How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day?

How to lose weight is a question that we all want the answer to. We know that our body needs energy in the form of calories to function properly. We are also told that we need to burn calories in order to lose weight. These seemingly conflicting statements lead us to the question: “How many calories should I eat a day?” or “How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight?” Well we are here to help you answer that question.


In order to know the answer to “How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight?” the first step is to find out how many calories you should eat a day to maintain your weight. This amount depends on your gender, your age, and also the level of physical activity you get in a regular day; i.e. how active you are. If you eat more calories than you expend, you will gain weight. If you eat less calories than you expend you will lose weight. If you consume calories approximately equal to what you expend, then your weight will be maintained. Simple so far? Good, then let’s get into the specifics. . .


How many calories should I eat a day? This of course depends on what you are trying to achieve. On the table below you will find the estimated or approximate amounts of calories needed to maintain weight, or to maintain a calorie balance (meaning that the person neither gains nor loses weight). Once you know the calories to maintain weight, you will be better able to design an eating routine around that figure. The table below covers men and women separately, and also breaks down the estimated calories needed based on lifestyle; sedentary, moderately active, and active. All the amounts on this chart are rounded to the nearest 200 calories, and if you would prefer to know how many kilojoules you should eat a day, you can just multiply the number by 4.2 to get the kilojoule amount instead. If you want to lose weight, or if you want know how to maintain your weight, then learning how to calorie count (or how to calculate your calorie intake) becomes very important.

Gender
activity level
Male
sedentary
Male
Moderately active
Male
active
Female
sedentary
Female
Moderately active
Female
active
Age (years)
2 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000
3 1,200 1,400 1,400 1,000 1,200 1,400
4 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,200 1,400 1,400
5 1,200 1,400 1,600 1,200 1,400 1,600
6 1,400 1,600 1,800 1,200 1,400 1,600
7 1,400 1,600 1,800 1,200 1,600 1,800
8 1,400 1,600 2,000 1,400 1,600 1,800
9 1,600 1,800 2,000 1,400 1,600 1,800
10 1,600 1,800 2,200 1,400 1,800 2,000
11 1,800 2,000 2,200 1,600 1,800 2,000
12 1,800 2,200 2,400 1,600 2,000 2,200
13 2,000 2,200 2,600 1,600 2,000 2,200
14 2,000 2,400 2,800 1,800 2,000 2,400
15 2,200 2,600 3,000 1,800 2,000 2,400
16 2,400 2,800 3,200 1,800 2,000 2,400
17 2,400 2,800 3,200 1,800 2,000 2,400
18 2,400 2,800 3,200 1,800 2,000 2,400
19–20 2,600 2,800 3,000 2,000 2,200 2,400
21–25 2,400 2,800 3,000 2,000 2,200 2,400
26–30 2,400 2,600 3,000 1,800 2,000 2,400
31–35 2,400 2,600 3,000 1,800 2,000 2,200
36–40 2,400 2,600 2,800 1,800 2,000 2,200
41–45 2,200 2,600 2,800 1,800 2,000 2,200
46–50 2,200 2,400 2,800 1,800 2,000 2,200
51–55 2,200 2,400 2,800 1,600 1,800 2,200
56–60 2,200 2,400 2,600 1,600 1,800 2,200
61–65 2,000 2,400 2,600 1,600 1,800 2,000
66–70 2,000 2,200 2,600 1,600 1,800 2,000
71–75 2,000 2,200 2,600 1,600 1,800 2,000
76+ 2,000 2,200 2,400 1,600 1,800 2,000

 

How many Calories should I eat per day?

So now we can clearly see “how many calories should I eat a day” A few things to keep in mind with the table above: Sedentary means a lifestyle that includes only the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life. Moderately active includes physical activity equivalent to walking about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, as well as light physical activity in their day-to-day life. Active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity in an ordinary day. Also remember that this is only the recommended calorie intake, and your daily calorie intake may need to be higher or lower. The male calories per day and the female calories per day are different also, because of the differing physiology between the genders.

If your diet contains a lot of calories in food, then cutting back to these calorie levels might be a bit of a challenge at first. Knowing “How much calories do I need to lose weight” is reasonably easy, as the table above shows how much calories per day is recommended. How many calories per day that are consumed has a huge effect on your health, so it’s a good idea to make getting to these recommended daily calorie levels your first goal, and once you have achieved that you can decide what is the next best step towards losing weight.


