How Many Calories Do You Need to Consume a Day? There are many trends and theories about how much and what foods we need to eat in a day but ultimately it all comes down to math.
If your input (food and drinks) exceeds your output (activity and BMR), you will gain weight by storing the excess as fat. If your output exceeds your input, you will lose weight. Is it that simple, you might ask? Not quite, but it almost is. And it’s even easier, considering that counting calories today is easier than ever. First off, let us clarify the acronym I used above:
BMR stands for “Basal Metabolic Rate” – basically, the number of calories your body burns just to stay alive. Or, to use a more scientific definition, the BMR is the rate of energy expenditure per unit time by endothermic animals at rest. The basal metabolic rate of an average human male is around 1,800 calories, while that of an average female is about 1,400.
This means that you need to consume at least the equivalent of this quantity of energy as food each day to stay alive. Considering the above numbers, it might seem impossible to survive on a low-calorie or a very low-calorie diet. Some diets expect their followers to eat as little as 800 calories a day, or even below – while these might seem effective in the short term, they are dangerous and very unhealthy if followed in the long run. But human life is more than just eating and resting.
Even digesting food boosts the rate at which our bodies burn calories to produce energy. So, to be able to do more than just lie on the floor in a vegetative state, we need to eat more than just the bare minimum. And the quantity of energy we need a day depends mostly on our level of physical activity.
If you are trapped in a sedentary lifestyle where you spend most of your life sitting – at the office, at home in front of the TV and in the car in between – and lying in bed, your necessary daily calorie intake will be just a little above your BMR.
If you are much more active – say, you have a job that requires physical activity or you actively participate in sports – you need to eat more food (more calories) to stay alive, healthy, and strong enough to be able to function. And this is where math comes in.
If you lead a passive, sedentary lifestyle, you can lose weight by eating fewer calories than your body needs to burn in order to function – it will take the necessary energy from your fat reserves, which will lead to your fat reserves slowly disappearing.
If you are active, your energy consumption rises, which means that your fat reserves will diminish faster if you reduce your calorie intake. So, how many calories do you need to consume in a day? It depends on many things – your age, size, gender, and level of daily activity, among others. But today there are tools to help you find these out pretty easily.
By Stephen Benton
Lose it App