Calories Explained – What Should Be Your Daily Caloric Intake



Talking about something as awfully general as average daily caloric intake on a more specific level is unimaginably difficult a task, but I will try to do my best and explain to you what your daily caloric intake should be in certain situations (depending on whether you want to lose or gain weight). I’m not going to be too technical but there are a few specialized terms I will have to invariably clarify in order to make things even easier to comprehend.

Statistics show that in developed countries today most people are either overweight or obese. This is a natural phenomenon caused by our unnatural foods. At no point in human history has obesity been observed at such an enormous scale (pun intended). Our daily caloric intakes today are bigger than at any other given moment in the past of our species. In the same time, we burn less and less of these calories which makes this a serious problem that needs immediate attention. But first, let’s explain what are these calories I’m talking about. I’m sure all of you have heard about them and have a basic concept of what they are and the inexorable results they lead to when they’re in excess, but very few of you know the actual definition.

What is a calorie?

A calorie is the energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water with one degree Celsius. Pretty simple, right? But that’s not what the you read about on your desert are. What you see on the package of your cereal box, your bread, your cheese and pretty much any type of food is actually kcal/Cal (or kilocalories). This is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water with one degree. This is an important distinction. When we are talking about upping or reducing your calorie intake, we are actually talking about kcal – they are your food calories.

Why do we get fat? 

I will give you a very, very, very simplified version of the answer. The energy levels we consume each day are not natural. Nature doesn’t offer such a huge caloric intake on a daily basis (unless you eat industrial quantities) as your fast food does. During most of human history, we’ve struggled for food, just like many other living organisms. And just like them, when we were armed with a process of storing the excess energy should we find more food than we need somehow. This energy storage is your fat, which is what your body burns if your calorie intake is too low for what it needs. It’s also what it builds up if your intake is too high. We still haven’t adapted to the abundance of food we have and this is why over half of the people in developed countries have weight problems – we simply eat too much.

What should your caloric intake be if you want to lose weight?

Now that it’s all been cleared up, let’s go down to the numbers. Your minimum daily caloric intake should be around 1500 kcal if you’re a man and 1200 kcal if you’re a woman. These numbers are the bare minimum you should be receiving, with 2500 and 2000 respectively being the average values for maintaining your weight. If you’re planning on losing weight, they should be a bit lower than this. The daily caloric intake also depends on your activity but, again statistically speaking, most people don’t exercise regularly, so a caloric intake of about 1600 kcal if you’re an average man and 1400 kcal if you’re an average woman should help you start losing weight. Note: consult your physician first!

What should your caloric intake be if you want to gain weight?

Gaining weight is a bit easier than losing it, actually. All you have to do is consume more calories than you burn. If we get back to the average values for maintaining one’s weight (2500 kcal for men and 2000 kcal for women), your daily intake should be higher than that on a regular basis. Again, this is very dependent on your activity. If you’re very active, for example you run a lot, it might be difficult for you to gain weight without seriously increasing your daily caloric intake. Once more, I advice you to consult your physician before attempting anything!



Author Bio:

Connie is a sports fan and a fitness maniac. She works for  and every free time she has she try to be in the sports center.