How many calories do I burn in a day?

 

So how many calories should I eat a day? Once you know approximately how many calories you should eat a day to maintain your current weight, the next step is to work out how to either increase your calorific expenditure above that amount, or reduce the calories you consume to a lower amount. If you want to increase the amount of energy you use, then getting more exercise is the way to do it. Add a brisk walk in the evenings before dinner to your daily routine. Make trips to the gym a regular occurrence. Go for a bike ride a few times a week, or try going for a swim in the morning. The form of exercise you choose doesn’t have to be anything complicated or painful (in fact it shouldn’t be!), but it does need to increase your heart rate and get blood pumping. If you are burning 500 calories more than you consume each day, steady weight loss will result, and you won’t know how much to lose weight is needed until you try it yourself! To see how many calories you burn when you exercise, you can use the handy How Many Calories to Lose Weight Calculator above. This calculator can not only show you “How much calories do I burn a day?” but can show you the calories for individual activities such as “How much calories does walking burn?” Tools such as this will also provide you with the know how to get muscle, if you want to gain muscle for a sport for example.

How many calories do I need to lose weight?

How many calories should I eat?

Knowing how many calories you eat in a day is important knowledge to have, because once you compare that amount to how many calories to lose weight, you can adjust that amount to achieve the weight and health goals you set for yourself. For people who want to lose weight but just can’t devote any more time to exercise, then reducing their daily calories is the next best thing. A calorie deficit of 500 calories or more per day is usually a good weight loss target to set for an adult. Remember though that a deficit is the difference between the energy you expend and the energy you consume, and this can only happen by reducing the calories you consume or by burning more energy in daily activities and exercise. Increasing the calories burned is sometimes easier than reducing how many calories per day you eat. “How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight?” can still be quite a lot if you get sufficient exercise.

Ideally cutting back on the calories, while also increasing the amount of exercise you get will not only help you lose weight by creating a calorie deficit, it will also help you become fitter and stronger at the same time. Working out the calories in many types of foods can be difficult though, particularly when you eat a lot of the “healthy” foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and lean meats. Often these foods aren’t processed at all, and therefore they may not come with nutritional information. Use the Food Calorie Calculator to work out the calories in some of your regular meals. You will find that the less processed foods will contain fewer calories on average than the more highly processed and refined foods. The other benefit of the less processed foods is that they are usually more “nutrient rich”, meaning that they often contain dense concentrations of vitamins, minerals, oils and healthy fats that your body craves. If you want to know “How much fat do I need per day” or “How much fat per day to lose weight”, then the simple answer is that when we talk about saturated fats, the less you eat the better. It’s not just a question of “How many calories should I eat a day?” it’s also the vitamins and nutrients that you consume.

There are plenty of foods that are high in calories that don’t provide your body with very many nutrients; which means that their only contribution to your health and wellbeing is energy itself. These foods include anything high in sodium, solid fats (which are a major source of saturated and trans fatty acids), dessert foods with added sugars, and refined grains. These foods are generally are consumed in excess by children, teenagers and adults, with no regard for “How many calories should I eat a day?”

How many calories do I need?

 

How many calories should I eat a day? Well the type of food that you eat is a major contributing factor in terms of how many calories you consume, and cutting out some of the highest energy/lowest nutrient food is a good start to a weight loss plan. To reduce the intake of saturated fatty acids, try and limit the major sources that are high in saturated fatty acids and replace them with foods that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. For example, when making food at home, solid fats such as butter and lard can be replaced with vegetable oils that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Also using fat-free or low-fat milk and trimming fat from meat will cut out a lot of unnecessary calories. Some oils that are known to be high in monounsaturated fatty acids are canola, olive, and safflower oils. Some oils that contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids are soybean, corn, and cottonseed oils. Often you will have the choice of two products that both are effectively the same, and one of them is better for you. Making the right selection for these products can have a big impact on your overall health and calorie intake. You can use the “how many calories should I eat to lose weight calorie calculator” to help you decide how many calories a day you need to lose weight.

