comparing intake data with these reference values, it is crucial to check whether the intake data derived from a particular survey are suitable for assessing adequacy. Assessments based on provisional ARs should take into account the higher uncertainty and the tendency to be higher than the AR values, and for some nutrients relationship to energy intake may be included in the assessment. More guidance on this topic and on how to use DRVs can be found in Trolle et al (Trolle, in press).
The AR is the value that should be used to assess the risk for inadequate intake of micronutrients in a certain group of individuals. The percentage of the individuals that has an intake below the AR is related to the proportion that have an increased risk of inadequate intake. AR values are also used as a tool when planning adequate diets for groups of people.
Table 17 Average requirements of vitamins.
Age group
Vita­min A
RE2
Vita­min D
µg
Thia­min
mg/MJ
Riobo­flavin
mg
Niacin
NE/MJ3
Vita­min B6
mg
Folate
µg
Vita­min C
mg
≤6 mo1
 
 
 
0.2
 
0.1
50
256
7-11 mo
200
7.5
0.07
0.34
1.3
0.34
704
256
CHILDREN 
1-3 y
240
7.5
0.07
0.5
1.3
0.5
90
20
4-6 y
270
7.5
0.07
0.6
1.3
0.6
110
30
7-10 y
340
7.5
0.07
0.8
1.3
0.9
160
45
FEMALES 
11-14 y
490
7.5
0.07
1.2
1.3
1.1
220
60
15-17 y
500
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.3
240
75
18-24 y
540
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.3
250
75
25-50 y
540
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.3
250
75
51-70 y
530
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.3
250
75
>70 y
510
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.3
250
75
Preg­nant
590
7.5
0.07
1.6
1.3
1.5
4805
75
Lactat­ing
1060
7.5
0.07
1.6
1.3
1.4
380
75
MALES 
11-14 y
520
7.5
0.07
1.1
1.3
1.2
200
65
15-17 y
600
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.5
250
85
18-24 y
630
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.5
250
90
25-50 y
630
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.5
250
90
51-70 y
610
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.5
250
90
>70 y
590
7.5
0.07
1.3
1.3
1.5
250
90
1 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are provisional AR based on estimated intake from human milk.
2 RE = Retinol equivalents (1 RE = 1 μg retinol = 2 μg of supplemental β-carotene, 6 μg of dietary β-carotene, or 12 μg other dietary provitamin A carotenoids (e.g., α-carotene and β-cryptoxanthin).
3 NE = Niacin equivalent (1 NE = 1 mg niacin = 60 mg tryptophan).
4 Provisional AR, extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months.
5  Provisional AR based on adequate intake (AI). Most national authorities in the Nordic and Baltic countries recommend supplement of 400µg/d in addition to dietary intake for women in fertile age from planned pregnancy and throughout the first trimester.
6 Provisional AR based on AI set to 3 times the intake known to prevent scurvy in infants.
Table 18 Provisional average requirements of vitamins1.
Age
group
Vitamin E
α-TE4
Vitamin K
µg
Pan­tothenic acid
mg
Biotin
µg
Vitamin B12
µg
Choline
mg
≤6 mo2
3
 
1.6
3
0.3
96
7-11 mo
43
5
2.23
43
1.1
1343
CHILDREN 
1-3 y
6
10
3.2
16
1.2
119
4-6 y
7
15
3.2
20
1.4
139
7-10 y
7
25
3.2
20
2
199
FEMALES 
11-14 y
8
35
4
28
2.8
276
15-17 y
9
45
4
28
3.1
310
18-24 y
8
50
4
32
3.2
320
25-50 y
8
50
4
32
3.2
320
51-70 y
8
50
4
32
3.2
320
>70 y
8
50
4
32
3.2
320
Pregnant
9
60
4
32
3.6
381
Lactating
10
50
5.6
35
4.2
416
MALES 
11-14 y
9
40
4
28
2.6
259
15-17 y
10
50
4
28
3.2
318
18-24 y
9
60
4
32
3.2
320
25-50 y
9
60
4
32
3.2
320
51-70 y
9
60
4
32
3.2
320
>70 y
9
55
4
32
3.2
320
1 Provisional average requirement (AR) calculated as 0.8 times the provisional recommended intake, assuming a CV of 12.5 %. This likely overestimates the true AR.
2 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are provisional AR based on estimated intake from human milk.
3 Extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months
4 Assuming a PUFA intake of 5% of energy intake. α-TE = α-tocopherol equivalents (i.e., 1 mg RRR α-tocopherol).
Table 19 Average requirements of minerals.
Age group
Calcium
mg
Copper
µg
Iron
mg2
Zinc
mg2
≤6 mo1
96
160
 
