Body Fat

How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day

Weight Loss

How to Lose Weight with Low Calorie

Have you ever wondered how many calories your body need? Are you aware of the Energy Balance Equation for your body? Let me explain. Calorie is a unit of measurement of energy. One Kilocalorie is equal to 1000 Calories. One Kilocalorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one Kg of water from 15 Degree Centigrade to 16 Degree Centigrade. In general use the term Calorie and Kilocalorie (Kcal) are the same, so far as counting calories in food is concerned. A “Small Calorie” is scientific term for Calorie and it is equal to one thousand of one Kilocalorie.

Our body needs energy so that various cells and organs can function properly. So we eat food which gets converted into calories (energy) and this energy is supplied to cells and organs of the body. If you are active and also do physical work you need more calories. If your lifestyle is sedentary your body requires fewer calories. A person with more height and weight requires more calories. A male requires more calories than a female. An older person requires fewer calories than a younger person. This article will tell you about how many calories should you eat per day to maintain an ideal weight.

How Many Calories Does Your Body Need

The body weight management depends on how you do energy balance of your body. Let us call it energy balance equation. It is a very simple concept. You put some amount of energy in your body by food calories. You also spend some amount of energy through various activities. So amount of energy you put in should be ideally equal to amount of energy you spend. If you put higher food calories in your body, the extra calories get converted in fat and get deposited at various places in your body like waist, thighs, arms etc. This makes you overweight.

Basal Metabolic Rate BMR

But how do you know how many calories your body needs to maintain an ideal weight and also to supply you with required energy? About 70% of body energy is spent in supporting the metabolic function of body cells. These functions are heart beat, maintenance of body temperature, respiration etc. You can calculate BMR of your body by following method: –

Adult Male BMR

Multiply your body weight in pounds by 10 and then add the double of your weight to this value. Example – Suppose you are an adult male of 150 Pounds. So your BMR is 150 x 10 + 150 x 2. This is equal to 1800 Calories per day. So you need 1800 Calories per day just for your body’s metabolic functions. For other physical activities you need extra calories through food. This is resting metabolic rate for men.

Adult Female BMR

Multiply your body weight in pounds by 10 and then add only your weight to this value. Example – Suppose you are an adult female of 150 Pounds. So your BMR is 150 x 10 + 150. This is equal to 1650 Calories per day. So you need 1650 Calories per day just for your body’s metabolic functions. For other physical activities you need extra calories through food. This is resting metabolic rate for women.

Energy Needed for Physical Activities

Your body needs some more energy which will be spent in physical activities which you do during the day. It may be office work, walking, doing household chores or exercise. You burn energy while doing day to day work. Usually 20 to 30% of body energy is spent on these activities. You can find out how many calories are burnt in various exercises by Metabolic Energy Method. So if you want to reduce weight you will have to either reduce food intake or burn more calories by increasing physical activities.

Thermic Effect of Food Intake

This calculation tells you about body’s management of food. Body spends energy in digesting the food you eat. This is called thermic effect of food (TEF) intake. Simply put TEF = 10% of Total Kcal consumed through food. So if you consume food worth 2000 Kcal then your body will spend 200 Kcal to digest that food. Body burns more energy in digesting some kinds of food than some others. For example more energy is spent in digesting protein than digesting carbohydrates.

Simplest Way to Calculate Calories Required

I understand that these methods may sound confusing and you may want to know of a simpler method to roughly calculate the daily calorie requirement. Here is a simple guideline of how many calories you need to maintain the same weight: –

  • If you are sedentary – Your Weight in Pounds x 13. So if you weigh 150 pounds you need 1950 Calories per day.
  • If you are moderately active – Your Weight in Pounds x 17. So if you weigh 150 pounds you need 2550 Calories per day. Moderately active are those people who have 3 to 4 exercise sessions per week.
  • If you are very active – Your Weight in Pounds x 20. So if you weigh 150 pounds you need 3000 Calories per day. Very active are those people who have 5 to 7 exercise sessions per week.

What is Body Fat Percentage

There are two types of fat in our body One is called “Essential Fat” while the other type is called “Storage Fat”. The body fat percentage is the weight of fat in your body divided by your total weight. Following is more about types of fat in the body: –

  • Essential Fat – We need this much amount of fat to survive. Essential Fat is 2 to 4% of body weight for men and 10 to 12 % for women. Yes, you have read is right!! Women require higher percentage of essential fat than men.
  • Storage Fat – This is the fat which is stored in adipose tissues in the body. This fat has a very important role of protecting internal organs in the chest and in abdomen.
  • Total Body Fat Percentage – Obviously it is total of Essential Fat and Storage Fat.

How Much Total Body Fat Percentage You Should Have

Following is the guideline laid down by American Council on Exercise. Experts are of the opinion that body fat percentage is a good way of gauging the fitness level of a person. A male whose body fat percentage is above 25% is likely to be obese. Similarly any women whose body fat percentage is above 31% is likely to be obese.

For Athletes

  • Men – 6 to 13% of total body weight
  • Women – 14 to 20% of total body weight

Non Athletes Who are Fit

  • Men – 14 to 17%
  • Women – 21 to 24%

Non Athletes Who Have Just Acceptable Fat Level

  • Men – 18 to 25%
  • Women – 25 to 31%

Non Athletes Who are Overweight

  • Men – 26 to 37%
  • Women – 32 to 41%

Non Athletes Who are Obese

  • Men – Above 38%
  • Women – Above 42%

Weight and Height Chart

This chart is a good way to assess your weight as per your height. This chart is valid for people between age group of 25 to 59 years. The weight has been shown in pounds.

Weight and Height Chart

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