Some nutrients have an AI rather than an EAR. Based on guidance from the report Dietary Reference Intakes: Applications in Dietary Planning (IOM, 2003), the committee assumed that a low prevalence of inadequacy would result if the median of the usual intake distribution was at least equal to the AI. Thus, for five nutrients with an AI (calcium, potassium, fiber, linoleic acid, and α-linolenic acid), the TMI was set at the AI. As was done with the EARs, weighted averages were used for the AIs for age groups 2–4 and 5–10 years. Although the derivation of the AI differs substantially among these nutrients and among different age-gender groups, the AI is still the most appropriate type of DRI to use to set the TMI.
Sodium The approach used to address sodium did not involve setting a TMI. Instead, the committee agreed to set maximum daily targets for sodium that are based on the age-specific ULs. This decision was made for several reasons. The NHANES (2003–2004) data demonstrated that the AIs for sodium are substantially lower than what children and adults consume, on average. Recognizing that sodium intake in the United States far exceeds the AI and also the UL, the sodium recommendation in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (HHS/USDA, 2005) is 2.3 g per day—the value of the UL for persons 14 years and older. (The ULs for children younger than 14 years are slightly lower than 2.3 g per day.) Basing the sodium target on the UL rather than the AI is more consistent with achieving meals that are palatable and thus acceptable. For sodium, the goal would be to reduce the median intake to the UL.
Vitamin D A TMI was not set for vitamin D (which has an AI) because of a lack of reliable data on the vitamin D content of foods and on vitamin D intakes. Furthermore, vitamin D sources are highly variable and not under the control of CACFP providers.
Limiting the intakes of saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fat helps support healthful levels of blood lipids. Avoiding excessive total fat intake also helps control saturated fat intake and helps avoid the intake of excessive calories. On the other hand, moderate intake of healthy fats (unsaturated vegetable oils, soft margarine, nuts, and seeds) helps ensure adequate intake of vitamin E and essential fatty acids, helps support a normal pattern of growth, and may help avoid undesirable changes in blood lipids (HHS/USDA, 2005).