How many Calories should be Consumed per day?

Calories

Calories, What are calories? A calorie is a unit of energy that is used as a very important term in nutrition science. Our body as a machine needs energy for all its functions which we get from food. But not all foods contain calories. For example, Water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc. are useful nutrients for the body but no calories are available from them.

The sources of calories are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. However, not all foods contain the same amount of calories. This article discusses in detail how many calories your body needs per day, how many calories are available from what types of food, how to reduce calorie intake, and tips to control body weight.

BMR (BMR – basal metabolic rate)

BMR is the minimum daily caloric requirement of a person i.e. the number of calories required to maintain the normal functioning of the body’s internal organs while at rest without doing any activity. BMR value depends on gender, age, weight, and height. BMR can be determined according to Harris-Benedict’s formula which is described below:

  • Male = 66.4 + (13.7 × body weight in kg) + (5 × height in cm) – (6.8 × age in years)
  • Female = 655 + (9.5 × body weight in kg) + (1.8 × height in cm) – (4.7 × age in years)

According to this formula, the minimum daily calorie requirement (BMR) for a 20-year-old male, 5 feet 2 inches (157.5 cm) tall and 50 kg, would be 1,400 calories. A woman of the same age, height, and weight would have a BMR of 1320 calories. From this formula it is clear that the BMR of women is lower than men and BMR increases with an increase in weight and height but the relationship is inversely proportional with age i.e. BMR decreases with increasing age.

Daily Calorie Needs

Based on BMR, SDA (specific dynamic action), and type of exercise, how many calories a person needs daily can be calculated. SDA is the amount of energy expended in the process of producing energy from food through digestion and metabolism after food intake. That is, the body’s energy is expended in the process of converting the food we eat into energy, which is called SDA. Protein-rich foods require slightly more calories for energy, but on average, the SDA for all foods is about 10 percent. Energy from 1 gram of carbohydrates is equivalent to 4 calories. So 400 calories will be available from 100 grams but 10 percent of calories will be spent by the body to get this amount of energy from food. In other words, 100 grams of carbohydrates provide 360 calories.

Calories

For people who exercise very little, add 25 percent to BMR plus 10 percent of SDA to determine daily calorie needs. A BMR of 1400 calories would require 1925 calories per day. Add 50 percent of BMR for those who exercise moderately and 100 percent for those who exercise hard. (Hoque, 2018)

Calories and Food

There are 4 calories per 1 gram of protein and carbohydrates. And every 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories which is much more than protein and carbohydrates. However, according to the guidelines of the World Health Organization, up to 30 percent of the daily calorie requirement can be taken from fat, of which the level of saturated fat should be less than 10 percent and trans fat should be less than 1 percent. 60 percent of calories should come from carbohydrates and 10 percent from protein.

A young man doing moderate physical activity needs about 2400 calories per day. As such, about 350 grams of carbohydrates, 60 grams of protein, and a maximum of 80 grams of fat can be consumed per day. Women generally need 2,000 calories a day and should consume all types of food in that proportion.

How to Reduce Calorie Intake?

The body needs calories to maintain normal functions. However, if excess amounts of calories are consumed, they start accumulating in the body as fat, which increases the risk of various diseases including weight gain. Such as heart problems, diabetes, and cancer. To control body weight, calorie intake should be reduced so that fat accumulated in the body is broken down and new fat is not allowed to accumulate. Some simple and effective ways to reduce calorie intake are described below: (Ajmera, 2021)

Simple sugars (white rice, glucose, flour, bread, noodles, sugar, sweets, etc.) should not be eaten in excess, but foods rich in fiber (brown rice, wheat flour, oats, fruits and vegetables, etc.) should be eaten.
Protein intake can be increased. Because even though the same amount of calories are available from carbohydrates and protein, more SDA or the body’s calories are spent to get calories from protein foods.
If you drink water before eating, you will feel full after eating a small meal. And water has no calories. However, soft drinks cannot be consumed.

Eat plenty of salad (cucumber, tomato, raw papaya, carrot, etc.) with the meal. Because they help to fill the stomach but the calorie content is very low.

Some Basic Tips for Weight Loss

  • Food intake should be slightly less than the daily calorie requirement.
  • Breakfast cannot be skipped. Rather start the day by eating healthy food in the morning.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Rather than living a lazy life lying down, one should cultivate the habit of manual labor.
  • Instead of eating fruit juice, you should eat whole fruits. This will provide a lot of fiber.
  • Do not eat snacks several times a day without eating a meal. Because snacks contain a lot of calories.
  • One should practice eating on relatively small-sized plates.
  • Avoid fast food and soft drinks as much as possible.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol. You may be surprised to know that alcohol contains a lot of calories (as many as 9 calories per 1 gram).

Final Suggestions:

The above caloric calculations apply to healthy individuals. For those who are sick or following a special diet, calories or food should be consumed according to the instructions of the doctor and nutritionist. A physician should be consulted if weight loss tips, including a low-calorie intake, do not yield results. Because weight gain is associated with various diseases and hormones.

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