Voedingsnormen voor energie
Image: ©Unsplash

Dietary reference values for energy

The Health Council of the Netherlands has revised the dietary reference values for energy, otherwise known as the reference values for daily calorie intake. The Council’s reference values distinguish between age groups, men and women, and different levels of physical activity. They also specify the additional energy requirement in each trimester for pregnant women and for women who are breastfeeding. The dietary reference values are based largely on the values published by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and are adjusted to the average height and weight of the Dutch population.

The energy requirement differs widely from person to person. Age, height, weight and physical activity pattern are major influencing factors. For this reason, the average energy requirement is only suitable for applications at group level, such as the public education on nutrition provided by the Netherlands Nutrition Centre, and not for application to individuals. In its advisory report, the Council suggests that dieticians estimate an individual’s energy requirement when issuing dietary advice.

The Council recommends that research be carried out into the extent to which underweight, overweight, certain diseases and/or medicine use influence the energy requirement. Little is currently known about the impact of these factors. Dietary reference values are based on healthy individuals with a healthy weight. However, many people are overweight and/or suffer from chronic diseases.