The FDA arrived at 2,000 using surveys of how much food people consumed per day, Dr. Quebbemann says. This ranged anywhere from 1,600 calories to 3,000 calories. It averaged the data and came up with a single number, which was… not 2,000. The FDA initially proposed setting the daily value at 2,350 calories, which gives you at least an extra snack, but decided on lowering the amount to 2,000 after asking for public comments and deciding that anything above 2,000 might encourage people to overeat. Which probably isn't a bad assumption, knowing Americans, even though going down to 2,000 is a significant reduction.
"It's a bit like measuring the weight of everyone in America, determining the healthy weight of all adults in the United States averaged over the entire population and across the sexes and ethnic groups, and then saying that a healthy person in the USA 'should weigh' the average weight," Dr. Quebbemann says. Which sounds like a terrible idea, but an interesting premise for the next dystopian YA franchise.