Do different nutrients scale with calorie intake?


As in, if my daily calorie intake is 2,500 instead of 2,000, would 2,300mg of sodium still be 100% daily value for me or would it be more?

Sorry if this is a simple question and thanks in advance.

In: 8

Roughly speaking, yes. However this may change depending on which specific vitamin/mineral you’re talking about and what its role in the body is. Generally those roles will scale with metabolism though, so caloric intake is a good rule of thumb


It depends. Honestly, the %DV numbers already depend on a lot of factors.

Basically, for a normal day, whatever number of calories is normal for you, you would want a similar scale of nutrients. If 2500 calories is normal, you want 125%DV of the other nutrients.

If there’s a day where you need more calories (say, you’re running a marathon), you would want to scale your calorie, water, and electrolyte intake accordingly, but you wouldn’t need other nutrients in the same amounts.

Going by weight instead is easier. You need about 7g of micros per day^1. Thats about one spoonful of something. So the bulk of what we need by weight is always kcal, not micros.

You’ll pee out the rest, as while food marketing will often say ‘nutrient dense’ having a house ‘rich with refrigerators’ is pointless past the first. And we can store heaps of micros.


Dietitian here. Micros don’t always scale. If you eat a lot of highly processed foods you will scale on sodium, but not a great deal of other micronutrients unless fortification is part of the processing.

In terms of requirements they are based on old studies working out deficiency levels. The RDI/RDA/RNI (different terms, different countries) or ADI (acceptable daily intake) are two terms you will see on nutrient allowances.

They work out the mean intake for deficiency, then use the 99th centile of that value of the recommended intake. In theory it’s not enough for 1% of the population. In reality it’s probably enough to prevent frank deficiency in most.

Gender, age and reproduction all affect requirements.

So women have a higher iron need because they lose it in menstruation.
Pregnancy really ramps up need because you want to have good stores for when the embryo’s tissues demand certain nutrients so there are stores to cover until weaning.
With breastfeeding calcium requirement jumps.
Once menopause happens the calcium requirement is higher.
There are some other oddities such as having to be careful with Vitamin A intake in early pregnancy. High levels cause birth defects.

Sodium level is an ADI and we know that it meets minimum requirements and is at a level that isn’t promoting heart disease.