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So How Many Calories Should You Eat a Day?

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Before you determine how many calories you should eat a day, it’s important to understand why you need calories.




On average, adult men need about 2,500 calories a day while adult women need about 2,000, but there is no single number of calories that is right for everyone. There are, however, formulas that can help you figure out the general range that’s right for you.


That number depends on whether you want to maintain, lose, or gain weight. It also relies on various factors such as your gender, age, height, current weight, activity level, and metabolic health.


Before you determine how many calories you should eat a day, it’s important to understand why you need calories.


We use the energy from food (aka calories) to live and breathe, grow and repair cells, circulate blood, and adjust hormone levels, and for many other processes that hum away even when we’re parked on the couch.


These functions make up our basal metabolic rate (BMR), also called resting metabolism. This is the minimum number of calories you should consume each day; dipping below that number can actually sabotage your weight-loss efforts.


Of course, physical activity - whether we’re talking about mundane tasks like folding laundry or more vigorous endeavors like going for a run - burns additional energy. And genes, hormones, and gut bacteria also play a role in how your body uses calories, Angelone says.


So how many calories do you need each day? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for this - it depends on your age, your size, how much muscle you have, your activity level, and your weight goals.



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