Dietary Reference Intakes for the macronutrients and energy: considerations for physical activity

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2006 Feb;31(1):74-9. doi: 10.1139/h05-022.


The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) are the North American reference standards for nutrients in the diets of healthy individuals. The macronutrient DRI report includes the standards for energy, fat and fatty acids, carbohydrate and fiber, and protein and amino acids. Equations used to identify the Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) were also developed based on individual characteristics including levels of physical activity. The DRIs for the macronutrients are presented as Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) or Adequate Intakes (AIs), as well as Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDRs), and were arrived at by considering both nutrient inadequacies and excesses. In addition, recommendations are made that would reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as setting intake limits for added sugar; reducing cholesterol, saturated, and trans fatty acids consumption; and increasing levels of physical activity. As healthy individuals include those engaged in various levels of physical activity, the DRIs should apply to the athlete and address their macronutrient and energy needs. This paper summarizes the macronutrient DRI report as applied to the adult, with discussion of the dietary needs of those engaged in various levels of physical activity, including the athlete.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Energy Intake*
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity*
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Reference Standards


  • Amino Acids
  • Dietary Proteins