Many of us have counted calories to limit our food intake with the goals of attaining an ideal body figure.
Nowadays, it is also quite common to also count grams of carbohydrates and grams of protein.
There is a formula called the basal metabolic rate (BMR) with which you can calculate how many calories you should eat a day to maintain your current or to lose weight.
Here is the formula (one for women, one for men):
655 + (4.35 x your weight in pounds) + (4.7 x your heigh in inches) – (4.7 X your age) = BMR
66 + (6.23 x your weight in pounds) +(12.7 x your heigh in inches) – (6.76 x your age) = BMR
When I calculate my BMR, it equals 1276.
This means that my body will burn 1276 even if I do nothing all day. This energy is sufficient for the functioning of my organs, muscles, etc. This is the amount of calories I need to maintain my current weight.
But being that I am an active individual, I have to multiply 1276 by 1.7, which equals 2,169. This is the amount of calories I would need to intake each day to maintain my current body weight and my current muscle mass.
Keep in mind this formula (Harris-Benedict equations) is a mathematical approximation. It does not take into account each individual’s unique body composition and body and health history. Illness, environmental temperatures, and stress levels can affect one’s level of energy expenditure and overall BMR.
So how many calories should you eat a day?
In the United States, the American Dietetic Association states that for men the average is 2700 calories and for women, it is 2200. Keep in mind that the U.S. has the highest rate of obesity in the world! In the United Kingdom, it is 2500 calories for men and 2000 for women.
Remember, your body is different from your best friend’s body. Work with a nutritionist to find out what your daily caloric needs are. It varies depending on your level of physical activity as well as your health history. Also, what are your health goals? Are you trying to lose 10 pounds or are you trying to bulk up and gain muscle mass? What kinds of food are your kryptonite? These are the questions I ask my clients to help them determine their daily caloric intake.
The same applies to the grams of carbs and protein requirements per day.
If you are trying to build muscle or are body building, you will require way more protein than someone who is trying to just maintain the status quo.
We all need carbohydrates. I will say that low-carb diets aren’t the best. They often cause ketosis in people because the body will burn fat instead of glucose for energy. Studies have also shown that low-carb dieters are the most depressed.
Keep in mind, carbs don’t always mean pasta, bread, cookies, cakes or rice. Did you know that one medium stalk of broccoli has 8 grams of carbs? And that one apple has 34 grams of carbs? One banana has 30 grams of carbs! Carbs are NOT bad for you! There are GOOD carbs that are not refined or processed! Carbohydrates are a necessity in healthy body function!
Calorie counting is not recommended but rather eating a healthy diet is. However, I understand that there are people who need a specific number to follow to help them attain their health goals. And that’s OK!! What works for you may not work for someone else. So for those clients who NEED that caloric number to get them to stick to a meal plan and a workout regiment, then I’m ALL for it and I work with them to get them that number.
Do you need that number to get to your health goals? Do you need to count calories, carbs, and protein?
If you have any more questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org