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Calorie Calculator

Calorie Calculator

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen | Fact checked by Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 31, 2022
4 min
Calorie Calculator
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What Are Calories?

A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition, calories refer to the energy we get from drinks and food. When we consume more calories than our body needs, it starts to store the excess calories and body fat.

How Many Calories Should I Be Eating a Day?

Caloric intake can vary from person to person. Some people have a higher caloric need than others. For example, someone who is not very active but is trying to lose weight might do best on a calorie deficit of 2,000 calories or less.

Meanwhile, someone who is young and active, who works out 2 to 3 times per week, might need a higher caloric intake of around 2,500–3,000 calories. The number of calories you should eat in a day may also be affected by your metabolism. 

In general, you can determine your caloric needs with a calorie calculator that takes in important factors like age, gender, height, weight, and level of physical activity. If you’re a very active person, your base caloric need will be much higher than someone who lives a relatively sedentary lifestyle. 

How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day to Lose Weight?

Losing weight by calorie counting is all about how many calories you intake vs. how many calories you burn throughout the day, either through day-to-day activity or working out. 

How many calories someone should eat in order to lose weight depends greatly on their current weight, their physical activity, their age, their metabolism, and how much weight they’re trying to lose. 

In order to lose weight, most people should be aiming to put themselves in a “calorie deficit” of about 500 calories. This means you want to be eating 500 calories less than what your body normally uses in a 24-hour period to sustain your weight.

You can also achieve this calorie deficit with exercise by burning off 500 calories to put yourself into that deficit from your normal daily caloric intake. 

How Many Calories Should I Burn a Day?

Much like the other information about calories, how many calories you need to burn a day in order to lose weight greatly depends on how much weight you’re trying to lose, your starting weight, your energy levels, your age, gender, and your metabolism.

However, there is a neat trick that many people use to get a rough ballpark estimate of how many calories they should be aiming to burn in terms of losing weight. You want to try to burn 12 to 13 calories per pound of weight in order to see weight loss results.

So, for example, if you weigh 180 pounds, your goal for burning calories should be from 2,160 to 2,340 calories. 

Women tend to burn 2,000 calories throughout a 24-hour period even without exercise, and men tend to burn 2,500 calories.

You can give yourself a jumping-off point and put yourself in a calorie deficit of 500 calories through exercise and a healthy diet. 

How to Calculate Calorie Deficit?

In general, in order to lose weight, you should have a calorie deficit of about 500 calories. To do this, you first need to know what your “maintenance calories” are. This means the number of calories that you can consume in a day to perfectly meet your energy needs.

To determine your maintenance calories, you can either use a calculator or track your calories and weight over the course of a week or two. So, let’s say your maintenance caloric intake is 2,300. You will want to consume 500 calories less than that: 1,800 calories a day.

You can also achieve this deficit by upping your workout routine and burning off your 500 calories with vigorous exercise. If you’re working out more, you want to make sure you’re sustaining higher maintenance.

How Many Calories Does Your Body Burn a Day?

Our bodies use calories for energy. Everything we do requires energy, even if it’s just sitting around doing very little all day.

In a 24-hour period, our bodies burn a set number of calories, even without exercise. It’s just the way our bodies work, and these calories help keep everything running.

On average, women burn anywhere from 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day, while men burn anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day. This caloric burn only counts day-to-day activities like walking, chores, eating, cleaning, and even resting. Even if you laid in bed all day long, you’d still burn calories!

This is why people who face starvation continue to lose weight because our bodies are constantly burning calories. How much you burn is dependent on age, weight, activity level, and metabolism. 

Minimum Calories per Day

While losing weight is all about calorie deficits, there’s a safe way to cut calories and a dangerous way. Some fad or crash diets suggest eating 800–1,000 calories a day in order to rapidly lose weight. 

However, this is potentially dangerous and can lead to your body entering starvation mode, which can encourage the body to store fat rather than burn it. 

According to health experts, the minimum number of calories that one should consume in order to remain healthy is 1,200 calories for women and 1,500 calories for men. However, this is a base number, and the actual number of calories you should be eating greatly depends on a number of factors. 

Cutting your calories below the safe level can cause all kinds of health issues, including eating disorders, crashing blood sugar, kidney and liver problems, and even heart problems. If you’re not sure about what the best way to cut calories is, make sure you consult a nutritionist or even talk with your healthcare provider.

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