A calorie calculator can help you monitor your daily calorie intake. Learn more about how it works and its benefits.
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One of the first questions that most people ask when they start a new diet is, “How much food should I eat in a day?” If you are on a diet but unable to lose weight, you may be eating too much or too little. One of the easiest ways to get an accurate estimate of how much you should be eating is by using a Calorie Calculator. Read ahead to get an overview of this tool.
Calorie calculation is primarily done by considering the following.
Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Your level of activity
The thermogenic effect of food (energy required to digest food)
You can use the calculator mentioned on the American Cancer Society’s website to calculate your daily caloric requirement.
In general, the parameters required for the calculation are as follows.
Height (in cm)
Weight (in kg)
Note: This calculator provides a close estimation of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and not the exact value.
Now once you have estimated BMR, you can calculate your daily caloric need by multiplying it with a value that depends on your level of activity. This is illustrated in the following table.
Daily Caloric Need
Little or no exercise
BMR X 1.2
Exercise one to three times per week
BMR X 1.375
Exercise four to five times per week
BMR X 1.55
Daily exercise or intense exercise three to four times per week
BMR X 1.725
Intense exercise six to seven times per week
BMR X 1.9
A calorie is a unit of energy. When we count calories, we are essentially counting the amount of energy that can be derived from a particular item of food. We derive calories from the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats we consume in our diet. Different kinds of food have different concentrations of calories and can be classified as follows.
High-calorie foods or calorie-dense foods are those in which even a small portion has a large number of calories. The most common examples of high-calorie foods include fried food, desserts, oil, etc. Not all high caloric food items are inherently bad; for example, foods like nuts, whole grains, avocado, etc., are high caloric items that are healthy and can be frequently consumed in moderation.
Low-calorie foods include vegetables and some fruits such as watermelon, which have a lower proportion of calories relative to a portion size. They are usually nutrient dense and low in calories.
Empty calories refer to items that just have calories, with little to no nutritive components. Items like refined sugar and alcohol are prime examples of this.
The minimum amount of calories required by an individual per day is 1000-1500 kcal/day. Consuming lower than this is not advisable as it can severely compromise your health.
Eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, avoiding empty calories & high-calorie foods, and proper exercise are considered the cornerstones of weight loss. It is not advisable to drastically drop your daily caloric intake below 1000 kcal/day as this can result in loss of muscle mass and not fat, which is not at all desirable. When you lose muscle mass, your BMR decreases, i.e., your metabolism slows down. You are also prone to dehydration, another dangerous entity when attempting severe weight loss. Hence a reasonable target for weight loss must be maintained and followed so as to not compromise your health in the process.
Calorie counting is a helpful tool to manage your dietary intake, as well as lose weight. It can help you understand how to eat food in a manner where it does not impede your efforts like exercising, but rather support it in the goal of losing weight.
Maintaining a calorie deficit (which is when you are consuming fewer calories than your daily requirement) must be done in an appropriate fashion, preferably with the help of your dietitian or doctor.
When you maintain a calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time, your body gets used to the low energy input, and your metabolism will adjust accordingly. When this happens, weight loss is impeded and you will enter a plateau phase.
Each of our metabolisms is unique, as is the way our body responds to food. Our gut health can also differ from each other. Some individuals may therefore develop bowel issues and nutritional deficiencies when embarking on calorie deficit diets.
Many fad diets come and go out of fashion. This cycle of losing and gaining weight, according to some studies, can contribute to the development of insulin resistance, diabetes, and hypertension in some individuals.
Calorie counting can often become an obsessive practice and can have a detrimental effect on one’s mood when a particular goal is not met, or if the practice doesn’t behave the same way for their body as it does for someone else. This can lead to the development of depression, eating disorders like anorexia & bulimia, and can greatly impact the quality of your life.
It is therefore important that this is done under proper guidance, with regular check-ups at intervals to ensure your health is not being compromised.
The caloric value of food is derived mainly from its macronutrients. Carbohydrates provide four calories/gram, protein offers four calories/gram, and fat gives nine calories/gram. These values can be used to calculate the total calories in food.
The daily caloric requirement of each body is different. Consult a dietitian to ensure that you are consuming a nutrient-rich diet with sufficient calories.
Note that the quality of one’s food consumption is just as important as quantity, and this can greatly affect one’s goals when dealing with weight management.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.