Humans require calories for several bodily functions, such as breathing and blood circulation. On average, we need between 1,600 and 2,300 calories to function daily. Calories are found in food items and act as fuel for the human body. They measure the energy released when your body absorbs and digests food.
As such, food items and drinks are two of the significant ways through which people lose or gain weight. If you’re looking to do either, one of the ideas you must have come across is to reduce or increase your calorie intake. A calorie calculator can be helpful when trying to figure out your calorie intake.
So here is a guide to calories and calorie intake.
What are Calories?
In simple terms, calories are the amount of energy we consume in food items and drinks. This energy is released into our bodies and can easily be measured. We use this energy in our daily routine, which encompasses everything our body performs, from breathing to walking, exercising, and even sleeping. The more physical activity we engage in, the more calories we consume.
Our body stores excess calories as fat, which contributes to increased body weight over time. Similarly, when we limit our calorie intake, we will experience weight loss over time. While working on calorie intake is confirmed as a way to reduce or gain weight, some people get confused about how many calories to burn or increase.
There is no general answer to the questions about how many calories we need to burn or gain fat. This lack of a generally accepted figure is because each person’s body type and daily routines differ. What works for you will most probably not work for another person.
How Many Calories Does Your Body Need?
BMR that is, Basal Metabolic Rate, refers to the number of calories needed for the body to perform essential functions. This unit depends on various factors such as age, weight, height, sex, lifestyle, and overall health.
It is common to calculate your BMR when trying to gain, lose or maintain body weight. There is a formula available for calculating this metabolic rate. You will need age, gender, weight, and height information to use the formula.
For women, calculate your BMR using the formula: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years). If you are a man, use the formula: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years). You can also use one of the numerous BMR calculators online for quicker input and answers.
To know the estimated amount of calories you need to function properly each day, after checking your BMR, you can include the number of calories you burn each day based on your lifestyle. If you get minimal to zero exercises, multiply your BMR by 1.2. If you exercise lightly between one to three days a week, multiply your BMR by 1.375. If you exercise moderately between three to five days weekly, multiply your BMR by 1.55. And, if you’re very active and engage in heavy exercises daily, multiply your BMR by 1.725.
The final number you get is the estimated amount of calories you need daily to maintain your weight. However, remember that other factors like your body composition and weight history can affect this figure.
How To Cut Down On Calories
If you want to maintain your current weight or lose some extra fat, you can cut down your calories using some techniques.
The first technique is to replace high-calorie snacks with low-calorie snacks. Most people pick up a snack or two after every meal, and although it is perfectly normal to do this, you should not indulge in the practice if you’re looking to cut down on calories. A wise decision will be to replace high-calorie snacks with lower ones. There are healthier options for your favorite snacks. For example, if you’re taking a burger, removing the bun will reduce about 160 calories intake and more if it’s bigger.
The second technique is to use less sauce or replace the creamy sauce with a tomato-based sauce. Adding barbecue sauce or mayonnaise to your meal increases your calorie intake. Scientists have proven that one tablespoon of mayonnaise in your meal adds an extra 57 calories to your body. If you cannot cut down on sauces, choose a tomato-based sauce like salsa instead of a creamy sauce and watch your calories begin to reduce.
Another helpful technique is to avoid drinking calories. If you’re one to read the ingredients on food labels, it will be easy to spot healthy options. A 16-ounce flavored latte contains 250 calories or more, and a 12-ounce regular soda contains about 150 calories. A few drinks will significantly increase the calories you consume without you even noticing. Instead, replace drinks with water, black coffee, or unsweetened fruit juice. It would also be best if you acquired a juice maker.
Also, reducing or avoiding alcohol is an excellent way to cut down on calories. Alcohol has no nutritional benefit. When consumed, it can contribute up to 300 calories to your body, especially when mixed with sweeteners, fruit juice, or heavy cream. If you have trouble cutting down on alcohol entirely, an alternative will be to choose a glass of wine containing about 120 calories or a light beer with about 103 calories.
Lastly, avoid unhealthy junk food. Say no to fries, thick crusts of pizza, and fried chicken, as they add loads of unhealthy calories and unsaturated fat to your meal. Replace them with grilled, poached, or boiled food. A large bowl of fries can add up to 500 calories to your food. You can substitute this with a vegetable salad. Pizza is also a popular fast food that is very high in calories. If you enjoy eating pizza, you can substitute thick crusts for thinner ones and replace the beef toppings and extra cheese with more vegetables. That way, you can easily prevent yourself from consuming more calories than you should.
Cardio is a great way to start losing calories. If you work all day, look into a treadmill desk to help you burn calories throughout the day without having to lose time.