A calorie, also known as a kilocalorie, is a unit of measurement of the thermal energy needed to increase 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. So the more calories a food contains, the more energy it provides. Therefore, the amount of calories is decisive for the daily energy intake. But how do I know how many calories my body needs each day? Can calculating calories help you lose weight?
How is calorie consumption calculated?
In order to know how many calories you should be integrating into your diet each day, it is advisable to know how your consumption is composed.
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) = basal metabolic rate
How many calories do you burn per day without exercise? This can be calculated using the resting metabolic rate. RMR is the energy you consume when you are completely still for a day, on an empty stomach and at room temperature. This energy is important for maintaining the basic functions of the body, eg. B. brain function, respiration or the immune system. Consumption depends on age, sex, size, muscles (lean mass) and genetics. Basal metabolic rate for women is often around 1,500 kcal. Men, on the other hand, are slightly taller: they should have at least 1,700 calories in their daily diet to cover their basal metabolic rate. As men and women move, their energy needs also increase.
Keep reading: Here’s what happens when you only eat 500 calories a day >>
Thermal effect of food (TEF)
Digesting, absorbing and storing food and nutrients requires energy. On average, an additional 10 percent energy consumption for food metabolism can be added to the basal metabolic rate. The individual macronutrients, on the other hand, have different TEF values:
- Fat: 0-3%
- Carbohydrates: 5-10%
- Proteins: 20-30%
- Alcohol: 10-30%
example: Out of 300 kcal of protein, 60 to 100 kcal are required for metabolism. In the case of carbohydrates, however, with the same caloric intake they are around 15-30 kcal.
Thermal effect of activity (TEA)
This means the energy that is generated during sports and conscious movement, eg. B. walking, it wears out. Depending on the type of sport and the intensity, consumption is made up of this.
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
NEAT describes the consumption of unconscious movements in daily life. This can be fidgeting with your feet, typing on your computer, or queuing at the cash register. NEAT makes up the majority of daily calorie consumption.
Calorie Calculator: Determine calorie needs with the Harris-Benedict formula
Calorie needs can be determined using formulas, calorie counts, and apps. The best known and simplest formula for calculating basal and performance turnover is this Harris-Benedetto formula:
Basal metabolic rate for women = 655.1 + (9.6 x body weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
basal metabolic rate for men = 66.47 + (13.7 x body weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
For a 1.65 m tall woman, weighing 60 kg and 35 years old, the basal metabolic rate is about 1364 kcal.
To calculate the total calorie requirement, the basic turnover must be multiplied by the so-called PAL value.
|Physical activity||PAL value|
|sitting / lying activities only||1.2|
|Sedentary activity only (office work), with little physical activity in free time||1.4 – 1.5|
|Predominantly sedentary activity, some walking or standing activity with a moderate amount of sport||1.6 – 1.7|
|Mainly walking / standing activity with a moderate amount of sport||1.8 – 1.9|
|Physically demanding work with many leisure activities||2.0 – 2.4|
People who train 5-6 times a week can add 0.2 to the PAL value.
For the woman calculated above, with a PAL value of eg. B. 1.4 – 1.5 a total turnover between 1909 and 2046 kcal per day.
Read also: 13 reasons why you don’t lose weight – despite a calorie deficit >>
Determine calorie needs with calorie counts
Determining calorie consumption by counting calories is a little more complex than the formula.
- Track your daily calorie intake for two to four weeks and weigh yourself at the same time each day. Record the results, e.g. B. in an app like MyFitnessPal.
- Calculate all caloric values, eg. B. 28,000 kcal, for the period and divide by the number of days. Two weeks is 14 days. This would result in a daily consumption of 2000 kcal per day.
- Now add all the weight values of a week to calculate the average weight for the week, e.g. B. 490 kg. In this case it is 70 kg. Also calculate the second week. In this case it is a total of 495 kg. Divided by 7 days, an average of 70.7 kg per day is obtained.
- Since 1 kg of fat is about 7000 kcal, we can say that in two weeks there was a caloric surplus of 4900 kcal (0.7 kg x 7000 kcal). This corresponds to a daily surplus of 350 kcal. In order not to gain weight, but to maintain weight, one should have eaten 350 kcal less per day instead of 2000 kcal, or 1650 kcal.