Calorie needs: how many calories you need per day

You want to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight? Then you should know your daily calorie needs to be able to control your weight through your diet.

In this article we have summarized all the important information on the subject of daily calorie requirements. You will learn not only how to calculate your personal calorie needs, but also what they mean and what sports you can do to burn more calories.

The most important facts in a nutshell

  • Calories, is the unit in which we denote the energy contained in foods. When you eat food, your body burns that energy to get heat.
  • Depending on whether you want to gain or lose weight, you need to increase or decrease your calorie intake. If you want to maintain your weight, then you should take your personal calorie requirement.
  • Your body burns a certain amount of calories even when you are lying on the couch. This amount that you consume at rest is called basal metabolic rate.

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Definition: What are calories?

Calories, or more precisely kilocalories (kcal), is the unit in which we express the energy stored in foods.

Simply put, calories are the unit of heat energy. Because when your body burns food, it provides heat, just like other types of fuels.

Generally speaking, the more calories a food contains, the more energy it provides.

You can find the calorie information, which denotes the caloric value, on all food packaging. How to stay within your recommended daily normal range.

Body fat

If you come over your daily individual calorie requirement the body cannot burn the energy surplus completely and stores this in the form of body fat on. This is what he does in order to be able to fall back on it in the next hunger period.

In contrast, if you eat less than your daily calorie requirement, your body will fall back on the accumulated fat.

This is how you can lose weight. So if you pay attention to this, you can either increase or decrease your body fat.

Background: What you should know about daily calorie needs

Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or maintain your weight, it is important to know your daily calorie needs.

To effectively reach your desired goal, you need to know what your personal calorie needs are and how to meet them.

To help you learn everything you need to know about daily calorie requirements, we have summarized all the important information about it in the following. With this knowledge you can achieve your dream body.

What does calorie requirement mean?

Calorie consumption is made up of the following two types of calorie consumption:

  • Basal Metabolic Rate
  • Power Metabolism

We have briefly explained what this means in the following paragraphs. Because both turnovers, together result in your total turnover of calories, which you burn daily.

Basic metabolic rate

Basal Metabolic Rate is how many calories your body burns when you are at absolute rest. Because even when you sleep, or just lie on the sofa, your body consumes energy.

Sleeping woman

Power metabolism

In contrast, the power metabolism is the additional energy you need for physical activities. This includes, among other things, sports, or when you ride your bike to work.

If you add the basal metabolic rate and the performance metabolic rate together, the total metabolic rate will be. This indicates how many calories you should consume daily to maintain your weight.

How many calories a day are healthy?

You can eat up to 30% less or even more of your calorie requirement in order to either gain or lose weight. In the long term, however, you should consume the calories that your body burns during the day.

Just because you stick to your daily calories does not mean that you are eating healthy. You can eat healthy as well as very unhealthy despite the right amount of calories. It completely depends on the food you eat.

Therefore, you should be very careful to eat good foods in order to live healthily. Because only keeping the amount of calories is not the same as being healthy.

Above all, a balanced diet is important to give our body the nutrients it needs.

How many calories you burn a day?

The basal metabolic rate depends on body weight, age and gender. How exactly you can calculate your basal metabolic rate, you will learn later in this article.

Roughly speaking, a 60 kg woman needs about 1300 kcal and an 80 kg man about 1900 kcal per day to meet basic needs.

Woman exercising

All movements, or. Sports activities must then be added to the basal metabolic rate to know the total metabolic rate. The more exercise you do, the more calories your body burns.

If you spend your day mostly sitting, you can expect about 600 to 900 extra calories.

Housewives, on the other hand, can add about 1000 calories to their basal metabolic rate if they are very active. Muscle mass also contributes to consuming more calories.

How many calories a day a child or teenager needs?

Eating child

In order to give you an overview, we have included a table with the energy requirements of children and adolescents depending on age and weight.

Energy requirements of children and adolescents

Age Calorie needs per day daily. Calorie requirement per kg body weight
0 to 3 months 650 kcal 93 kcal
4 to 12 months 850 kcal 92 kcal
1 to 3 years 1300 kcal 89 kcal
4 to 6 years 1800 kcal 80 kcal
7 to 9 years 2000 kcal 72 kcal
10 to 14 years (girls) 2200 kcal 64 kcal
10 to 14 years (boys) 2500 kcal 55 kcal
15 to 18 years (girls) 2200 kcal 46 kcal
15 to 18 years 3000 kcal 43 kcal

The table below shows guidelines for a normal calorie requirement for children. It should be noted that more active children have a higher calorie requirement than quieter children. In addition, the need may also increase for a short period during growth and development spurts.

How many calories does a man need per day on average??

As a rough guide, we have listed the daily calorie requirements of men in relation to their respective physical activity levels below. Depending on the duration of exercise during the day, the calorie requirement increases or decreases.

  • Under 30 minutes: 2100 – 2500 kcal
  • 30 to 60 minutes: 2500 – 2700 kcal
  • Over 60 minutes: 3000 – 3500 kcal

As a rule, men have a lower percentage of body fat than women and more muscle mass in return. Therefore, the values of caloric requirements for men turn out to be higher, since muscles require much more energy.

How many calories a day a woman needs to consume?

  • Under 30 minutes: 1800 – 2000 kcal
  • 30 to 60 minutes: 2000 – 2200 kcal
  • Over 60 minutes: 2400 – 2800 kcal

As you can see, the values for women are much lower than those for men. This is due to the already mentioned muscle mass, which is normally larger in men than in women and therefore requires more energy.

