A calorie is a measure of how much energy we get from food and drinks. It is important for human health because it can make you either too heavy or too light. Taking in just the right amount is the key. As people, our bodies need calories, and we need energy to stay alive and keep doing our jobs. Each has a different metabolic rate, which is how fast our bodies use up energy. If we want to stay fit and healthy, we should always be aware of how many calories we’re taking in. The recommended amount depends on your lifestyle, age, height, weight, sex, body shape, and other things.
There are also many calculators and other tools that are easy to find online. But it can be almost as hard to figure out your ideal calorie count as it is to turn down a 500-calorie slice of chocolate cake. So, if you want to know exactly how many calories you should eat every day, think about your age, weight, height, and how active you are. All of these things affect how many calories you need. For example, adults ages 21 and up should eat anywhere from 1,600 to 3,000 calories per day.
So, what do you need to know in order to find a good balance? Let’s do some calculations.
Estimated number of calories needed by age
Calories are important whether you want to gain weight, lose weight, or find the right amount to stay the same. And if you like to keep track of things and measure them, you might find it helpful to know exactly how many calories you need.
Digital apps and online calorie calculators can help, but because it can be complicated – you are really active, pretty active, or just kind of active – we recommend seeing a dietitian to get an expert’s opinion.
Some people may not have to count calories to meet their goals. Just knowing how many calories you should eat can help you reach your goals.
How many calories a woman needs
Age Calories from an active life Calories for a moderate life Calories for a sedentary life
21–30 1900 2100 2,400
31-50 1,800 2,000 2,200
51-up 1,600 1,800 2,000
Remember that these suggestions for calories are for women who are at a healthy weight. If you want to lose weight and your weight is above the normal range for your height, you need to eat less. One pound of weight loss per week can be caused by a deficit of 500 calories.
What affects how many calories you eat
Calories are a unit of measurement for energy content in food and beverages. Energy in must equal energy out if you want to stay the same weight – calories consumed vs. calories burned. To reduce your weight, you need to reduce your caloric intake below your energy expenditure. But if you eat more calories than you need, your body stores that extra energy as extra fat around your hips and in your middle, as well.
Everyone has different daily calorie needs, which can make it hard to find the magic number. Men need more calories than women do, on average. People who are busy need more than those who work at a desk. And because metabolism slows with age, younger people need more than older people.
Your caloric intake can be affected by your sex, height, weight, age, level of activity, hormones, and medicines.
How to change your calories
Here are some healthy ways to gain or lose weight, depending on your goals.
To gain weight
If you want to gain weight, you need to do more than just eat more. You should make an effort to gain weight in a healthy manner. Choose foods that are high in calories, like meats with a lot of protein, whole grains, and healthy fats. You should also think about eating more often and looking for ways to add more calories to each meal. Adding nuts or seeds to your yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal is one example.
Don’t forget to add more calories from liquids that won’t make you feel too full until your next meal. Choose drinks with a lot of calories, like whole milk, cream, smoothies made with 100% fruit juice, and high-calorie nutrition shakes.
To get thinner
If you want to lose weight, you might be tempted to cut your calorie intake by a lot to reach your goal, but be careful. If you eat less than 1,200 calories a day, it’s hard to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
What’s more, cutting calories too much might not work. If you eat very few calories, it can change the way your metabolism works. Your body can go into conservation mode, which makes it harder to lose weight because it slows down how many calories you burn.
A better bet? To burn more calories, do more exercise. Then you won’t have to cut back as much, so you can have a more balanced diet and get all the nutrients you need.
Should you keep track of calories?
You should know how many calories you need each day and how the calories in your favorite foods add up. You can use those numbers to help you decide what to eat and what to save for later.
But don’t worry if math isn’t your thing. To stay healthy, you don’t have to worry about calories all the time.
Many people lose weight without counting calories. Instead, they focus on the quality of the food they eat and how much of it they eat.
Do all calories have the same value?
You may have heard of empty calories, which are found in foods that have been processed. Most of the time, they have added sugar, trans fat, and more fat and calories than they need.
Even though these foods might give you a boost of energy, they usually don’t have a lot of fiber, minerals, or vitamins. These empty calories won’t fill you up, which will make you want to eat more. You might feel tired or worn out.
Instead, make sure you eat a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Empty-calorie foods are often made to make you want to eat them often and in large amounts, which makes you eat more calories than you need and not get enough nutrition. Whether you want to lose, gain, or keep the same amount of weight, it’s important to know how many calories will help you reach your goal.
Don’t be afraid to talk to a registered dietitian if you don’t know how many calories you need to eat each day. They can look at things like your age, sex, medications, lifestyle, weight history, family history, and activity level to help you figure out how to eat and exercise best for you.
It’s important to know how many calories you’re eating compared to how many calories your body needs. Even though it’s also important to know where those calories come from.
For instance, the body handles 200 calories from 16 ounces of soda differently than from 1 ounce of nuts. The nuts give you vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and healthy fats, while the soda gives you nothing good for your body.
One of the best ways to keep an eye on your body is to count calories. It helps you figure out how fast your metabolism works and what kinds of food you need to eat to stay healthy and fit. If you keep an eye on your calorie count, you can set a goal to lose weight or even stay the same weight. Also, when you stick to a healthy, balanced diet, stay hydrated, and work out regularly, the results make you not only healthy but also happy.