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Average Daily Calorie Requirements

Ever wondered the amount of calories we need per day? How much do we need to stay healthy? This article is an attempt to answer all those queries.
Calorie seems to be a very controversial word, for those who want to lose weight, everything is weighed and consumed as per the quantity, and for those trying to gain weight, everything is weighed and consumed as per the quantity, again. Then there is this big debate about good and bad calories. Calories, it seems can color plenty of pages with loads of information. But while we are worried about the quantity of calories consumed, it should not come at the cost of our health. Before moving on to the calorific requirements, let's understand the role calories play in ensuring our health.

Calories

A calorie is a unit of energy. By this, it is meant that the calorie consumed is basically the energy consumed, and the calories stored in our body is the stored energy. The source of energy is food, energy is very important for smooth functioning of all organs in the body. Calories source is calculated according to the quantity of carbohydrates, proteins and fat consumed. When we consume food, the calories get converted to energy.

If we need calories, why is it that the first thing doctors and dietitians ask an individual is, to reduce calorie intake to lose weight? This is a question often asked by many individuals. Calories are neither good nor bad, what happens to the calories stored in our body is what makes it healthy or unhealthy for us. Calories or energy has to get burned, so when an individual does not burn it and continues to eat food that adds more calories it gets converted to fat, and subsequently leads to diseases and weight gain.

Recommended Daily Allowance for Calories

How many calories an individual needs is difficult to asses. As gender, age, genes, metabolic rate, lifestyle and body size all come into play while determining normal daily calorie requirements. For younger children growth hormones are on a complete fast track, which tends to reduce as children reach adulthood. Following is a table that gives the recommended daily allowance (RDA), subjected to variation as per an individual's lifestyle and other criteria.

Toddlers: 1300 calories (similar for girl and boy)

Children: 1970 calories (similar for both male and female)

Adults:
  • Male - 2700 calories
  • Female - 2000 calories
One can calculate the amount of calories an individual requires, and measure it against the calories one consumes. Knowledge about your basal metabolic rate will come in handy. Keep a tab on the food you eat and the way it's cooked to get an approx calorie count. If you need to lose weight, reduce high calorific foods, and if you are planning to add weight then consume high calorific foods. But reducing or increasing calories must be done in a prescribed manner upon consultation with your health care provider.

Make sure you consume required amount of calories everyday. Your body surely needs calories and its share of fats, primarily to cushion body parts against hurt and shock, but at the same time the body does not need excess.
By Loveleena Rajeev
Published: 2/18/2010
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