Discover How many calories should we consume per day?
To find out how many calories we should consume per day, we can go to the Harris-Benedict equation, which is a formula that calculates the number of calories we must eat in a day to maintain basal metabolism, depending on age, sex, body weight, and height, that is, how many calories we should eat in order not to gain or lose weight.
These formulas were originally designed for patients in a coma since they did not want them to gain or lose weight by supplying them with poor or excessive amounts of food, so to adapt them to the rest of the people they must be multiplied by a correction index that varies depending on our level of physical activity or exercise.
The formulas would be the following, depending on whether you are a man or a woman:
BMR = 66.4730 + (13.7516 x Weight in Kg) + (5.0033 x Height in Cm) – (6.7550 x age in years)
BMR = 655.0955 + (9.5634 x weight in Kg) + (1.8496 x height in Cm) – (4.6756 x age in years)
Table of correction indices according to physical activity
Little or no exercise
TMB x 1.2
Light exercise (1-3 days a week)
TMB x 1,375
Moderate exercise (3-5 days a week)
TMB x 1.55
Strong exercise (6-7 days a week)
TMB x 1,725
Very strong exercise (2 times a day, very hard workouts)
TMB x 1.9
So if, for example, we have a 30-year-old man weighing 80 kg (176.5 pounds) and 180 cm (71 in) tall who performs moderate exercise 4 days a week, the calories he should ingest applying the formula would be:
TMB = 66.4730 + (13.7516 x 80 Kg) + (5.0033 x 180 Cm) – (6.7550 x 30 years)
TMB = 66.4730 + (1100.128) + (900.594) – (202.65) = 1.865 Calories.
Applying the corrective index of physical activity would be:
BMR = 1865 x 1.55 = 2,891 calories is what this person would have to eat per day to maintain their body weight if they exceed that amount they will gain weight and obviously if they consume less they will lose weight.
How much should we consume if we want to lose weight?
We are in the middle of a struggle between eating fewer calories to lose weight and that in turn, that reduction in food does not reduce our daily needs for vitamins, proteins, nutrients, minerals, fats, etc.
The first thing to say is that we must eat varied and healthy so that we do not have significant deficiencies, the drastic reductions in calories make us lose weight quickly but they are not good for our health and they are also a strategy that is ineffective in the long run term as it is not sustainable over time and causes the inevitable rebound effect recovering all the lost weight and usually a little more tip.
The ideal is to lose weight little by little and constantly if we need 2500 calories and only eat 1500 we will lose weight but the sacrifice will be enormous, and nutritional deficiencies will surely appear, we would be reducing our caloric needs by 40% and that is a process to long-term it just doesn’t work.
When we reach the desired goal we will feel that we have already achieved it, we will tend to compensate for the immense effort we have made by eating so little, giving ourselves the well-deserved tributes, our body will have lowered our metabolism a lot, and when we eat again as before we will increase what we lost just as much fast we lower it.
As we said before we must lose weight slowly, according to nutritionists it is not good to lose too much weight per week, which is less suffered and is more compatible with reaching a successful long-term result is to take between 5% and 10% less of the calories we should take, of course following a perfectly balanced and varied diet.
Thus, following the previous example, if 2500 are the calories that leave us the same, if we took 2300 we would be losing weight slowly and without excessive efforts that require to be compensated with subsequent tributes.
In our case, we lost ½ kilo (1 pound) per week, sometimes even less, 1 kilo (2 pounds) per month, but we have never known what it is to go through grief or hunger, at all times we have been perfectly nourished and fed with everything kind of healthy food.
Remember that the calories necessary to maintain your body without gaining or losing weight are not a static number, as we lose weight or become older the number becomes smaller and smaller because our caloric needs will be lower and lower.
On the other hand, if we do more sports a week than necessary, our caloric needs will increase significantly, a good strategy to lose weight if we do not want to reduce the amounts of food is to play sports or increase its intensity if we already did it but it should be continued in time if we want the weight reduction to be sustainable.
As an extreme case, consider the case of the swimmer and winner of 22 Olympic medals Michael Phelps, at 1.93 meters and 88 kilos, he had a body mass index of 23.62 within normal values and he ate 12,000 calories!
How can this be? Well, very simple towards brutal daily workouts both in the pool and in the gym, and what he ate burned him.