Dietary Reference Values (DRVs)
A balanced diet is very important for one’s body, and is defined as that diet which provides adequate amounts of nutrients and energy for health and well-being. Dietary reference Values are set of nutrient recommendations that are comprised of estimates of the amount of nutrients and energy needed by the population of healthy people in the United Kingdom. There are several uses of these estimates. However, Dietary Reference Values (DRVs) shows some limitations.
The main purpose of DRVs is to guide people other than offering recommendations. For any nation to have healthy people, it should make sure that they are well versed with what they should include in their diets. With DRVs, different groups of people can know what they need to include in their diets. This is a very important factor in the health sector. It reduces medical bills since it ensures that the whole population in healthy and free from diseases. Chronic diseases such as cancer and blood pressure can be avoided if one eats healthy. This means that if middle-aged people follow DRVs, infections of such diseases will go down.
The second use of DRVs is to determine optical amount of nutrients needed in the body. According to a study done by (Ross et. al 2011, pp.55) nutritional requirements vary with age, gender, and physical characteristics of the body. The study points the importance of understanding one’s nutritional requirement. DRVs help people know the optimal amount of nutrients based on their age, gender and body characteristics. For example, DRVs point out that women of child bearing age require more iron than men. If such studies were not available, it would be very hard for one to determine the amount of nutrients required by his/her body.
DRVs help people understand particular functions of nutrients in their bodies. This eliminates diseases such as obesity, which is brought about by too much consumption of fats. When people are well informed about the role of nutrients in their bodies, they will always make informed decisions when preparing their meals. Some nutrients are needed in larger quantities while others are needed in small quantities. DRVs state the quantities in grams, milligrams or micrograms. DRVs show that vitamin C is needed in milligram quantities while proteins are needed in gram quantities. This knowledge helps nutritionists to know what a person lacks before administering their prescriptions (Hoey et.al. 2013, pp.105).
DRVs have certain limitations. First, they are complex and can only be interpreted by a health professional. This means that when a lay person is left on his or her own, he/she can take undesirable amounts of nutrients due to misinterpretation of the diet tables, and this is likely to affect that person negatively. It can lead to diseases such as obesity or malnutrition. The other problem associated with DRVs is that some people may view them as recommendations, but in actual sense they are not. DRVs should only be used as guidelines and requires interpretation by professionals. Thus, they function like dietary advice. Population Reference Intake may yield undesirable advice to the population because people are not identical. Thus, having a fixed value for the whole population may mislead some people. People are affected differently by different factors of the environment. When coming up with population reference Intake, individual factors ought to be taken into consideration (Manson, 2011, pp.525).
Hoey, L., McNulty, H., Duffy, M. E., Hughes, C. F., & Strain, J. J. (2013), ‘EURRECA—Estimating folate requirements for deriving dietary reference values’, Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, vol.53, no.10, pp.104-105.
Manson, J. E., (2011), ‘The 2011 Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium and Vitamin D: what dietetics practitioners need to know,’ Journal of the American Dietetic Association, vol.111, no.4, pp. 524-527.
Ross, A. C., Manson, J. E., Abrams, S. A., Aloia, J. F., Brannon, P. M., Clinton, S. K., … & Shapses, S. A. (2011), ‘The 2011 report on dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D from the Institute of Medicine: what clinicians need to know’, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, vol.96. , no.1, pp.53-58.