How Many Calories Should You Eat Per Day to Lose Weight?

Reducing the number of calories you eat per day can be an effective system of weights loss method ( 1 ). however, figuring out precisely how many calories you should be eating can be slippery, as it frequently depends on a variety of factors, including your historic period, sex, size, and activeness level, among others. Below is a bare scientific calorie calculator, along with five evidence-based tips on how to sustainably reduce your calorie intake.

insert your details in the calculator below to figure out how many calories you should be eating per day to either maintain or lose weight. The calculator is based on the Mifflin-St Jeor equality and can provide an estimate of your calorie needs. That said, it ’ s based on population data, vitamin a well as early factors, including genetics, medications, and tend body mass, that affect your calorie needs ( 2, 3 ).

How many calories should you eat on average?

The total of calories you should eat per day depends on numerous factors, including your historic period, sex, acme, current weight, bodily process level, and metabolic health, among several others. When trying to lose weight unit, a general rule of thumb is to reduce your calorie intake to 500 fewer calories than your consistency needs to maintain your current system of weights. Doing therefore can help you lose about 1 sudanese pound ( 0.45 kilogram ) of body system of weights per week ( 4 ). however, it ’ randomness significant to ensure that you ’ re eating enough calories to provide your body with the nutrients it needs, even if you ’ re trying to lose weight. For case, many fad diets recommend restricting your calorie intake to around 1,000–1,200 calories per day, which is not enough for most healthy adults. Cutting your calorie intake besides drastically can not only cause several serious slope effects but besides increase your gamble of nutritional deficiencies and resultant role in metabolic changes that make long-run slant sustenance unmanageable ( 5, 6 ). here ’ s a closer count at how many calories you should eat, based on recommendations from the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans ( 7 ) . plowshare on Pinterest GNVB
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Calorie needs for women can depend on their senesce, size, and activity level. Most women between the ages of 19–30 command 2,000–2,400 calories per day to maintain their weight unit. Women between the ages of 31–59 have slightly lower energy needs. by and large, women in this old age group should aim to consume 1,800–2,200 calories per day to maintain their body weight. Women over old age 60 broadly require even fewer calories and typically need to consume around 1,600–2,000 calories per day to maintain their system of weights ( 7 ). Keep in mind that the demand number of calories that you need may fall on the high or low end of this rate, depending on how active you are, along with your altitude, burden, and health condition. additionally, note that these estimates do not apply to those who are meaning or breastfeed, as these individuals have significantly higher calorie needs .


As is the lawsuit for women, calorie needs for men can range based on a variety of factors. The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans estimates that men between the ages of 19–30 should consume approximately 2,400–3,000 calories per day to maintain their weight. Energy needs decrease as you get older. In fact, men between the ages of 31–59 need about 2,200–3,000 calories per day to maintain their weight ( 7 ). meanwhile, men who are over 60 by and large require 2,000–2,600 calories per day to maintain their weight. man who are very active or have certain health conditions may require a higher count of calories. The count of calories that you need can besides vary within this scope based on your altitude and weight .


Children have widely varying calorie needs based on their age, size, and action tied. Energy needs for children and teens vary based on their sex and age. A 3-year-old child might need entirely 1,200 calories, but a adolescent can require closer to 3,000 calories ( 7 ). however, keep in mind that there ’ s typically no necessitate to count calories for growing children and teens. In fact, cutting a child ’ mho calorie intake can increase the gamble of nutritional deficiencies, slow growth, and foster an unhealthy relationship with food or an eating disorder ( 8 ). alternatively of counting calories, it ’ mho best to focus on encouraging goodly, nutrient-dense foods, cooking more meals and snacks at base, and promoting regular physical action for kids and teens.

What are calories?

Simply put, a calorie is a whole that measures energy. Calories are normally used to measure the department of energy subject of foods and beverages. To lose slant, you need to eat fewer calories than your torso burns each day. conversely, to gain weight unit, you need to consume more calories than you expend ( 1 ). Keep in mind that while the “ calories in, calories out ” concept of slant loss may seem dim-witted, many factors contribute to weight personnel casualty or the inability to lose weight, including checkup diagnoses, hormonal changes, genetics, age, and more ( 9 ). Developing a healthy diet and life style plan that will help you lose burden and keep it off in the farseeing term requires much more than determining your stream calorie needs and then eating fewer calories on a daily footing ( 9 ) .

How to reduce calorie intake

Although decreasing the count of calories you consume can be effective for weight loss, cutting calories without considering which foods you eat is not a sustainable way to lose slant. For exercise, choosing more nutrient-dense foods — think whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits — will benefit your health more than opting for nutrient-poor ones like pop, donuts, and candy. For this argue, it ’ randomness highly recommended to make a few other changes to your diet and life style, which can help you maintain a calorie deficit in the long guide without feeling hungry or deprived. here are 5 simple strategies that may help you lose system of weights .

1. Eat more protein

When it comes to losing weight unit, protein is fabulously significant. Studies show that increasing your inhalation of protein may help keep you full and curb your appetite ( 10, 11 ). Protein may besides help fight cravings. According to some inquiry, high protein snacks can help enhance feelings of comprehensiveness while besides decreasing crave and appetite ( 12 ). Plus, in addition to promoting weight loss, some research suggests that maintaining a high protein eating traffic pattern could help prevent or reduce weight unit recover and help maintain muscleman mass ( 13, 14 ).

therefore, if you want to achieve durable, sustainable burden loss, consider increasing your protein intake by adding foods like eggs, kernel, poultry, bean curd, nuts, seeds, or legumes to your diet .

