How many calories to eat to lose weight
But how do you know for sure how many calories a day you get, and how many you “burn”?A calorie is a unit of measurement of the energy value of foods. We are talking about the amount of thermal energy that the body produces when digesting food. Kilocalories (kcal) are traditionally used to denote it. How do scientists calculate the energy value of certain foods? They burn them in special devices and measure the amount of heat that is released during this. Sealed chambers also measure the heat generated by a person, thanks to which one can judge the physiological energy value of food. There are different approaches to weight control. One of the most effective is to count calories. In short, you need to expend more energy than you consume to lose weight. For this, calculation systems have been developed. To calculate the calorie content of the diet, you need to know the weight of each serving, and keep a food diary. From the habit, it may seem complicated and burdensome, but you will quickly get used to it. Moreover, special applications for smartphones make the task easier.
Daily calorie intake for an adult
How many calories you need to consume per day depends on many factors, including age, weight, height, gender, health status, and lifestyle. Doctors estimate the recommended caloric intake differently. The British National Health Service called these figures:
- 2,500 kilocalories – the average norm for men per day;
- 2,000 kilocalories is the average for women.
One kilocalorie is a thousand calories. These figures reflect the number of calories needed to maintain a stable body weight. These numbers should not be guided by if you plan to lose weight, but they are important to consider in order to clearly understand your own physiological needs. However, there are other recommendations, for example, American researchers offer a different norm:
- 2,700 kcal per day – for men;
- 2200 kcal – for women.
At the same time, the UN claims that the average person needs at least 1,800 kcal per day. Please note that this is a minimum, and not the optimal number of calories according to UN experts. At the same time, the British National Health Service recommends paying attention not only to the calorie content of food, but also to its quality and variety, and not to neglect physical activity. Israeli scientists insist that a hearty breakfast of up to 700 kcal helps maintain a healthy body weight and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
However, all these figures are approximate. And to calculate how many calories per day you personally need, you will have to use special formulas.
How to calculate your daily calorie intake
There are several approaches to calculating the optimal caloric content of the diet. Doctors most often recommend the so-called Harris-Benedict equation, which allows you to estimate the basal metabolic rate, or BMR, and with it, the need for energy. Using this formula, you can calculate how many calories you need to keep your weight stable:
- for adult men: 66.5 + (13.75 × weight in kg) + (5.003 × height in cm) – (6.755 × age);
- for adult women: 55.1 + (9.563 × weight in kg) + (1.850 × height in cm) – (4.676 × age).
The resulting figure is the number of calories that you burn per day at rest. The formula does not take into account physical activity, which must be taken into account, as well as the ratio of fat and muscle tissue. Whereas with the same weight, a person with developed muscles will expend more energy in comparison with someone who has a significant percentage of weight is adipose tissue.
To take into account the level of physical activity, the figure obtained in the calculations must be multiplied by a special coefficient:
- 1.2 – sedentary lifestyle;
- 1,375 – light exercise 1-3 times a week;
- 1.55 – moderate exercise 1-3 times a week;
- 1,725 - intense exercise 6-7 times a week;
- 1.9 – hard training twice a day.
Only after multiplying BMR by a factor do we get the approximate number of calories that you should consume per day in order to maintain body weight unchanged. Keep in mind that excessively addicted to reducing the calorie content of the diet is dangerous for health, since approximately 20% of all energy is consumed by the brain. A lot of calories are also required in order to maintain the functioning of internal organs and systems.
However, there is another approach to calorie intake. Some doctors offer such average daily energy requirements:
- For women leading a sedentary lifestyle: 2000 kcal – at the age of 19-25 years, 1800 kcal – 26-50 years old, 1600 kcal – over 50 years old.
- For ladies who perform light exercise up to three times a week: 2200 kcal – at the age of 19-50 years, 1800 kcal – over 50 years.
- For ladies who lead an active lifestyle, regularly involved in sports: 2400 kcal – at the age of 19-25 years, 2200 kcal – from 25 to 50 years old, 1800 kcal – over 50 years old.
- For men leading a sedentary lifestyle: 2400 kcal – aged 19-30 years, 2200 kcal – from 31 to 50 years old, 2000 kcal – over fifty.
- With moderate physical exertion: 2600 kcal – at the age of 19 to 30 years old, 2400 kcal – from 31 to 50 years old, 2200 – over 51 years old.
- With an active lifestyle: 3000 kcal – from 19 to 30 years old, 2800 kcal – from 31 to 50 years old, 2400 kcal – over 51 years old.
Calculating the number of calories for weight loss
To lose weight, you need to eat some calories than you expend. It is not difficult to understand exactly how many calories should be in the daily diet: you need to reduce the rate of energy value of food. If you at least several times a week, but regularly train, go in for sports, it is enough to reduce the caloric content of the diet by 10%. That is, if you have calculated that your physiological norm, taking into account your lifestyle, is 1800 calories, then for weight loss you need to cut your daily diet to 1680 kcal.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and physical activity is an exception to the rule for you, you will have to take 20% of calories from your daily menu. Then, with a physiological norm of 1800 kcal, you will need to eat only 1440 kcal per day to reduce weight.
Drastic dietary cuts of more than 20% pose health risks. But if you are obese and tend to overeat, your doctor may recommend a 40% reduction in your diet. But not from the physiological norm, but from the number of calories that you are used to eating every day.
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An easy way to balance your diet for weight loss
Calorie calculation requires habit and knowledge of the energy value of different foods. It is important not only to adhere to the daily norm, but also not to forget about the quality of the products. Because 500 kcal of fresh vegetables are healthier than 500 kcal of sweets and fast food. You do not have to weigh the products yourself and make a menu for the week: we offer ready-made balanced meals for the amount of kcal you need. It is not only healthy, but also tasty, which means that there will be no temptation to eat too high-calorie foods.