It’s no secret that the consumption of high-calorie foods contributes to weight gain. Yet, not everyone knows the answer to the question – “How many calories you should eat to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight?”.
There are many paid and free calorie calculators, which will clue you in the amount of calories you should eat a day to lose weight. However, not all calorie calculators show correct results, so not all of them can be trusted.
You may find many different calorie calculators on websites or download them from the App Store or Google Play. Top online calorie counters are based on scientific formulas and take into account various factors, such as gender, age and level of physical activity.
The 5 Best Calorie Counter Apps
- MyFitnessPal / iPhone app / Android app / Official website / MyFitnessPal Review
- Lose It! / iPhone app / Android app / Official website / Lose It! Review
- FatSecret / iPhone app / Android app / Official website / FatSecret Review
- Cron-o-meter / iPhone app / Android app / Official website / Cron-o-meter Review
- SparkPeople / iPhone app / Android app / Official website / SparkPeople Review
Right now, you may read the review of the best online calculators for Apple and Android Apps, which may be useful for you to count the calories. Yet, before you start counting calories, make sure that you are overweight and you really need to reduce body weight.
To understand, whether you are overweight or obese or not, use the online calculator to determine body mass index (BMI).
To determine the exact BMI, US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you use a reliable and proven:
If your BMI ranges from 18.5 to 24.9, it means that you have a healthy weight, and you do not need a special diet and daily calorie count.
If your BMI is equal to or more than 25, you are overweight, which you may reduce through different methods, including by reducing caloric value of your daily diet.
Calculate your BMI in a few steps!
Distribution of BMI categories by age
- Healty weight
- Extremely Obese
- Healty weight
- Extremely Obese
- Healty weight
- Extremely Obese
- Healty weight
- Extremely Obese
BMI is a simple and intuitive body fatness indicator, which will help you quickly figure your weight class. BMI for children is calculated according to the same formula, as for adults. However, sex and age of the child should be taken into account, when calculating the BMI for children.
How to calculate the caloric needs of men and women?
The National Academy of Medicine (US) proposes to evaluate the daily caloric value for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors with a special table.
The data presented in the table indicate that:
Adult women should consume 1600 to 2400 calories per day.
Adult men should consume 2000 to 3000 calories per day.
This data can be trusted, but they are incomplete. The table indicates the daily caloric needs, but does not indicate the individual need for micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Therefore, the table can be seen as a trusted source of information, but planning a healthy diet with the help of this table is impossible.
For a more reliable identification of the need for calories and nutrients, you may use the online calculator for Health Care Professionals, which is capable of calculating and presenting results that are more accurate.
Using this calculator, you will be able to find out how many calories, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds are recommended to be consumed namely for your height, weight, sex, age, BMI, and physical activity.
How to calculate the balance between the intake and the expenditure of calories?
After calculating the individual needs for calories and useful nutrients, you may proceed to the next stage of the plan for reducing the calorie intake.
Once you know how many calories you need to eat throughout the day to maintain a healthy weight, you need to know how many calories you consume today.
For a fast calories calculation, make a list of foods that you eat every day, and find out the caloric content of these products with the help of the user-friendly interactive program Food-A-Pedia.
Using this online program, you may find out and compare the calorie content of almost all the foods that you consume during the main meals and snacks.
After counting the number of calories that you eat today, compare the result with the recommended calorie needs for your body.
Thus, you will learn how many excessive calories you consume on a daily basis, and you may move on to the next stage of reducing the calorie value of your daily diet.
How to reduce your calorie intake without starving?
To stick to a low calorie diet without experiencing excruciating hunger, you need to focus on the diversity and balance of your diet.
There are several main groups of nutrients that each person should consume daily, in optimal quantities.
1. Carbohydrates - this is one of the main sources of calories and energy for your body.
Body need for carbohydrates for an adult is 45% to 65% of the total daily caloric value (approximately 200-250 grams of carbohydrates per day).