Summary Increasing your protein intake can help you stay satisfied and consume fewer calories. This may help you lose weight and keep it off .

2. Limit sugary drinks

Another relatively easy transfer you can make is to limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, including sodas, fruit juices, cocoa milk, and other beverages with add carbohydrate. Your brain doesn ’ metric ton register liquid calories the lapp manner as it registers solid calories, so they less significantly affect your feelings of hunger and repletion ( 15 ). additionally, studies suggest that consuming sugary drinks is associated with an increased risk of fleshiness ( 16, 17 ). The harmful effects of boodle besides go far beyond weight advance. In fact, added sugar can contribute to other health issues, including heart disease, liver problems, and type 2 diabetes ( 17 ) .

Summary Sugar-sweetened beverages are senior high school in calories and added sugar. additionally, they affect your hunger and repletion less importantly than solid foods and have been linked to a higher risk of fleshiness .

3. Drink more water

One simpleton thing you can do for your health is drink more water. Adequate hydration is associated with improved brain health and weight management, equally well as a repress kidney stone gamble ( 18 ). What ’ s more, drinking water immediately before meals may reduce hunger and help you eat fewer calories ( 19, 20 ). When combined with a goodly diet, drinking more water, particularly before meals, appears to be helpful if you need to lose burden. Try other unsweetened beverages like chocolate, tea, and sparkling water to meet your hydration needs .

Summary Some studies have shown that toast water system may improve your health and avail you eat fewer calories by increasing your feelings of fullness .

4. Exercise

When you eat fewer calories, your body compensates by saving department of energy, making you burn fewer calories. As such, long-run calorie restriction can importantly slow your metamorphosis and precede to a loss of muscle over prison term. Resistance-training activities like weightlifting have been shown to prevent muscle personnel casualty and stop your metamorphosis from slowing during long-run calorie limitation ( 21 ). If you can ’ thyroxine contract to a gymnasium, consider doing bodyweight exercises, such as pushups, squats, and situps, at family. Cardio exercises, such as walk, swimming, or jogging, can besides be important — both for increasing burden loss and supporting overall health ( 22 ). additionally, use has a variety of other benefits that go beyond weight loss, such as increase longevity, enhanced energy levels, improved genial health, and a decrease risk of chronic disease ( 23, 24, 25, 26 ) .

Summary immunity train can help prevent muscle loss and keep your metamorphosis from slowing when cutting calories. Cardio exercises can besides help support early aspects of health .

5. Reduce your intake of refined carbs

The term “ refined carbs ” refers to grains that have lost their bran and germ, including flannel boodle, pasta, crackers, and egg white rice. It besides includes carbohydrate and early sweeteners. Refined grains typically lack character, which supports slant loss by decreasing your appetite and increasing feelings of fullness ( 27 ). Eating fewer carbs, including fewer refined carbs, may besides promote weight passing by altering levels of specific hormones that regulate your appetite, such as peptide YY ( 28 ). While a low carb or ketogenic diet decidedly international relations and security network ’ thyroxine properly for everyone, filling your diet with a diverseness of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich carb sources — such as whole grains, root vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes — and cutting down on elegant carbs can be beneficial .

Summary Refined carbs are low in fiber, which can help regulate your appetite and increase feelings of fullness. Choose more building complex carbs and nutrient-dense options like hale grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes .

Potential downsides

Although counting calories can be an effective strategy for weight loss, it ’ sulfur authoritative to remember that there are many other factors to consider when choosing what and how to eat. rather of focusing entirely on the number of calories found in foods, it ’ sulfur best to concentrate on following a all-around diet that ’ s rich in a variety show of alimentary, wholly foods. This can help ensure that you ’ re getting the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that your body needs to support burden management and your overall health. If you do decide to cut calories, you should be careful not to decrease your intake excessively much, as this could cause several serious side effects, including increased starve, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and nausea ( 4 ). Consuming excessively few calories can besides slow your metamorphosis, making it harder to maintain weight loss in the long term ( 5 ). Losing weight in a sustainable way besides takes prison term. Fast and flying weight personnel casualty strategies shouldn ’ t be the stress, but rather small and sustainable changes. Calorie count besides international relations and security network ’ t an demand science. Some days your body will need more calories, while on other days it ’ ll indigence fewer calories. Focusing entirely on numbers and system of weights can besides lead to broken consume ( 29 ) .

summary Cutting calories excessively much can harm your health and make it harder to maintain weight loss. rather of focusing only on calories, concentrate on following a all-around diet that ’ s rich in alimentary, whole foods .

The best online calorie counters

many websites and apps can help you track your calorie intake. You can try using a calorie counter or tracker for at least a few days to see the total of calories, carbs, protein, fatty, fiber, vitamins, and minerals you ’ re actually eating. This can be an easy and effective room to identify any gaps in your diet and make modifications to ensure you ’ re getting the nutrients your body needs.

The bottom line

How many calories you need per day depends on whether you want to maintain, lose, or addition weight, adenine good as versatile other factors, such as your sex, age, stature, current weight, activity level, and metabolic health. Although counting the number of calories that you consume can be beneficial for weight management, it ’ sulfur besides significant to consider the overall nutritional measure of the foods you eat and follow a all-around diet. Making childlike dietary and life style changes, including exercise, drinking enough of urine, and increasing your protein inhalation, can help you lose weight unit and improve your health.