 
7-11 mo
2503
1803
8
2.5
CHILDREN 
1-3 y
400
260
6
3.8
4-6 y
700
300
5
4.8
7-10 y
675
440
7
6.4
FEMALES 
11-14 y
9804
600
10
9.0
15-17 y
9804
680
9
10.2
18-24 y
870
700
9
8.1
25-50 y
750
700
9
8.1
51-70 y
750
700
6
7.9
>70 y
750
700
6
7.7
Pregnant
800
800
20
9.4
Lactating
800
1000
9
10.5
MALES 
11-14 y
9804
570
9
9.2
15-17 y
9804
700
9
11.7
18-24 y
870
700
7
10.6
25-50 y
750
700
7
10.6
51-70 y
750
700
7
10.4
>70 y
750
700
7
10.1
1 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are provisional AR based on estimated intake from human milk.
2 Assuming a mixed animal/vegetable diet with a phytic acid intake of about 600 mg/d.
3 Provisional AR, extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months.
4 Average of physiological requirements for females and males 11–14 and 15–17 years of age.
Table 20 Provisional average requirements of minerals1.
Age group
Phos­phorus
mg3
Potas­sium
mg
Magne­sium
mg
Iodine
µg
Sele­nium
µg
Fluoride
mg4
Manga­nese
mg
Molyb­denum
µg
≤6 mo2
 
320
20
64-72
10
 
9.6 µg
 
7-11 mo
140
600
645
64-72
155
0.4
0.02-0.46
7
CHILDREN 
1-3 y
200
700
136
80
15
0.5
0.5
10
4-6 y
350
900
184
80
20
0.8
0.7
16
7-10 y
350
1450
184
80
35
1.2
1.1
24
FEMALES 
11-14 y
510
1900
200
100
50
1.9
1.8
38
15-17 y
510
2250
200
100
55
2.3
2.2
48
18-24 y
440
2800
240
120
60
2.6
2.4
52
25-50 y
420
2800
240
120
60
2.6
2.4
52
51-70 y
420
2800
240
120
60
2.5
2.4
52
>70 y
420
2800
240
120
60
2.4
2.4
52
Preg­nant
430
2800
240
160
75
2.5
2.5
55
Lactat­ing
430
2800
240
160
70
2.5
2.3
51
MALES 
11-14 y
510
2050
240
100
50
1.9
1.6
34
15-17 y
510
2700
240
110
70
2.6
2.1
46
18-24 y
440
2800
280
120
70
3.0
2.4
52
25-50 y
420
2800
280
120
70
3.0
2.4
52
51-70 y
420
2800
280
120
70
2.9
2.4
52
>70 y
420
2800
280
120
70
2.8
2.4
52
1 Provisional average requirement (AR) is calculated as 0.8 times the adequate intake (AI), assuming a CV of 12.5%. This likely overestimates the true AR.
2 Exclusive breastfeeding is the preferable source of nutrition for infants during the first six months of life. Values for infants 0-6 months are provisional AR based on estimated intake from human milk (except for iodine).
3 Assuming the recommended intake (RI) of calcium is consumed.
4 Based on an adequate intake of 0.05 mg/kg bodyweight, using population reference weights. For pregnant and lactating women, this refers to pre-pregnancy weight.
5 Extrapolated from exclusively breast-fed infants 0-6 months.
6 Range based on upwards extrapolation from intake of infants 0-6 months, the mean of observed intakes and downwards extrapolation from adult AI.
Tolerable upper intake level
For some nutrients, high intakes can cause adverse or even toxic symptoms. Tolerable upper intake levels (ULs) have been established for some nutrients (Table 21). For certain nutrients, especially preformed vitamin A (retinol), vitamin D, iron, and iodine, prolonged intakes above these levels can lead to an increased risk of toxic effects. For other nutrients the adverse effects might be different and milder, e.g., gastrointestinal problems or interference with the utilization of other nutrients. The ULs are not recommended levels of intake, but rather maximum levels of usual intakes judged to be unlikely to pose a risk of adverse health effects in humans. The ULs are derived for the general population, and values are given for adults. For other life stages, such as infants and children, specific data might exist for deriving specific values or such values could be extrapolated.
To establish whether a population is at risk for adverse effects, the fraction of the population exceeding the UL and the magnitude and duration of the excessive intake should be determined. There is a substantial uncertainty behind several of the ULs, and they must be used with caution on an individual basis. UL values do not necessarily apply in cases of prescribed supplementation under medical supervision.
The ULs are primarily based on the considerations in NNR2012. If EFSA has set an UL for a nutrient not covered by NNR2012, or the EFSA assessment is more recent, the EFSA values have been used. The footnotes to Table 21 indicate whether the ULs are based on NNR2012, EFSA or both. 
Boron is a trace element that is naturally present in many foods and available in dietary supplements. While boron is not classified as an essential nutrient for humans, it may have adverse effects in high doses (EFSA, 2018). For boron, the most recent value from EFSA is included in Table 21 despite that this nutrient has not been assessed in any background paper in NNR2023.
Table 21 Tolerable upper intake levels of vitamins and minerals for adults.
 
