Understanding what’s in the food we eat is necessary for anyone looking to maintain a healthy diet. Probably the most popular tool people use to measure the healthiness of their food is by the number of calories. By definition, a calorie is simply a unit of measurement used to determine the amount of energy stored inside a piece of food. All calories aren’t the same, however, and it’s important to know the difference between a good calorie and a bad calorie.
How do I count calories to manage my weight?
Typically, people who want to lose weight need to cut down on the amount of calories they eat by roughly 500 calories a day in order to see a reduction in weight up to 1 pound per week. If you’re looking to gain weight, it’s recommended you increase your daily calorie intake. Of course, every piece of food isn’t the same, and if you’re looking to count your calories, it’s essential that you know which foods to purchase and which foods you should stay clear of, depending on your goals. High protein foods typically have much less calories than foods that are high in sugar and fat content. If you’re looking to build muscle or lose some weight, it’s recommended that you increase the amount of protein you eat due to the low amount of calories stored inside protein.
How many calories do I need?
The amount of calories men and women need on a daily basis can vary greatly, and various factors need to be considered when deciding your daily calorie intake. A few factors that affect your needed daily calories include your age, weight, height and how active of a lifestyle you live.
Men ages 18 to 45. If you live a moderately active lifestyle, you typically would need between 2,600 and 2,800 calories per day.
Men ages 46 and up. Men in this category would usually require between 2,200 and 2,400 calories per day.
Women ages 18 to 50. If you live a moderately active lifestyle, you typically would need between 2,000 and 2,200 calories per day.
Women ages 51 and up. Women in this category would usually require between 1,800 and 2,000 calories per day.
These numbers are averages, and it’s important you consult your primary care physician about any dietary questions you may have or any dietary changes you’re considering making.
There are many different ways you can burn calories, but there are a few exercises in particular that will help you burn calories more efficiently. Jumping rope, running, cycling, kickboxing, rowing and weightlifting are all great ways to help increase the amount of calories you burn. The more you weigh, the higher the amount of calories you’ll burn each workout. If you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle and are interested in counting your daily calories, it is recommended to use a journal to track the food you eat and the amount of calories you consume. There are many different calorie tracking journals and apps available to help keep you on track!
Calories are an essential part of a balanced diet, and understanding what calories are and how they affect your body is a great way to take control of your health. A few lifestyle and diet changes can make a world of a difference. As always, please consult with your primary care physician about any questions you may have.