Calories In Food: The Right Number to Eat

Calories In Food

Whenever we think of calories, we visualize the amount of fat in a food. But in dietary terms, calories are the energy source offered by food. Consuming certain calories can help you maintain a healthy weight. According to the research, following a balanced diet and consuming the right calories can improve your health and extend your life.

You must know the established calorie intake recommendations to determine what calories you should consume daily. Your body and health goals can determine the right calorie intake based on the following factors.

Keeping track of your daily calorie intake is easy with these tips.

How To Decide Your Calorie Intake?

You need to take various aspects into account when calculating how many calories you should consume each day, including:

  • Age:  growing children and teenagers may require more energy.
  • Lifestyle: how active you are is part of your lifestyle.
  • Size: Your height and weight can affect your energy consumption.

The amount of energy you burn can also be affected by other factors such as:

  • Hormones: For instance, thyroid hormones.
  • Some medicines: Like glucocorticoids, steroid drugs are used to treat inflammation.
  • Illness: Having a health problem.

It is easier to monitor your daily calorie consumption when you know how many calories are in your meals. These figures can help you choose what to consume and what to preserve for later.

Many online platforms allow you to keep track of your calories in food. This way, you’ll be able to figure out how many calories your favorite food contains.

If you are uncertain how many calories you should consume, you can use your BMR to calculate it.

What is BMR?

BMR means Basal metabolic rate. In other words, it is the number of calories needed to carry out your body’s most basic functions to maintain life. It can help you gain, lose, or maintain weight.

When you know how many calories you burn, you know how many you need to consume. It’s as simple as this:

  • To maintain weight, you should consume the same calories as you burn.
  • If you want to gain weight, you should exceed the number of calories you burn.
  • To lose weight, you should consume fewer calories than you burn.

How To Calculate BMR?

By using the Harris-Benedict formula, which takes into account weight, height, age, and gender, you may determine your BMR.

For instance, in women:

  • A BMR for women is equal to 655
  • Add (9.6 multiplied by the weight in kg)
  • Add (1.8 multiplied by height in cm)
  • Subtract (4.7 multiplied by the age in years)

BMR = 655 + (9.6 × weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)

Similarly, in men:

  • A BMR for men is equal to 66
  • Add (13.7 multiplied by the weight in kgs)
  • Add (5 multiplied by the height in cm)
  • Subtract (6.8 multiplied by the age in years)

BMR = 66 + (13.7 × weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)

Once you have calculated an accurate BMR with the help of this formula, you need to add your daily calorie burn as per your daily activity.

The final number will estimate how many calories you need daily to maintain weight.

How Many Calories Should You Take On Average?

A person who consistently consumes more energy can put on weight. In the same way, if they consume too little energy, they will lose fat and energy.

To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories or exercising more than you normally do.

But remember that a drastic calorie cut has several serious side effects and increases your risk of nutritional deficiencies. Additionally, it results in metabolic changes that make long-term weight maintenance challenging.

As recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture’s 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should be aware of your daily calorie consumption.

Average Calorie Intake for Men

The calorie requirements of men can adapt to many factors.

According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men aged 19–30 should consume 2,400 to 3,000 calories daily to maintain a healthy weight.

As they age, their energy needs decrease. When they are 31 to 59, men need about 2,200 to 3,000 calories daily to remain healthy.

The daily calorie requirement for men aged 60 and older is 2,000 to 2,600.

Some men may need more calories if they are very active or suffer from certain health conditions.

Average Calorie Intake for Women

The average woman aged 19 to 30 needs about 2,000 to 2,400 calories daily to maintain weight.

The energy requirements of women aged 31 to 59 are slightly lower. The average woman of this age group should consume 1,800 to 2,200 calories daily to maintain healthy body composition.

Women aged 60 or above should consume 1,600 to 2,000 calories daily, which is typically sufficient to maintain weight.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women will need more calories than these estimates, as they will need more energy.

Average Calorie Intake for Children

The calorie needs of children can differ significantly based on their body mass, age, and activity level.

Children and teens require different amounts of energy based on sex and age. It is estimated that a three-year-old child should consume only 1,200 calories, whereas a teen might require around 3,000.

It’s important to remember that developing children and adolescents typically don’t need to count calories. Reduced calorie consumption can increase the risk of nutritional deficiencies, obstruct growth, and contribute to food addiction or eating disorders.

Rather than counting calories, encourage eating healthy, rich-in-nutrient foods. You can also cook for them at home, give them homemade treats, and encourage physical activity in your kids. 

How Many Calories Should You Take To Lose Weight?

If weight loss is your goal, your recommended daily calorie intake should reflect a calorie deficit. Dietary strategies that can help you lose weight include:

  • Consuming more protein
  • Intake of refined carbohydrates should be reduced
  • Sugar consumption should be reduced
  • Moderate consumption of healthy fats
  • Avoiding sweetened beverages and drinking more water

Consuming fewer calories than your body needs can create a calorie deficit. Exercise can also help you burn extra calories. The combination of both (a balanced diet and exercise) is a healthy weight loss strategy.

How Many Calories Should You take To Gain Weight?

To gain weight, you must consume more calories than you burn daily. Follow a few simple guidelines to make this gain healthy.

  • Consume high-quality foods high in calories, such as meats and grains high in protein and fat.
  • Make your morning oatmeal more filling by adding nuts.
  • Take nutrient-rich shakes.
  • Make strength training part of your exercise routine. 


A smart way to manage your weight is to determine the optimal amount of calories you should consume; this, in turn, manages your weight. Keeping an eye on your weight is important to your health, but focusing too much on calories can signal a diet culture problem or a concern with eating disorders.

Therefore, Instead of solely paying attention to calories, you should follow a balanced diet full of nutritious and whole foods. Doing this ensures you get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs to retain weight and remain healthy.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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