Discover How Many Calories You Should Eat Per Day

27 October, 2018
Your sex, age, and the physical activity you do every day determine how many calories you should eat per day.

A person’s daily caloric intake is difficult to determine. Although some general parameters exist, the truth is that a person’s age, weight, height, lifestyle, and sex affect that value.

This is the reason why we’re going to talk about what your recommended daily caloric intake is based on the multiple factors we already mentioned.

We’ll also reflect on why that’s the way it is and what affects that number of calories.

Daily Caloric Intake for Women

nutritional facts

Women need a different daily caloric intake depending on their age. However, there are some established values that everyone can adapt to their needs.

Let’s say that doctors recommend eating 2000 calories a day, but you can’t because of your work or certain responsibilities. This shouldn’t frustrate you since the daily caloric intake isn’t that strict.

Now we’re going to describe the calories that women should eat every day based on age and activity level:

  • 19-30 years old: Sedentary women should consume about 1600 to 2000 calories. The ones that do moderate activity should eat up to 2200 and women who do a lot of physical activity can eat up to 2400.
  • 30-50 years old: Sedentary women should consume about 1800 to 2000 calories. If they do moderate activity, they can eat up to 200 calories more and you if they exercise a lot they could add up to 400 more.
  • 50 years old: From this age on, women should eat 1600 calories if they have a sedentary lifestyle, 1800 if they do some kind of moderate activity, and 2200 if they do a lot of exercise.

Discover: 7 Telltale Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

During pregnancy and lactation, you should add 300 calories to all those values. This way, you’ll consume your recommended daily caloric intake.

Daily Caloric Intake for Men

Like women, men need a different daily caloric intake depending on their age and lifestyle. So just like we did with women, let’s see what number of calories men should consume depending on their situation.

  • 19-30 years old: Sedentary men should consume between 2000 and 2400 calories. If they practice a moderate activity, this figure rises to 2600 or 2800. If they exercise a lot, they can eat up to 3000 calories a day.
  • 30-50 years old: Sedentary men should consume about 2,200 calories per day. However, if they do a moderate activity, this figure rises to 2400 or 2600 and, if they do a lot of exercise, to 3000.
  • 50 years old: From this age, men should decrease their caloric intake and only eat up to 2000 calories if they are sedentary, up to 2400 if they have a moderate lifestyle, and up to 2600 if they work out a lot.

As you may have noticed, men need more calories than women.

However, as we’ll discuss below, your goals will also be important in determining your adequate caloric intake.

More Calories, Less Calories

woman thinking about what to eat

What happens when you want to lose weight or gain muscle mass? Your daily caloric intake will suffer some modifications with regard to the above values. However, they can stay the same as long as you change something up.

For example, if I’m a 19-year-old woman who wants to lose weight, I can eat 2000 calories if I do moderate physical activity every day. This way, I’m subtracting about 200 calories and that can benefit me.

If I want to gain weight, I need to eat more calories or not do any physical activity. It’s exactly the same for men.

However, you must bear in mind that counting calories isn’t the only important thing. You must also analyze how healthy those calories are.

For example, if I’m a man and I want to gain muscle mass, increasing my caloric intake won’t be enough. Those calories will also have to be protein-rich and low-fat.

Before you go, make sure you read: Try These 5 Healthy, High-Protein Foods for Breakfast for an Energy-Filled Day

What if you have a hard time gaining weight? You can increase the percentage of fat but beware of the type. We don’t recommend donuts and hamburgers.

Instead, you should consume healthy fats like:

  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Olives
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish

Do you know how many calories you need to eat per day? There are several apps that can help you discover how many calories you eat and what percentage of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins your food contains. They can be very useful.

  • Goldibi S., Daiber A., Korac B., Li H., et al., Health benefits of fasting and caloric restriction. Curr Diab Rep, 2017.
  • Stokes T., Hector AJ., Morton RW., McGlory C., et al., Recent perspectives regarding the role of dietary protein for the promotion of muscle hypertrophy with resistance exercise training. Nutrients, 2018.