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[Guide] How Many Calories Should You Be Consuming?

Daily calorie intake is the largest predictor of overweight and obesity. If you currently consume more calories than you should, you’re not alone. In the U.S., people’s daily calorie intake is higher than what they need. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that around 72 percent of men and 64 percent of women are classified as overweight or obese.

Wondering how many calories you should be consuming everyday? It can definitely help you decide when, how, how much and how often to eat. The number of calories you should consume depend on a bunch of factors, like your age, gender, weight, height, general health and lifestyle.

What are calories?

Let’s back up a bit. It’s important to know what calories are so you understand how they work. Calories are a measure of energy and describe the energy content of food. Our bodies break down food molecules and use stored energy for lots of functions, like movement, thought and growth. Calories also play a huge role in weight control since eating more calories than your body needs can make you gain weight.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the process where your body converts calories from food into energy it can use. You need constantly use energy, even when you’re sleeping, for breathing, circulating blood, repairing cells and other body functions. By eating enough food, your body will have enough energy to function properly.

How do I know how many calories I need?

Let’s look at an example. A man in his early 30s who is moderately active needs around 2,600 calories daily, whereas a woman in her early 30s who is moderately active needs around 2,000. Our bodies get calories from macronutrients—carbohydrates, protein and fat—which we need in large quantities.

This part gets interesting. Too many people are focused on how many calories each item they are eating has, but don’t always understand why certain foods have less calories than others. When trying to lose weight, knowing more about the source of the calories can actually help you reach your weight loss goals.

So one gram of carbohydrate or protein gives your body 4 calories, while 1 gram of fat gives your body 9 calories. Around 45-60% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates, 10-35% should come from protein, and only 20-35% should come from fat.

All of our bodies, health circumstances and lifestyles are different, so there isn’t a hard and fast rule on how many calories you should be consuming. Understanding the role of calories in your diet can help you balance your calories in with your calories out, and help you achieve weight management goals.

To get an approximate estimate of how many calories you should be consuming, you can use this online tool that calculates how many calories you should consume to either lose, gain or maintain your weight.

 

Calorie Recommendations

For men, the amount of calories they need each day varies based on their age and activity level. As you get older, you need less calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends men consume 2,000 to 2,600 calories if they’re sedentary, 2,200 to 2,800 calories if they’re moderately active and 2,400 to 3,000 calories per day if they’re active.

Since women generally have a smaller frame and less lean body mass than men, they usually require fewer calories. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends women consume 1,600 to 2,000 calories if they are sedentary, 1,800 to 2,200 calories if they’re moderately active and 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day if they’re active.
You can find out the calories in foods by looking at the nutritional information chart on packages of processed foods. They will all have the number of calories per serving and the portion size per serving. And using these tools, you can help yourself estimate how many calories you’re taking in per day and to help reach your weight loss goals.

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About the author

Viance Nutrition

Hi! I'm Walt Landi the founder and CEO of Viance Nutrition. Welcome to our Blog. I maintain this Blog as a free resource for anyone wishing to improve their health. Your comments and feedback are always welcomed and you can email me direct at walt@viance.com if you have any suggestions. Thanks. Ps. Spread the word and check out our products at viance.com. :)

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