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How many calories should I eat a day?
20 Oct 2021
How many calories should I eat a day? image

Table of Contents

What is calorie in a food?
What do calories do to your body?
What affects calorie needs?
What is the best time to eat?
What are empty calories and why should you avoid them?

Calories is a commonly heard word especially for those who are concerned about physical health. But what is the appropriate amount of calories we should intake daily? This is a common doubt. 

In this article, we are going to give you a clear idea of the proper amount of calorie intake. So that the next time you plan your diet you will not be confused.

What is calorie in a food?

Before knowing the proper amount of calorie intake, let us have a look at the term calorie. Let us not make it complicated. In simple words, a calorie is a unit of energy. It is the amount of energy that we get while we eat food and drinks.

Most of us have a thought that calories are only associated with food. But the fact is everything that has energy contains calories. Let us consider an example. 1kg of coal contains about 7,000,000 calories! Such a huge amount right.

A calorie is usually classified into two. They are:

1. A small calorie(cal)

Small calorie or cal is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree celsius.

2. A large calorie(kcal)

Large calorie or kcal is the amount of energy required to raise 1 kilogram (kg) of water by 1º C. It is also known as a kilocalorie.

What do calories do to your body?

The basic idea is that we all need calories so that our bodies will get enough energy. Our body needs a specific amount of energy to work and function properly.

When we do not intake sufficient food that contains calories, our body will not get enough energy. As a result, our cells would not function properly, our internal organs stop their function and ultimately it results in serious health issues and even death.

To have a healthy life we need to consume only enough calories demanded by our body. Both high and low-calorie consumption can lead to health problems. 

What affects calorie needs?

Not everyone requires the same amount of calories. Everyone in your family, among your friends, needs a different amount of calories according to the needs of their body to function properly. Some of the factors which determine calorie intake are:

1. Age

We all need more calories at the growing age. Childhood is the basement of our body’s growth. So sufficient energy is required by our body to function and to grow.

2. Lifestyle

Normally, people who are into physical work need more calories. Let us take an example of an athlete and a person working in an office. The athlete needs more calories to meet his/her daily energy needs.

3. Physical size

Physical size defines the shape, weight, and height of your body. If you are tall or have a good physique then you need more calorie intake than those who are short or slim in body size.

Besides, there are many other factors such as:

  • Hormones
  • Gender
  • Medications you are using
  • Hormonal status
  • Pregnancy
  • Dieting structure
  • Genetics

So it is very important to decide and plan your diet according to your body’s requirements. Everyone’s physique and the work they do vary. So the number of calories that you intake should be ruled by those factors.

What is the best time to eat?

You may be wondering about the above question. What is the relation between the time you eat food and calories? The time that we consume food is very important as it determines the utilization of calories in our bodies.

Studies show that the breakfast that we eat should contain 700kcal. This meal is very ideal for supporting weight loss. Heavy breakfast in the morning is also useful in reducing the risk of diabetes, cholesterol, and heart attacks.

What are empty calories and why should you avoid them?

Are you familiar with the term ‘empty calories? Empty calories are those calories that provide energy but very less energy. Most of us are fond of foods containing added sugars. But they all contain empty calories and are unhealthy.

Some of the foods that have empty calories include:

  • Icecreams
  • Cakes
  • Pastries
  • Cheese
  • Pasta
  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Bacon

These food items can do no favor if you wish to have a proper diet with the right calorie levels. Consuming these foods regularly can also make you unhealthy.
The bottom line is to know the requirements of your body. You should not consume extra or very-low-calorie level foods. So If you have any doubts about the correct calorie intake level required for you, consult a dietician as soon as possible

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