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DRI Calculator

Created by Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Anna Szczepanek, PhD and Adena Benn
Based on research by
U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th edition;; December 2020
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


The DRI calculator is the ultimate way to compute all the necessary macro-, micronutrition, and vitamins needed in your daily menu.

🥦 Looking for ways to improve your diet? Our daily nutritional requirements tool will supply you with an overview of your caloric needs, adequate to your level of activity and eventual status of pregnancy or lactation.

Dietary reference intake or daily recommended intake? Keep on reading to discover what are your target vitamin levels and how many grams of proteins per day is enough.

Don't forget to visit the vitamin calculator and the protein calculator for a dose of specific knowledge on these subjects!

What is DRI?

DRI stands for the dietary reference intake, sometimes incorrectly called the daily recommended intake. National Academy introduced the DRIs in 1997 - they serve as a source of multiple daily nutritional requirements in both the US and Canada. To put it simply, the DRIs tell us how much water, calories, macronutrients, and vitamins a given person should consume daily - the entire estimation is based on sex, age, and activity level. 🚴

The professionals may use the DRI recommendations to create diets for people in different public institutions, such as hospitals, schools, or prisons. They're also helpful for companies coming up with new foods or dietary supplements.

We can distinguish a few different types of recommendations:

  • Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) - can statistically satisfy the needs of 50% of people in a given group;
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) - satisfy the needs of 97.5% of people in a given group; (we base our DRI-RDA calculator mostly on these)
  • Adequate Intake (AI) - for less precise estimation;
  • Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) - ranges written in percentages, helpful in calculating protein needs and estimating the amount of fats or carbohydrates a given person should consume.

How to calculate DRI?

In order to calculate your daily nutrition, we need to know a few things:

  1. Your daily caloric needs.
    The amount of calories you should consume daily, multiplied by your activity level allows us to:
    • Calculate your protein intake
      10-30% of total calories (for adults)
    • Amount of fats -
      20-35% of total calories (for adults)
    • Consumption of carbohydrates
      45-65% of total calories
    • Recommended water intake
      1 kcal = 1 mL
    • Number of grams of fiber
      Fiber = (kcal/1000) × 14

💡 To calculate the total calories, our DRI calculator uses the BMR Mifflin St Jeor Equation. The formula calls for your weight, height, age, and sex.

  1. Your DRI category.

Our DRI calculator divides the population into multiple groups based on sex, age, and the presence or absence of pregnancy or lactation. We took these populations from the Recommended Dietary References tables published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The given category allows us to discover:

With all this knowledge combined, our DRI calculator for healthcare professionals can be easily used by everyone who's willing to improve their nutrition score.

How do I calculate my protein intake?

To calculate your protein needs, follow these few simple steps:

  1. Compute your total caloric needs.

    Use one of the BMR equations, e.g., Mifflin - St Jeor formula.

  2. Find your age group and the recommended percentage in the table below:

Choose lower/ upper range or both.

Age

Proteins

0-3 years

5-20%

>3 years

10-30%

  1. Calculate the amount of calories.

    Proteins (calories) = (Total calories × Recommended percentage) / 100

  2. Calculate the amount of grams.

    Proteins (grams) = Proteins (calories) / 4

  3. That's it! You're all done. 🎉

How to calculate the adequate intake of fats?

It's not that difficult - we have four extra steps in front of us:

  1. Compute your total caloric needs.

    Use one of the BMR equations, e.g., Mifflin - St Jeor formula.

  2. Find your age group and the recommended percentage in the table below:

Choose lower/ upper range or both.

Age

Fat

0-3 years

30-40%

4-18 years

25-35%

>18 years

20-35%

  1. Calculate the number of calories.

    Fat (calories) = (Total calories × Recommended percentage) / 100

  2. Calculate the amount of grams.

    Fat (grams) = Fat (calories) / 9

  3. Wow! You've done it! 🎉

How do I calculate the adequate intake of carbs for my children?

Let's do it together:

  1. Compute their total caloric needs.

    Use one of the BMR equations, e.g., Mifflin - St Jeor formula.

  2. Calculate the number of calories.

    Recommended amount of carbohydrates in our diet equals 45-65%. You may want to find out the lower, higher threshold, or both.

    Carbs (calories) = (Total calories × Recommended percentage) / 100

  3. Calculate the amount of grams.

    Carbs (grams) = Carbs (calories) / 4

  4. That was simple, wasn't it? 🎉

How do I calculate my adequate intake of iron?

To find the daily recommended intake of iron, we need to use one of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) tables of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Age

Male

Female

Birth to 6 months

0.27 mg

0.27 mg

7–12 months

11 mg

11 mg

1–3 years

7 mg

7 mg

4–8 years

10 mg

10 mg

9–13 years

8 mg

8 mg

14–18 years

11 mg

15 mg

19–50 years

8 mg

18 mg

51+ years

8 mg

8 mg

🤰 These amounts are a bit different for pregnant or lactating women:

Age

Pregnant

Lactating

14–18 years

27 mg

10 mg

19–50 years

27 mg

9 mg

FAQ

What is the recommended daily intake for carbohydrates?

The recommended daily intake of carbs is usually 45-65% of the total calories. You can calculate yours by following the steps below:

  1. Compute your total caloric needs using one of the basal metabolic rate (BMR) equations (e.g., Mifflin - St Jeor formula).

  2. Calculate the number of calories using:

    Carbs (calories) = (Total calories × Recommended percentage) / 100

  3. Calculate the amount of grams using:

    Carbs (grams) = Carbs (calories) / 4

What is the carbs intake for an active woman weighing 120 pounds?

270-389 grams of carbs intake. To calculate it, you need to consider the person's age, weight, height, and activity factor. Considering this woman is 20 years old, her height is 5' 4", and she exercises five times/week, her total daily calorie requirement is 2396, and her recommended carbs intake is 270-389 grams.

What is the protein intake for a man weighting 150 pounds?

52-155 grams of protein intake. To calculate the protein intake, you need to consider the person's age, weight, height, and activity factor. Let's say this man is 30 years old, his height is 5' 7", and he doesn't exercise. Using our calculator, you will find that this man's total daily calorie requirement is 2063, and his protein intake should be between 52 and 155g.

How do I increase my protein intake?

To increase your protein intake, you should:

  • Use different protein sources from animals and plants, such as beans, peanuts, soybeans, nuts, spinach, broccoli, etc;
  • Plan your meals in advance;
  • Bet on practical protein snacks; and
  • Use supplements.
Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
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