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Calories: How much is required per day?
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Team Gabit
2 months ago | 5 mins

Calories: How much is required per day?


Are you passionate about keeping your calories under check? Read further to discover your daily calorie requirement and how to achieve the count.

Your daily calorie intake requirement depends on a number of factors like your age, sex, height, weight, overall health and lifestyle habits like physical activity. By checking on your caloric count each day, you can fulfil your weight and health maintenance goals effectively. 

What are calories?

In simple words, calorie is a unit of energy that we get from the food and drinks we consume and the energy that we use during physical activities. Our body needs calories to survive and to keep the bodily processes going. Your caloric consumption should be apt for you because too much or too less can trigger health problems. 

Along with the daily calorie requirement, it is important to recognise the nutrients that a particular food item is serving your body. Each macronutrient, namely, carbohydrates, proteins and fats give us a certain amount of calories per gram. 

Carbohydrate - 4 calories/gram

Protein - 4 calories/gram 

Fat - 9 calories/gram 

Caloric intake for weight maintenance

know and learn about daily calorie intake requirement

Are you trying to maintain a healthy weight, lose weight or gain weight? These goals will decide on your count of calories required per day. If you’re trying to maintain your current healthy weight, you need to balance your daily caloric consumption with the amount of calories you burn through physical activity. 

Physical activity includes both exercises and the calories burnt through your bodily processes and the digestion of food. If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to maintain a caloric deficit. Caloric deficit is when you eat fewer calories than what you burn. If you’re trying to gain weight, you need to maintain a caloric surplus. Caloric surplus is when you eat more calories than what you burn. 

How much is required per day?

Following is the average calorie requirement per day of both males and females of different ages- 

know and learn about daily calorie intake requirement

What are the different types of calories?

Calories are usually of two types - small and big calories. 

  1. Small calories (cal) - It is defined as the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. This unit is a smaller one and most likely to be used in scientific terms. 
  2. Big calories (kcal) - This term is used more for nutritional and dietary purposes and is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius. One kcal is equal to 1000 small calories. 

Role of physical activity in caloric requirements

know and learn about daily calorie intake requirement

The hours and energy that you give to physical activity determines how much calories are required per day to keep you going. 

Very active - If you have intense and vigorous workout sessions that last for an hour or more each day or if you have a job that requires you to be physically active, you would require a higher number of calories. Calories required per day for a woman would be 2000-2500, while for a man would be 2500-3000. 

Moderately active - If an individual exercises for about 30-60 minutes per day, a woman would need 1900 calories per day, while a man would need 2500 calories per day. 

Slightly active - A woman would need 1800 calories, while a man would need 2200 calories per day if they have about 5000-8000 steps per day or workout for at least 30 minutes per day. 

Sedentary - If your intentional exercises aren’t intense or moderate and are done for less than 30 minutes or if you have a count of less than 5000 steps per day, you have a sedentary lifestyle. In this case, the calories required per day for a woman would be 1600 whereas for a man would be 1800 calories per day. 

Nutritional considerations for caloric intake

know and learn about daily calorie intake requirement

Consider these tips to maintain a daily calorie intake requirement with nutrition - 

  1. Ensure that whole vegetables and fruits, lean meats, whole grains, water, nuts and seeds find a place in your meals. 
  2. Avoid empty calories because they only add to your caloric count without providing your body with any nutrition and make you feel hungry after a point. They are mostly found in processed foods and drinks. 
  3. Manage your portion sizes to ensure you have a healthier portion of whole foods while a smaller one of foods which have fats. 
  4. Don’t put away your cravings everytime, rather have a smaller portion.
  5. Use healthier cooking methods like grilling, roasting or poaching than frying. 
  6. Find healthier swaps for food items high in fat content to meet your daily allowance of calories. 
  7. Hydration is a big part of your nutrition, so make sure you drink an adequate amount of water everyday. 

Common misconceptions about calories

We often make mistakes or end up believing in certain myths when we refer to calories for our nutritional intake. Here are some common misconceptions about calories that are cleared out -

All calories are equal - This isn’t true because getting 100 calories from vegetables doesn’t equal getting it from an alcoholic beverage. Vegetables would meet your nutritional demands while alcohol would give you empty calories which does no good to your body. 

Negative calories - Certain people believe that food items like celery, broccoli, carrots and apples use more calories to digest than they give to your body, hence, they result in negative calories. Although this is a popular concept, it is a total myth. 

Calorie counting leads to weight loss - It sure does and is a widely accepted practice but as long as you ensure that processed foods are out of your way and whole foods are in your diet, you can reach your daily calorie intake requirement and lose weight too. 

Burning 3500 calories makes you lose a pound - This is a concept that is over generalised because it doesn’t take into consideration the gender, metabolism, body size, genetics, lifestyle, activity level and diet of every individual. 

Eating less calories leads to weight loss - This is not always true because eating less calories can lead to nutrient deficiency, slower metabolism and muscle loss. Individual differences come into play here. 

know and learn about daily calorie intake requirement

Conclusion

Understanding calories is the key to maintaining a healthy weight. Various factors define the calories required per day by your body and it is imperative that you know an average count of that. Although most of us rely on calorie counting, nutritional considerations and physical activity play a huge role here. Ensuring intake of nourishing meals with consistent exercise sessions helps you crack the health code! 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many calories do I need in a day?

Calories required per day by an individual depends on factors like sex, age, lifestyle and genetics. For example, a male falling between the age of 19-30 years would need 2400-3000 calories, while a female would need 2000-2400 calories. 

What happens if I consume too few calories?

Consuming too few calories can lead to slower metabolism, nutrient deficiencies, weakness, fatigue, muscle loss, weakened immune system and hormonal imbalances. 

How can I calculate my daily calorie needs?

A calorie calculator can help you track your calorie needs according to your body size, lifestyle, age and sex. 

What is the recommended daily calorie intake for weight maintenance?

Adult males usually require about 2000-3000 calories per day while adult females require 1600-2400 calories per day to maintain weight. However, this can vary according to other factors. 

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