Only “healthy” carbohydrates are recommended to be consumed. You may find these in vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals, legumes, seeds and milk.
Fruits and vegetables that in addition to carbohydrates contain large quantities of water and fiber are particularly valuable for your health. Water and dietary fiber contain virtually no calories, but increase satiety.
Therefore, the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables will help you get healthy carbohydrates and feel full even after a relatively low calorie intake.
Sweets, desserts, sweet drinks also are a rich source of carbohydrates. However, unlike natural carbohydrates, packed and refined carbohydrates contain an excessive amount of calories, which accumulate in the body in the form of body fat.
2. Protein is no less important for the normal functioning of the body than carbohydrates.
The minimum body need for the proteins ranges from 10 to 30% of the daily caloric intake, but not less than 50 grams per day.
As a protein source, you should use plant products (seeds, cereals, fruits, vegetables) and animal products (poultry, meat, fish, egg, milk).
When developing a diet plan, you have to remember that only animal protein contains the entire spectrum of essential acids, required for a normal metabolism.
Therefore, if you support vegetarian diet, you should understand that by limiting the intake of animal protein, you limit the intake of essential amino acids, without which the maintenance of normal metabolism and healthy weight loss is impossible.
If you completely exclude protein from your diet, you will begin to lose muscle mass, your immune system will deteriorate, and the diseases of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems may start developing.
Therefore, under no circumstances should you try to reduce the intake of calories just by reducing protein intake, and be sure to consume foods of animal origin.
3. Dietary fats is the third mandatory nutrient in your daily diet.
The acceptable range of fat intake ranges from 20 to 35% of total daily caloric intake.
Fats not only give energy to your body, but also help it to absorb vitamins. Therefore, you should not give up fatty food, but the consumption of “bad” fats should be limited.
“Bad” fats are fats that quickly raise cholesterol levels in the body. This type of fats includes dairy product solids, lard, partially hydrogenated oils, and foods fried in vegetable or animal fat.
“Bad” fats assist to your weight gain and create potential risks to the cardiovascular system. So, try to limit the consumption of “bad” fats and replace them with dietary fats with low content.
The lowest levels of cholesterol are characteristic for natural vegetable oils, including olive oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and sesame oil. Regardless of the fats you prefer, try to consume them without a preliminary heat treatment.
4. Drinking water - as the basis for a healthy metabolism.
Two-thirds of the human body consists of water. Therefore, you should consume enough water, at least 2.5 liters per day for the normal functioning of every cell in your body.
Your body gets the water from all liquid products, as well as vegetables and fruits. Yet, the best source of liquid for the body is the non-carbonated water:
- without sugar and preservatives;
- without fruit syrups and concentrates.
Despite the fact that water is the basis of alcoholic beverages, they should not be considered a source of liquid. After all, alcohol has a strong diuretic effect. Therefore, your body loses more fluid, when you consume alcohol, than the actual alcoholic drink contained.
Drinking water does not contain calories, so you may consume it in large quantities throughout the entire day. With daily consumption of large quantities of water, your appetite will significantly reduce, and you will automatically start consuming less calories.
Drink water every time you are thirsty, and do not forget to take a bottle of water with you, if you know that in the next few hours you will not have access to a water source or a store.
If you lead an active lifestyle, exercise, and often perspire, you should increase your fluid intake to prevent dehydration. You should also remember that your body rapidly burns excessive calories during the exercise.
- Therefore, when developing a diet plan for calorie intake reduction, consider the role of physical activity in the process of transforming food calories into energy.
Different types and levels of physical activity have different effects on the rate of burning calories in your body. Use Get Moving! Calculator and find out how exercising may help you burn extra calories until they turn into the hated fat deposits.
Calorie intake restriction, evidence-based balanced diet and physical activity – will become the three key factors for success, which will provide you with short-term and long-term weight loss without exhausting diets, painful starvation, and side effects.