 
UL per day
Boron1
mg/d
10
Calcium1,2
mg/d
2500
Copper2
mg/d
5
Iodine 1,2
μg/d
600
Iron3
mg/d
 60
 
Magnesium1,4
mg/d
250
Molybdenum1
mg/d
0.6
Phosphorus2
mg/d
3000
Selenium5
μg/d
255
Zinc1,2
mg/d
25
Fluoride1
mg/d
7
Folic acid (synthetic)1,2
μg/d
1000
Nicotinamide1,2
mg/d
900
Nicotinic acid1,2
mg/d
10
Vitamin A1,2,6
μg RE/d
3000
Vitamin B67
mg/d
12
Vitamin D1,2
μg/d
100
Vitamin E1,2
mg/d
300
1 Based on EFSA (2018)
2 Based on NNR2012
3Background paper on Iron (Domellöf & Sjöberg, 2023)
4 Readily dissociable magnesium salts (e.g. chloride, sulphate, aspartate, and lactate) and compounds like magnesium oxide (MgO) in food supplements, water or added to foods; does not include magnesium naturally present in foods and beverages.
5 EFSA (2023b)
6 Retinol and retinyl esters
7 EFSA (2023a)

Comparison between RI set by NNR2023 and NNR2012

Since all DRVs have been recalculated in NNR2023, we have compared the RI values with the corresponding values set by NNR2012. Some important differences are due to the most recent principles used by EFSA or NASEM, such as updated weight curves and life-stage groups in the new edition of NNR and change from RI to AI for some nutrients when a formal AR and RI cannot be defined due to insufficient evidence. The AI can be used in line with traditional RI values. However, the uncertainty in the AI values is larger than in the RI.  Comparisons between the AI in NNR2023 previous RI in NNR2012 should therefore be done with care. An AI will usually be higher than an RI derived from average requirement (AR), but it does not necessarily imply evidence for an actual increase in the physiological requirement from those of the previous editions of NNR.
As shown in Table 22, for some nutrients, an RI in NNR2012 has been changed to AI in NNR2023 due to updated evidence or improved methodology. For eight nutrients (vitamin K, biotin, pantothenic acid, choline, sodium, manganese, molybdenum, and fluoride), which were not set in NNR2012, a new AI has been set in NNR2023.
For most nutrients, there are only minor changes, despite the comprehensive recalculations in NNR2023. The changes can often be attributed to updated methodology (see Table 2 and 3) and the new reference weights used in NNR2023.
For more details on the calculations and life-stage groups, please refer to the nutrient sections later in the report, the corresponding background papers, and Appendix 5.
Table 22 Comparison between RI and AI set by NNR2023 (25-50 years) and NNR2012 (31-60 years). AI is shown in italics
 
NNR2023
NNR2012
Comments
 
RI or AI
RI
 
 
FEMALES
MALES
FEMALES
MALES
 
Vitamin A, RE
700
800
700
900
 
Vitamin D, µg
10
10
10
10
 
Vitamin E, α-TE
10
11
8
10
AI in NNR2023
Vitamin K, µg
65
75
ND
ND
AI  in NNR2023
Thiamin, mg
0.9
1.1
1.1
1.3
 
Riboflavin, mg
1.6
1.6
1.3
1.6
 
Niacin, NE
14
18
14
18
 
Vitamin B6, mg
1.6
1.8
1.2
1.5
 
Folate, µg
330
330
300
300
 
Vitamin B12, µg
4
4
2
2
AI in NNR2023
Biotin, µg
40
40
ND
ND
AI in NNR2023
Pantothenic acid, mg
5
5
ND
ND
AI in NNR2023
Choline, mg
400
400
ND
ND
AI in NNR2023
Vitamin C, mg
95
110
75
75
 
Calcium, mg
950
950
800
800
 
Phosphorus, mg
520
520
600
600
AI in NNR2023
Magnesium, mg
300
350
280
350
AI in NNR2023
Sodium, g
1.5
1.5
ND
ND
AI in NNR2023
Potassium, g
3.5
3.5
3.1
3.5
AI in NNR2023
Iron, mg
15
9
15
9
 
Zinc, mg
9.7
12.7
7
9
 
Iodine, µg
150
150
150
150
AI in NNR2023
Selenium, µg
75
90
50
60
AI in NNR2023
Copper, µg
900
900
900
900
 
Manganese, mg
3
3
ND
ND
AI in NNR2023
Molybdenum, µg
65
65
ND
ND
AI in NNR2023
Fluoride, µg
3.2
3.7
ND
ND
AI in NNR2023

