In our aspiration of getting those ripped abs, many of us get too obsessed about counting calories!
But, how many calories do you actually need to consume a day?
Are you sure you take into account all the factors that stand behind your daily calorie intake?
How do you know what is best for you?
Well, read further to find out!
What are calories?
From a nutritional point of view, calories are the international unit of food energy. The more energy we take in, the more likely it is to gain weight. This is why, the number of calories consumed is an important factor for people who are looking to lose or gain weight.
However, the body uses energy differently throughout the day. Our energy levels depend on many factors such as age, height, lifestyle, and overall health.It is important that these factors are taken into consideration when constructing a diet plan and calculating your daily calorie intake.
How to calculate daily calorie intake?
Determining how many calories you need to consume on a daily basis comes down to calculating how much energy you use. Here are the basics.
- 60-75% of your caloric expenditure go to keeping your body functioning properly
- 10% go to digesting food
- 25% go to physical activity
A popular tool commonly used by nutritionist to calculate the caloric requirements of people is the Harris-Benedict equation, which takes into account all the above factors we mentioned earlier. Here are the equations for both genders:
- Male: 66.5 – 13.8 x (Weight in kg) + 5 x (Height in cm) – 6.8 x age
- Female: 655.1 – 9.6 x (Weight in kg) + 1.9 (Height in cm) – 4.7 x age
Multiply the number you get by 1.2 for sedentary lifestyle, 1.3 for moderately active lifestyle and 1.4 for active lifestyle, and you get an estimate of your daily calorie consumption. Yes, that’s right – it is only an estimate. Keep in mind that it may be different depending on other factors such as health conditions.
Good Calories vs Empty Calories
You should know that there are good and empty calories. Sounds crazy, right? Well, let us explain…
The truth is that it is not only about the number of calories you consume, it is also about the nutritional density of those calories. These two go hand in hand.
Empty calories refer to foods rich in calories but have no nutritional value (things like sugar, fats, and alcohol). Think about fizzy drinks – they are packed with sugar and tons of calories but they do nothing but add to poor health and weight gain. Keep in mind that beverages labeled as low-calorie often contain the same amount of sugar!
On the other hand, nuts, for instance, are very rich in fats and contain many calories. However, they do also have a high nutritional value, which is why they are often included as snack options in many diet plans.
Next time you plan your diet,make sure you think twice about the type of foods you’d like to include!
Tips on Consuming Good Calories
Everyone can learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle and choose their foods wisely. Here are a few ways that you can make a difference to your diet.
- Keep your portions small. Learn how to manage your portions. Go through the exercise of weighing your food for a week. This will help you get used to eating just the right amount of food you need.
- Eat regular meals. Turning your eating habits into a routine can help you burn calories more effectively and prevent unnecessary snacking. Don’t even think about skipping breakfast! Many say that it’s actually the most important meal of the day, which supercharges you for energy and keeps you full for longer.
- Choose your food wisely. Food rich in nutrients will fill you up a lot better than a chocolate bar. Always think about nutrition before eating – this will help you evaluate your options better.
- Eat slowly. It takes about 20 mins for the brain to realize that you are full. If you rush too much, you are likely to consume way more food than you actually need and end up getting a bloated stomach.
- Drink water. Water is always good – it is super beneficial for your health, has no calories and works amazing filling you up! In fact, hunger can often be confused with thirst, so make sure you drink enough water. It will help you digest food as well! If you crave sweet drinks, 100% natural fruit juices can be a great option.
- Avoid eating just before bed time. Going to bed with full stomach can affect sleep quality and promote weight gain. Avoid this by giving yourself enough time to digest the food before jumping into bed. Make sure you leave a time frame of at least 2 hours before you doze off to dreamland.
Calculating the calories you consume can be useful in maintaining or adjusting your body weight. There are many food tracking applications that can help you do this. The only thing it takes is motivation and desire to change your lifestyle for the better!