Calculate How Many Calories Should You Eat for Weight Loss
What are calories?
A calorie is a unit of energy. It is used to measure how much energy we get through food consumption and how much energy we expend throughout the day. Your body requires fuel to sustain bodily functions like maintaining blood circulation, breathing, and physical activity1.
Why should you use a calorie calculator?
There are many reasons why you might want to utilize a calorie calculator. For a lot of people, keeping track of their calories is a great way to ensure they are eating the correct amount to support their weight loss goals. Others may just want to ensure they are intaking a diet that is adequate to support their energy needs. Regardless of the reason, using a calculator can help.
Many people believe that everyone should eat roughly 2,000 calories per day. However, this is not always true and different people will have different caloric requirements. Calculating the calories you require can be tricky, as there are various factors to consider. Things like muscle composition, body fat, daily activity, and metabolism can all affect how many calories we burn and need. Additionally, as your body changes, so will your energy requirements. If you are using this calculator for weight loss, it is important to continue using this calculator throughout your journey.
Our calculator aims to simplify the variables and the math regardless of what your goals are. After entering just a few numbers and checking a few boxes, you can have a strong estimate of how many calories you need to intake daily2.
How to use our calculator
Using our calculator to determine your calorie requirements is relatively easy. Just input some personal information to generate a caloric intake estimate. The list below includes step-by-step instructions on how to plug in your information.
Step 1: Select your desired unit of measurement. Imperial means that the measurement is described in terms of pounds, hours, and minutes. Metric means that the measurement is described in terms of kilograms, hours, and minutes.
Step 2: Select your gender.
Step 3: Enter your weight in the unit of measurement selected above.
Step 4: Input your height.
Step 5: Enter your age.
Step 6: Type in your body fat percentage. This field is optional, but it may provide a more accurate estimate if you have it available.
Step 7: Select an option that best describes your activity levels.
Step 8: Click “Calculate”.
Understanding the results
After inputting your information, our calculator will provide you with the number of calories that you may require depending on your goals. The results will display as the calories you should intake daily depending on if you want to maintain your weight, lose weight, or quickly lose weight. Happy with your results? That’s great! If you would like to adjust the calories from what was outputted from the calculator, try changing your activity levels. For example, you could increase the frequency of which you exercise and this may increase your caloric requirements. Playing around with the calculator can help you to tailor your fitness plan to match your weight loss goals.
Explaining related information
Now that you know how many calories you need to eat each day, it is important to understand how different factors can increase or decrease your caloric needs. Knowing these details can help you to make informed decisions about your health and fitness. We outline below how certain aspects of your body composition and activity levels can influence your energy requirements.
Gender: Males typically have a 5 to 10 percent higher caloric requirement than women. This is because men tend to have higher muscle mass and less body fat.
Age: Caloric requirements are typically the greatest at age 25. Every 10 years thereafter, needs decrease by roughly two percent. Additionally, as we age our body replaces muscle with fat.
Body fat: Fat burns less calories than muscle. Therefore, knowing your body composition is important to understanding how many calories you burn and require.
Activity levels: The type, duration, and intensity of physical activity can affect how many calories you burn. It is important to consider the type and frequency of exercise that you do to understand how many calories you burn so that you can adequately replenish them3.
Other calorie calculators
- Hiking Calorie Calculator
- Calories Burned Biking Calculator
- Calorie Deficit Calculator
- Jumping Rope Calories Burned Calculator
- Calories Burned Running Calculator
- Calories Absorbed By Fiber Calculator
- Recommended Calorie Breakdown Calculator
- Calories Burned Today Calculator
- Calories per Day Calculator
- Calorie Composition Calculator
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why will the calculator not recommend a calorie intake of less than 1,000 calories?
While your goal may be to lose weight, your body still requires sufficient amounts of food and nutrients to function and be healthy. Therefore, any intake that is less than 1,000 calories daily is not recommended and could potentially be dangerous. It can cause weight loss too quickly, which is not sustainable. This can lead to rapid regaining of weight upon resuming a normal diet.
Additionally, you would likely develop nutritional deficiencies because you are not consuming enough daily to properly fuel your body. This can cause unwanted side effects due to inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals. Typically, a minimum of 1,200 calories per day is recommended (2).
What are empty calories?
Empty calories are calories that come from food and beverages that lack nutrients. Empty calories still have calories, but they will not provide any nutritional value or fuel. Candy, for example, contains empty calories because it does not contain essential vitamins, minerals, protein, or fiber. Take jelly beans, for example.
Fifteen jelly beans equal roughly 160 calories, most of which comes from sugar. A quarter cup of raisins has 122 calories. Raisins are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber in addition to some sugar. The health benefits of the raisins far exceed those of the candy (4).
It is no secret that maintaining a healthy weight promotes your wellbeing. Whether your goals include weight loss or ensuring adequate nutrient intake, tracking your calorie requirements throughout your journey will help you meet your physical needs. Our calculator takes into account the numerous factors that can affect your caloric needs including gender, weight, height, age, body fat composition, and activity levels. Using a calculator will help you to meet your nutrient, exercise, and weight loss goals quickly and efficiently.
- Weight management: Finding the healthy balance: practical applications for nutrition, food science and culinary professionals. (2013). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-391882-6.00010-8
- How many calories to eat per day calculator. (2021, October 15). Fitness Volt. https://fitnessvolt.com/how-many-calories-per-day/
- Solon-Biet SM, Mitchell SJ, de Cabo R, Raubenheimer D, Le Couteur DG, Simpson SJ. Macronutrients and caloric intake in health and longevity. J Endocrinol. 2015/226(1):R17-R28. dio:10.1530/JOE-15-0173
- Nutrition basics: What is inside food, how it functions and healthy guidelines: the nutrients in foods and beverages in healthy cooking and baking. (2013). Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-391882-6.00001-7
- American Heart Association. Dietary recommendations for healthy children. Reviewed October 16, 2021.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is healthy weight loss?. Reviewed October 17, 2021.
- Henry Ford Health System. Trying to gain weight? These 7 strategies can help. Published July 13, 2020.