Calorie requirements: How many calories are normal in certain situations

As mentioned above, calorie requirements vary from person to person and based on the amount of physical activity you do.

How many calories you personally should consume to either gain, lose or maintain your weight, you will learn in the next paragraphs.

Calorie table: How many calories a day are normal

Basically, you can not say exactly how many calories a day are normal, because they depend on so many factors. However, there are guidelines that are suitable for an average person in a normal case.

Age-dependent calorie requirement

Age Women Men
15 to 18 years 2000 kcal 2500 kcal
19 to 24 years 1900 kcal 2500 kcal
25 to 50 years 1900 2400
51 to 64 years 1800 kcal 2200 kcal
over 65 years 1600 kcal 2000 kcal

The listed guideline values refer to people who spend their everyday life mainly in a sedentary position. Be it in the office, or in normal everyday life at home, these have a rather passive movement setting.

Therefore, if you are doing more exercise and sports, you should be aware that you will need more calories than shown in the table.

How to calculate your daily calories?

In order for you to know exactly your personal calorie needs, we have included instructions on how to calculate them below.

Step 1 – Basal Metabolic Rate:

You can find a lot of calorie requirement calculators on the internet, which will calculate your personal calorie requirement after giving you some information about yourself.

But you can easily calculate this yourself, the following formula applies for the calculation of your basal metabolic rate:

  • Woman: (10 x body weight in kg) + (6,25 x height in cm) – (5 x age) + 5
  • Man: (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age) – 161

This is the amount of calories you need to perform normal bodily functions. This does not include sports and exercise.

This is what you have to find out in the next step by determining your activity factor.

Step 2 – Activity factor:

To do this, you can choose from the following activity factors, the one that best applies to you:

Activity level Description Factor
Little active No or little training and mainly sedentary activities 1,2
Slightly active Light training or. Sport on 1 – 3 days per week 1,375
Moderately active Moderate training or. Exercise 3 – 5 days per week 1,55
Very active Strenuous exercise or. Sports 6 – 7 days per week 1,725
Extremely active 2 x daily strenuous training or. Sports, competitive sports, or other hard physical activities 1,9

This activity factor includes all activities. This includes, for example, weight training, cardio, work, sports, walking, housework, and anything else you do that involves movement.

Step 3 – Total Metabolic Rate:

The last step to calculate your personal daily calorie needs is to multiply the two previous results. To calculate your daily calorie needs, the formula is as follows:

Calorie requirement = basal metabolic rate x activity factor

The number you get here is the calories (kcal) you need daily to maintain your weight.

How many calories do you need to burn to lose weight??

Now that you have calculated your daily calorie needs, you can start to think about whether you want to maintain your weight or whether you want to lose or gain weight. If you decide to lose weight, you must consider the following points.

To lose weight you need to eat fewer calories, as mentioned above. You should have a deficit of about 10 – 30 % to lose fat effectively.

Women, however, should be a bit more careful and only aim for a 10 to maximum 20 % deficit.

Even if your body fat percentage is already lower, you should be a little more careful here. If you do this for a while, your excess kilos should just fall off. The good thing is that with this type of weight loss, there is no yo-yo effect.

How many calories do you need to eat to gain weight?. To build muscle?

If you want to gain weight or build muscles, you should eat more than your daily calorie requirement. Especially when building muscle, it is important that the muscles get enough nutrients and energy to grow.

Trained man gets out of pool

To gain weight you can consume between 10 and 30% more calories than you actually need.

So your body has excess energy that is either used with training to build muscle, or put on as fat to build mass.

How many calories you need to eat a day to keep your weight the same?

If you don’t want to gain or lose weight, but simply want to eat healthy and maintain your weight? Then you should eat exactly your calorie needs, so that you do not consume too much or too little energy through food.

The calorie requirement calculated for you personally gives you exactly how many calories you need for your daily routine. If you eat more than your daily calorie requirement you will neither gain nor lose weight.

However, if your exercise habits change, you should recalculate your calorie needs.

How many calories you need to eat every day when breastfeeding?

In some situations our body needs more energy than in others. Breastfeeding is one of these situations. During breastfeeding, a woman needs extra energy and nutrients to feed the baby with breast milk.

Especially in the first four months after birth, a mother who breastfeeds her child and needs 500 calories in addition to the total requirement.

This means that if you feel more hungry while breastfeeding, it is okay to give in to your hunger pangs. Since you are not only feeding yourself, but your baby as well.

Trivia: What else you should know about daily calories

How much do you have to eat to gain 1 kg??

For you to gain one kilogram of fat mass there is the following rule of thumb.

If you increase your basal metabolic rate by 7000 calories, you can gain one kilogram of body weight.

So if you want to gain 1 kg in 2 weeks, you need to eat 500 calories more than your basal metabolic rate every day. That’s a total of about 2000 kilocalories for women and 2500 kilocalories for men per day.

Once you have gained the extra weight, however, you should not immediately fall back into old habits. The extra kilos you gain will take some time to settle in your body.

Until this happens, you should continue to eat enough calories to have a sustainable result.

Which is the best calorie calculator apps?

There are a lot of apps that make calorie counting easier for you. One of these apps is for example MyFitnessPal.

This app helps you to eat more consciously and to control your weight. You can control your daily calorie intake with MyFitnessPal to have an overview of the foods and their calories.

Another good app to track your daily calories is Lifesum. It is very easy to use and helps to reach or maintain your dream weight.

Lifesum not only reminds you to record your meals in your diary, but also offers the possibility to record and calculate your sport units.

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