The amount of food we consume sustains us through our day and gives us the energy to breathe, concentrate, and perform daily activities. The number of calories you need to take in every day depends on your age, gender, height, and weight--as well as what your goal is: maintain, lose, or gain weight.
Homeostasis means you are in a state of balance. When it comes to calories, this means that you consume what you need, no more and no less. To calculate what you need on a daily basis, you can use a simple equation: 12 x body weight = total calories. So an average man requires somewhere between 2,200 to 2,500 calories daily. An average woman will need 1,500 to 1,800 daily. The minimum estimation is calculated at 8 calories per pound of body weight. So the absolute minimum requirements for men are about 1,800 and 1,200 calories per day for women.
There are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat. This means that if you want to lose one pound of fat per week, you need to eliminate 500 calories each day. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you can lose two pounds per week safely and effectively by reducing calories by 1,000 daily. Any more than this will send your body into fasting mode, shutting down metabolic functions and making your weight-loss program ineffective. You will not lose the weight, and you will regain it much faster when you stop dieting.
In order to gain weight, you simply need to add 500 calories per day to add 1 pound weekly.
Calories in Food
Calories come from the food we eat. Fat has the most calories per gram at 9 calories per gram. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram and proteins contain 4. Carbohydrates contain the fewest with 3.75 calories per gram. This is important to remember as you count calories while eating during the day. Not all food is created equal. If you are looking to reduce calories, you can eat the same amount of food but make better choices among fat, proteins, or carbohydrates.
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