Guideline Daily Amount
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United Kingdom and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) are a nutrition facts label that originally began in 1998 as a collaboration between the UK government, the food industry and consumer organizations. The process was overseen by the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD). To help consumers make sense of the nutrition information provided on food labels, they translate science into consumer friendly information, providing guidelines on pack that help consumers 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, total sugars, and sodium/salt. The GDA labels have the percentage of daily value per serving and the absolute amount per serving of these categories. The front-of-packages (FOP) GDAs must at least have calories listed, but the back-of-package (BOP) GDAs must list, at a minimum, these five.
GDAs have recently[when?] been introduced by many larger corporations into the main continent of Europe and the US, since this introduction into the world outside the UK there has been controversy on what the GDAs actually show, for example, calculating a personal GDA, which is dependent on a person's height, weight, amount of daily activity and age, an intake rating which is about 5-10% above what that person should actually be eating and drinking. When calculating the GDAs the CIAA uses the average caloric intake needed for women because this best fits the needs of the majority of the population. Women need, on average, between 1800-2200 calories a day whereas children need between 1500-2000 and men 2200-2700. In March 2009, the European Food Safety Authority published its opinion on intake levels for Europe and they were consistent with numbers behind the GDAs developed in the UK.
Moreover, not all categories are equal. While a GDA for calorific intake might represent a broad target in so far as people need to take in a minimum of calories to survive, the GDA for saturated fat is not a target, as ingesting no saturated fats at all would not be harmful to health, so long as there were fats of a non-saturated variety in the diet.
GDAs are now in widespread use across the food industry and appear both on the front and back of food packaging.