Comparison between AR in NNR2023 and NNR2012, and comparison with national mean intake data

We have also compared the recalculated AR values with the corresponding values set by NNR2012, and national representative intake data for the Nordic and Baltic countries (Table 23).
First, for the nine micronutrients vitamin K, biotin, pantothenic acid, choline, magnesium, potassium, manganese, molybdenum and fluoride, which did not have ARs in NNR2012, provisional ARs have been defined. Second, for the five micronutrients vitamin E, vitamin B12, phosphorus, iodine and selenium, which all had ARs in NNR2012, the values have been changed to provisional ARs. The arguments for setting these provisional ARs are related to the harmonized methodologies utilized in NNR2023 and the updated scientific evidence. The arguments are clearly stated in each of the nutrient summaries in this report.
Nine of the ARs and provisional AR values, for the age group 25-50 years, in NNR2023 have increased by 20% or more compared to the corresponding AR values in NNR2012. All other values were within ± 20% of the NNR2012 AR values. The reasons for these increases have been discussed above, and in the corresponding nutrient summaries.
When comparing the ARs and the provisional AR values with national representative intake data in the Nordic countries (Lemming & Pitsi, 2022) we observed that the mean intake data for vitamin D, vitamin E, potassium and selenium were lower in one or more of the Nordic countries. In one or more of the Baltic countries, national representative intake data (Lemming & Pitsi, 2022) for vitamin D, vitamin E, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, potassium, iodine and selenium were lower than the corresponding ARs or provisional AR values.
In the comparisons, we have only used  data for adults (i.e., the age group 25-50 years in NNR2023 and the age group 31-60 years in NNR2012). National authorities in countries where representative intake data for nutrients are lower than the ARs or provisional ARs should consider further investigations of nutrient status in specific risk groups before implementation of carefully planned nutritional interventions or programs to improve the respective nutrient intake. In such considerations, care should be taken  to also include the uncertainties in the assessment of nutrient intakes, including distribution of intake, and the uncertainty in the provisional AR values. Especially, an intake lower than the provisional AR on group level does not necessarily point to inadequacy. Similar assessments may also be performed for other life-stage groups.
Table 23 Comparison between AR and provisional AR set by NNR2023 (25-50 yrs) and NNR2012 (31-60 yrs), and national intake data.
 
Range of mean intakes in
Range of mean intakes in
NNR2023
NNR2012
Comments
 
Nordic countries
Baltic countries
AR and provisional AR
AR
 
 
FEMALES
MALES
FEMALES
MALES
FEMALES
MALES
FEMALES
MALES
 
Vitamin A, RE
747-1110
812-1556
666-942
666-1155
540
630
500
600
 
Vitamin D, µg
4.3-10.0
5.3-11.0
4.3-9.1
5.5-7.2
7.5
7.5
7.5
7.5
 
Vitamin E, α-TE
8.8-11.7
9.5-13.2
7.8-12.9
9.4-14.9
8
9
5
6
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Vitamin K, µg
NA
NA
NA
NA
50
60
ND
ND
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Thiamin, mg
1.1-1.4
1.4-1.9
0.8-1.3
1.1-1.4
0.7
0.8
0.9
1.2
 
Riboflavin, mg
1.4-1.6
1.7-2.1
1.0-1.2
1.2-1.4
1.3
1.3
1.1
1.4
 
Niacin, NE
29-32
39-41
12.7-23.7
13.1-32.9
12
15
12
15
 
Vitamin B6, mg
1.4-1.8
1.8-2.3
1.2-1.715
1.5-1.9
1.3
1.5
1.1
1.3
 
Folate, µg
222-329
247-370
164-216
198-383
250
250
200
200
 
Vitamin B12, µg
4.9-6.0
6.0-8.9
2.9-5.8
3.3-8.0
3.2
3.2
1.4
1.4
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Biotin, µg
NA
NA
NA
NA
32
32
ND
ND
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Pantothenic acid, mg
NA
NA
NA
NA
4
4
ND
ND
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Choline, mg
NA
NA
NA
NA
320
320
ND
ND
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Vitamin C, mg
96-115
93-113
69-132
72-116
75
90
50
60
 
Calcium, mg
811-1038
945-1188
546-659
660-768
750
750
500
500
 
Phosphorus, mg
1242-1384
1541-1788
867-1061
1186-1392
420
420
450
450
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Magnesium, mg
263-346
335-439
277-295
331-349
240
280
ND
ND
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Potassium, g
2.6-3.4
3.4-4.2
2.4-3.0
2.9-3.8
2.8
2.8
ND
ND
Provisional AR in NNR2023
Iron, mg
9.4-10.0
11-13
9.6-13.0
12.3-14.5
9
7
10
7
 
Zinc, mg
8.8-10.5
12.4-14.1