Daily Caloric Intake to Lose Weight?

How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight?

How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight? It’s generally considered that having a deficit of 500 calories per day will result in losing about a pound per week. If you have a deficit of 1000 calories per day, then you may lose as much as 2 pounds per week. So if you ever asked how many calories in a pound, the answer is about 500 per day for a week, or approximately 3500. Keep in mind though that for many people, losing weight faster than 2 pounds per week may be dangerous from a medical standpoint. Like most things related to health, nutrition, or diet, slow and steady weight loss is preferable to trying to lose weight fast. People who lose weight eat less calories than they expend on a daily basis, usually for weeks or months at a time, which is much more healthy than starving yourself to find out “How much weight can you lose in a day?” Discovering how much calories to lose weight for yourself can be a lot easier using the tools on this page, and “How many calories should I eat a day?” is information that we all need to know.

When we ask “How many calories should I eat a day?”, no discussion would be complete without talking about the BMI. The Body Mass Index is a way of measuring a person’s body fat level. It is accepted worldwide as the easiest way to tell if a person is over-weight (obese), under-weight, or in a normal and healthy weight range. It is based on a simple calculation involving a person’s height and weight. You can use this Body Mass Index Calculator to find out your own personal BMI, and that can give you and indication of whether you should be looking at increasing you calories because “I need to gain weight”, maintaining your weight, or helping you decide “How much calories should I eat to lose weight?”

The BMI calculation is used as a simple method for measuring body fat, but it isn’t perfect. A professional football player may weight quite a lot, yet not be particularly tall; this doesn’t mean they have a high level of body fat however. For the most accurate body fat measurements, you will need to talk to a doctor or dietician, but for an approximation of body fat levels, the BMI calculation is the best measurement we have. Once you know how to calculate daily calorie intake, you will be able to decide how much to eat to lose weight. Understanding “How much should I eat to lose weight?” or “How much calories should I eat a day?” will make a big difference to your weight loss calories per day eating plan. The tools on this page can show you how to calculate calorie intakes per day, and how to lose calories from your eating regime. Make sure that you focus on how to eat to lose weight gradually however, because the results will be much better in the longer term than if you just try and work out how to lose weight in a day. Keep your longer term goals as the priority when considering “How many calories should I eat a day?”

How many calories should I eat?

How many calories should I eat a day? Obesity and being overweight have both become a problem in most developed nations, and particularly in America. One of the main causes of obesity is the excessive consumption of calories by children, adults and teens. Fast foods in particular are super-rich in fats and calories that cause people to become overweight or obese, and these foods are being eaten more and more as a regular part of many people’s diets. What should you eat to lose weight? Many people think to themselves “I need to lose weight” but then struggle with the details. The most important thing is finding out the number of calories per day that maintains your current weight, and then reducing that to a lower number of calories to lose weight. If you want to lose weight how many calories per day you eat will be the main factor (i.e. how much calories in food consumption), followed by knowing how to calculate how many calories you burn. Interestingly, the answer to “What should I eat to lose weight”, “What should I eat to gain weight?”, and “What should I eat to gain muscle?” should all have the same answer: Healthy and nutritious food. The only difference for someone who wants to lose weight: calories per day will be lower. How to maintain weight loss is just the same as how to eat to lose weight or “What do I eat to lose weight” or “How many calories should I eat a day?”

How Many Calories to Lose Weight?

Now that you know “How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight?” you should be in a much better position to take control of your caloric intake. At first it might seem that the calories to lose weight are a difficult to get to, but once you start counting calories you will find that it’s a piece of cake (pun very much intended!). You will find plenty of ways to lose weight here on this site.

  • If you want further information on how many calories you should eat a day to lose weight, health, nutrition, calorie counters, or how many calories per day eating plans, these Federal Government resources have excellent, reliable, science based information. Remember that knowing “How many calories should I eat a day?” is the first step towards great health!

Dietary Guidelines for Americans
MyPyramid.gov
Healthfinder.gov
Health.gov
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Food and Nutrition Service
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Nutrition.gov
Food and Nutrition Information Center
Let’s Move!
Calories
Healthy People
Eat Calories
U.S. National Physical Activity Plan
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Food and Drug Administration
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institutes of Health