How Many Calories Do You Need?
The answer to how many calories you need depends on several factors, including your:
- Current weight
- Activity level
On average, men need 2,000-3000 calories, while women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories daily to maintain their body weight.
However, the recommended daily calorie intake does not work since everyone has different/unique requirements. This is where the calorie calculator comes in.
How do I calculate my calorie intake?
The simplest way to calculate your calorie intake is to use a calorie calculator, which you can access above.
In addition to the calories, this calculator also calculates the macros, activity levels, nutrients, and BMI giving you everything you need to achieve your ideal weight.
This innovative calculator is based on three of the most trusted formulas health industry professionals use. These are the following:
- Harris-Benedict Equation
- Mifflin-St Jeor Equation
- World Health Organization
To use this calorie calculator, follow the steps below:
- Choose the preferred unit system – imperial or metric.
- Next, choose the estimate of calories formula you want to use from the three given options.
- Select your gender – male or female.
- Next, input your age, current weight, and height.
- Choose your activity level – sedentary, light, moderate, active, very active, and extra active.
- Next, choose your goal – maintain weight, weight loss, extreme weight loss, weight gain, fast weight gain.
Calorie Counting as a Means to lose weight
If losing weight is your primary fitness goal, calorie counting is a great way to achieve your dreams. Here’s how to get started.
Know your BMR
The first step before you start counting your calories is to determine your BMR, which will help you sustainably lose weight. Katch-McArdle Formula is the most reliable formula for determining the BMR or basal metabolic rate.
Choose a realistic weight loss goal
Theoretically, creating a 500 daily calorie deficit relative to your BMR is required to lose 1lb or 0.45 kg of your body weight in a week.
Generally speaking, losing more than 2 lbs of body fat in a week is not recommended or healthy for long-term weight loss attempts.
But if you are adamant about shedding more than 2 lbs of weight every week, you should proceed in consultation with a registered dietician or a nutritionist.
Track your calorie deficient/weight loss journey
Tracking your weight loss/calorie deficit is another important step for a sustainable weight loss program. You can do so through online health trackers and apps available on desktops and smartphones.
Most of these online apps also have calorie estimates for brand-name food, making it easy to keep track of calories while eating at restaurants.
A calorie-tracking app should be an indispensable part of every effective weight-loss method.
Be realistic with your expectations
Expecting your weight to drop overnight is neither healthy nor sustainable, and so is measuring your waist or weighing yourself daily.
Consider measuring/weighing yourself once a week rather than daily. Weighing/measuring yourself under consistent conditions – before and after food, is also a good idea to keep your weight loss journey achievable.
No single weight loss plan or weight management works for all, but consistency is key, so if you keep at it, surely you will achieve your target weight.
Calories: Different Kinds and Their Effects
Proteins, carbs, and fats contribute the most calories to a healthy diet. Alcohol also contributes a significant amount of calorie content in the case of people who drink.
Below is the effect of the food groups on your body.
One gram of fat has 9 calories, almost twice the number in the same amount of carbohydrates. Regarding nutrition labels, fats are also known as lipids and are chemically made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Fats have the highest calorie levels because of their high hydrogen levels.
Effects: The human body needs healthy fats to protect internal organs, maintain energy, and support cell growth. But excess saturated fat in the diet can lead to several health issues, including clogged arteries and heart disease.
Carbs yield 4 calories for every gram; sugar and starch are the main components. Chemically, carbs are also made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, but the number of hydrogen is less, meaning that it has fewer calories than fats.
Effects: A calorie surplus through a rich-carb diet will destroy all approaches to weight loss. So not only will you gain weight, but a poor metabolic rate can affect your cardiovascular health.
Similar to carbs, one gram of protein is worth 4 calories. In addition to carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, proteins contain nitrogen and sulfur.
Effects: Proteins are primarily responsible for muscle growth, repair, and maintenance, but exceeding calorie recommendations with excess protein can also cause negative effects on health, including weight gain.
Alcohol is not a common food item in the meal plans of most people, but when it is included, it can quickly make you cross the daily calorie requirements.
Just one gram of alcohol has 7 calories, and it can add up fast since it is liquid and don’t provide feelings of fullness.
Effects: Regular alcohol consumption causes several harmful effects on the body, including cancer, high blood pressure, loss of memory, and digestive and cardiovascular problems.
The calories in common foods
|Fruits and vegetables||Calories per 1 cup|
|Proteins||Calories per 2 oz|
Calories Burned from Exercises
Calories burned from exercises by a typical person of 125 lb in 30 minutes, according to Harvard health publications, are:
- Weightlifting – 90
- Yoga – 120
- Aerobics – 165
- Cycling – 210
- Circuit training – 240
- Rigorous cycling – 315
The minimum daily calorie intake
The minimum daily calorie intake, according to Healthline, looks like this:
- 19 to 30 – 2,000 to 3,000
- 31 to 59 – 1,800 to 2,200
- 60 and above – 1,600 to 2,000
- 19 to 30 – 2,400 to 3,000
- 31 to 59 – 2,200 to 3,000
- 60 and above – 2,000 to 2,600
How should I track and count my calories?
For tracking and counting calories, a reliable calorie counter app is one of the best ways to do it. The apps are available online, so you can install them on your phone and track the calories without complications.
What is the best app for tracking daily calories?
Narrowing down a single calorie tracking app is impossible because there are so many options on the market. Among the top ones for keeping track of your daily calorie level in your foods are MyFitnessPal, FatSecret, Cronometer, and Lose It!
Do I need to count calories to lose weight?
If your goal of achieving a healthy weight is losing some pounds, then yes, counting calories is required. This will allow you to be active in daily calorie reduction to stay on track in the weight loss journey.
How to reduce your calorie intake
Below are the ways to consider so your calories per day will be reduced.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: They have low calories but rich nutrients and fiber and provide feelings of satiety.
- Avoid processed foods: They contain high levels of sugar and unhealthy fats.
- Drink plenty of water: It has zero calories but provides feelings of fullness, so you eat less.
- Cut down on sugar-sweetened beverages: They are loaded with excess calories.
- Practice portion control: Smaller portions mean fewer calories.
- Choose lean proteins: Lean proteins in a balanced diet will easily meet your calories per week requirements,
- Get moving: Daily walking, jogging, or any type of physical activity will greatly help your weight loss goals.
Negatives of Skipping Calorie Tracking
- Eating excess
- Calorie surplus
- Following fad diets
- Weight gain
Frequently asked questions
What happens when calories are too low?
If the daily calories are too low, it can cause negative health issues, including loss of muscle mass, weak immune system, and fatigue.
Is 1500 calories a day good?
If your health goals are focused on losing weight, 1500 calories in a day work for most people.
How many calories should you eat to gain muscle?
To gain muscle mass, you should increase your daily calories by a few hundred. But you should consult a certified nutrition specialist to increase your food intake based on your health conditions, body composition, and whether you do intense exercise.
How many calories should you eat to gain weight?
To gain weight, you need a calorie surplus but make sure they are coming from natural ingredients and organic animal sources.