What Should My Daily Intake of Calories be?

The daily intake of calories is determined by whether you want to maintain, lose, or gain weight.

There are many other factors, such as gender, age, height, weight, level of activity, and metabolic health, that dictate weight loss.

If weight loss is the goal, start by using a calorie calculator for at least a few days and seeing how many calories you consume.

The three famous equations to predict your BMR (basal metabolic rate) are:

  • Harris-Benedict Formula
  • Katch-McArdle Formula
  • Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation

Despite its origins around a century ago, the Harris-Benedict prediction is still widely used. New predictions like the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation are more accurate because of lifestyle changes.

The difference between the equations of Harris-Benedict and Mifflin-St. Jeor is around 5 percent. In this article, we will discuss how many calories it takes to lose fat.

daily calories intake
Calorie counter smart watch.

What Is A Calorie?

The body uses energy, and this energy comes from the calories we eat through our diet (1).

Calories influence many functions in the body, such as activity level, body temperature, body type, and the quantity of lean muscle mass a person has.

The three main macronutrients your body gets energy from are protein, carbohydrate, and fat.

For example, 1 gram of protein equals 4 calories, 1 gram of carbs equals 4 calories, and 1 gram of fat equals 9 calories.

Daily Calorie Intake

To maintain body weight, men require approximately 2500 calories per day, and women need 2000 calories per day (2).

To lose one pound of weight a week, eat 20–25% fewer calories. If you don’t create a calorie deficit, you will not lose weight.

Limit carbohydrates

To lose body fat, limit your carbohydrate intake to 20% of your overall daily calories.

Cutting carbohydrates will suppress your appetite, and you will end up eating fewer calories.

The low-carb diet, such as the ketogenic diet can cause two- to three-times more weight loss than the low-fat diet (3).

Not only that, it will also provide other health benefits, especially for people with type 2 diabetes.

A low-carb diet doesn’t mean you stop consuming quality fiber-rich foods, focus on dark green vegetables, or eat one unique meal at a time.

Eat more protein

Protein is the king of nutrients for weight loss. The easiest and most effective way to lose weight with little effort is to add protein to your diet.

Proteins enhance your metabolic rate and suppress your appetite. A high-protein diet can increase the calorie-burning process by up to 100 calories per day.

Studies show people who consume 30% of their daily calories from protein consume fewer calories. In addition, protein can reduce snacking (4).

If you want to lose weight, consider increasing your protein consumption. It will not only help you lose weight but will also prevent weight regain if you ever give up on your weight loss plan.

Regular Exercise

If you eat fewer calories, your body will save energy and make you burn fewer calories. Therefore, long-term calorie restriction can reduce the metabolic rate.

Not only that, you will also lose lean muscle mass. The only consistent strategy to prevent lean muscle loss (catabolism) is regular exercise (5, 6).

Exercise prevents a decline in your metabolism during long-term calorie limitation. If you can’t make it to a gym, perform bodyweight exercises at home, such as push-ups and squats.

Some cardio exercises, such as walking, swimming, or jogging, may be important for optimal health and general well-being.

However, regular exercise has many benefits, including increased longevity, a reduced risk of disease, and increased energy.

Calories affect many bodily processes, including activity level, body temperature, body type, and the amount of lean muscle mass. Limiting carbohydrates to 20% of daily calories can reduce weight. Low-carb diets can result in two- to three-fold weight loss and other health benefits, particularly for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Protein is the most effective way to lose weight quickly because it can increase calorie burning by up to 100 calories per day and decrease snacking. Regular exercise has many advantages, including increased longevity, lowered disease risk, and increased energy.


Calorie intake varies according to age, metabolism, and level of physical activity.

Women should consume 2,000 calories per day, whereas men should consume 2,500. To lose weight, create a 25% calorie deficit.

Exercise is also important to preserve lean muscle mass during the weight-loss process.

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