Fact Check: How Many Calories Should You Consume In A Day? 

How many calories does your body need? (Image via unsplash/Diana Polekhina)
How many calories does your body need? (Image via unsplash/Diana Polekhina)

The age-old debate concerning calorie consumption continues to plague the world of fitness. There are countless myths surrounding this topic, and several myth-busters to counter said myths.

However, is there a perfect amount of calories you can consume to attain your dream physique? In this piece, we'll ascertain exactly how many calories you should eat.


How Many Calories Should You Consume?

The amount of calories you consume is determined by several factors such as age, sex, height, weight, lifestyle, goals, activity levels, etc. There is no exact amount of calories that applies to everyone reading this article.

The number of calories one person consumes might be too little or too much for another. Thus, the goal is to find the demographic you belong to and figure out the daily required amount.

However, there are a few guidelines that can help you establish a starting point. Typically, the average adult male consumes more per day compared to an adult woman. Men typically eat around 2400 calories, whilst women consume around 2000.

Your age also plays a vital role in determining how much you eat. Younger people expend more energy and require more calories. This amount gradually decreases as you grow older, and your body won't need as many of these to sustain itself.

However, the importance of nutrient density increases as you get older, which is why eating clean is so crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Younger individuals can get by just fine by eating a below-average diet, even though it is not advisable to do so.


What else determines your calorie intake?

Factors like your height and weight further help determine your daily calorie requirements. Heavier and taller people will require more calories than lighter, shorter people, even if their lifestyles are the same. This is because more mass = more calorie expenditure, which means that bigger or taller people require more calories just to sustain themselves.

Your lifestyle essentially lays the foundation for how much you eat. Are you someone with a full-time job, working 8 hours a day and traveling from one place to another, and climbing flights after flights of stairs, spending your whole day outdoors?

If any of that applies to you, chances are your body needs more calories than someone who works from home and doesn't leave their house often. If you have a busy lifestyle, try meal-prepping and focus on eating meals regularly while on the go. It'll help you build muscle and stay energized during packed days.


Some more factors that affect your calorie intake

Are you looking to bulk up? Shed some pounds? Get stronger? Or are you just trying to maintain the physique you currently have? Whatever your goal is, it goes hand-in-hand with the number of calories you consume.

If you're trying to build muscle, you'll need to eat in a calorie surplus. This means that the total amount of calories you consume will have to be greater than the calories you expend, thereby creating a surplus.

To lose weight, you'll need to enter a calorie deficit, eating less than what you burn. Getting stronger typically means you will still be eating more, as your muscles will need more nutrients from your diet to recover.

For maintenance, simply eat at your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), which is the exact amount of calories you need to maintain your present body weight.

Your activity levels, much like your lifestyle, will help you decide how much you need to eat in a day. If your activity level lies in the sedentary range, your body will not need as many calories to sustain itself. This is because most of the energy you need during your activity will be sourced from the smaller meals you're eating.

If you remain active throughout the day and frequently exercise, you will need more calories to support your activity levels. The rules are simple, the more you do, the more you burn.


Takeaway

As mentioned previously, there is no fixed amount of calories that everyone can consume. The number of calories you require fluctuates depending on a multitude of factors.

The smart thing to do is to plan your days and budget your calories wisely, depending on how active you expect yourself to be. It also depends on whether you'll be spending your time doing nothing, or walking for several miles.

Figure out where you are at the moment, and then look at where you want to be. Your goals for the future, coupled with your current physique, will help you come to a halfway point in terms of how much you should be eating.

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