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The origin of Guideline Daily Amounts and the Food Standards Agency's guidance on what counts as ‘a lot’ and ‘a little’

  • Mike Rayner (a1), Peter Scarborough (a1) and Carol Williams (a2)
Abstract
AbstractObjective:

This paper provides the rationale for the Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) for fat, saturated fat and other nutrients that appear on food labels in the UK. These GDAs are provided voluntarily by manufacturers and retailers and were developed to help people make better use of nutrition labelling – the format of which is prescribed by the European Union's nutrition labelling directive. The paper also describes the basis to some Rules of Thumb for what counts as ‘a lot’ or ‘a little’ of fat, saturated fat and other nutrients, in an individual food.

Design:

The paper gives the background to, and purpose of, the GDAs and Rules of Thumb and explains how they were calculated. It briefly describes their subsequent usage by food producers and others.

Results:

Both GDAs and the Rules of Thumb first appeared in a leaflet developed by the authors and published in 1996 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. GDAs for fat, saturated fat and energy were adopted subsequently by the Institute of Grocery Distribution and then by many retailers and some manufacturers. The Rules of Thumb for fat, saturated fat, sugar and sodium have recently been republished in some leaflets published by the Food Standards Agency in the UK.

Conclusions:

GDAs and Rules of Thumb may provide useful ways of helping consumers make sense of nutrition labelling. The current GDAs and the Rules of Thumb could usefully be updated in the light of recent developments.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email Mike.Rayner@dphpc.ox.ac.uk
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

6 M Rayner , A Boaz , C Higginson . Consumer use of healthrelatedendorsements on food labels in the UK and Australia. Journal of Nutrition Education 2001; 33: 2430.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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