How Many Calories Should I Consume? All About Your Daily Intake of Calories

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What Impacts Your Ideal Daily Intake of Calories?

There are several factors that affect the daily intake of calories you will need in order to maintain your weight. Your age, height, weight and gender all contribute to your metabolism. For example, a young adult usually burns many more calories without even moving than he or she will two or three decades in the future (about 200 more a day), and much less than he or she will after the age of 50 (about 400 more a day). Females tend to need about 400 calories fewer than males each day, and your starting body mass index (BMI), which is based on your height and weight, can impact how quickly the calories are metabolized as well.

Although all of the above factors are out of your control, there is one important factor that you can control when it comes to your daily calorie intake. The amount of exercise that you do during the day is inversely proportional to the number of calories you should consume each day. In other words, the more you exercise, the more calories you can consume without gaining weight. For example, a person who is relatively sedentary may stay at the same weight when consuming 1700 calories a day, whereas if that person would start exercising religiously, that same diet would cause noticeable weight loss.

Daily Calories Needed for Weight Loss

For people to lose weight, they need to eat even fewer calories than they would need to maintain their weight. How many fewer calories? A good estimate is that it takes a deficit of about 3500 calories in order to lose one pound. That means that if you want to lose a pound of weight each week, you will need to eat 500 fewer calories each day than you need to maintain your weight. You should not try to lose more than two pounds of weight each week, because doing so can risk forcing your body to break down muscle instead of fat. (Because muscles are what burn calories even when you are at rest, breaking down your muscles will only sabotage your weight loss.)

How to Determine Ideal Daily Calorie Intake

Before you start using nutrition labels to count just how many calories you are consuming, you will need to find a way to calculate the calorie intake necessary in order for you to maintain weight. Luckily, there are several online calculators that you can use to make this calculation. Just put your information into a calculator, such as this one from the Mayo Clinic, and find out what your daily intake of calories should be.


American Heart Association. “Know How Many Calories You Should Eat.”

BMR Calculator. “How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day?”

This post is part of the series: Facts About Optimum Nutrition

Confused about how to stay as healthy as possible? This series of articles contains facts about optimum nutrition, including how many calories you will need to consume each day in order to maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Daily Intake of Calories: What You Need to Know
  2. Are School Lunches Contributing to the Development of Diabetes in Children?