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How to calculate your calorie consumption: basic and additional


The co-author of this article is Michael R. Lewis. Michael R. Lewis is a Texas-based former corporate manager, entrepreneur, and investment advisor. He worked in business and finance for over 40 years.

The number of sources used in this article is 13. You will find a list of them at the bottom of the page.

If you calculate the daily percentage, you can find out how much you will receive (for example, on a deposit) or pay (for example, on a loan). In business, the daily percentage allows you to estimate how much you can receive or pay for late payments from customers or suppliers. In personal finance, the daily interest rate will help you estimate the cost of repaying a mortgage or the income from savings or investments. In this article, you will learn how to calculate the daily percentage using different methods.

How to calculate your basic calorie expenditure

It is no secret that for weight loss it is necessary that the calorie consumption is higher than the intake. If the intake of calories depends only on the consumption of food and drinks, then the expense is divided into basic and incremental. The basic calorie expenditure is the cost of energy for maintaining life, and the extra is the amount of energy we spend on training and any other physical work. To avoid confusion in these concepts, let's consider them in more detail.

Calculation of the basic calorie consumption (Basal Metabolic Rate, BMR)

The body spends much more calories on maintaining vital activity than on training activity. We don’t notice this, but our body spends energy on respiration, metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, cognitive functions and support of the nervous system, heartbeat and the work of other internal organs, on maintaining hormonal levels, on sleep, on movements and, even, on food . The body does not stop for a minute.

The basic calorie expenditure shows the state of metabolism. It can be calculated using the following equations: Harris-Benedict, Mifflin-Geor, Ketch-MacArdle.

Calculation of the basic calorie consumption according to the Harris-Benedict formula

This is the most popular and simplest formula for calculating calorie costs per day. To do this, indicate height, weight and age. In 1984, it was revised to reflect updated medical requirements.

Actual version of the equation:

Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 × weight in kg) + (4.799 × height in cm) - (5.677 × age)

Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 × weight in kg) + (3.098 × height in cm) - (4.330 × age)

Calculation of the basic calorie consumption according to the Mifflin-Geor formula

This formula was born in 1990. She is considered one of the most accurate. For the calculation, you also need to know the weight, height and age.

Men: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age) + 5

Women: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age) - 161

Calculation of the basic calorie consumption according to the Ketch-MacArdle formula

It is considered the most accurate, but it is calculated on the basis of dry body weight without taking into account fat, and for this you need to know your percentage of fat.

Calculation of dry body weight (LBM):

LBM = [weight (kg) × (100 -% fat)] / 100

Calculation of basic calorie expenditure (BMR):

BMR = 370 + (21.6 × LBM)

Basic calorie expenditure is associated with both fat and muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body spends at rest.

Why you can not increase consumption due to diet

The calorie deficit should never fall below the base consumption. Otherwise, the body will begin to save energy due to the hormonal background. First, it will lower the level of leptin (saturation hormone), then the thyroid hormones and the reproductive system. You should always have available energy to maintain the endocrine, nervous and other systems. A healthy diet, adequate deficiency and a mood for long-term weight loss will help to avoid hormonal disorders.

Calorie Supplement Calculation

Extra energy is divided into calories that we spend on training, and calories spent on non-training activity.

In training, we spend relatively few calories - an average of 400 calories per hour of intensive training. With three workouts a week, this gives us just 1,200 calories. However, if training is aimed at strengthening muscle tissue, then the basic cost of energy will increase. The body spends more calories on building and maintaining muscle than storing and retaining fat.

Non-training activity (NEAT) means any spontaneous or routine physical work: walking, shopping, cleaning, cooking, playing with a child, and even working at a computer.

You can calculate additional energy expenditures in the Calorie Expense Analyzer. It is enough to indicate your weight, choose the type of activity and indicate the time in minutes. The system will calculate everything for you.

Rules for the use of basic and incremental consumption

Knowing the energy costs allows you to correctly calculate the calorie deficit for weight loss, but to predict the exact weight loss is quite difficult.

Difficulties may arise due to:

  • Errors in counting calories consumed,
  • Erroneous assessment of their own activity,
  • Fluid retention in the body,
  • Fluid retention in the female body in separate phases of the cycle,
  • The simultaneous growth of muscle mass and fat burning,
  • Inattention to slowing down basic calorie expenditure.

To avoid the above difficulties, eat right within the calorie corridor and BJU, soberly evaluate your own non-training activity, trying to maintain it at approximately the same level daily, exercise regularly, weigh yourself and measure volumes at the same time, and also take into account the phase of the menstrual cycle.

Calorie Calculation: Daily Values

Calculation of the daily norm of calories consumed using food calorie tables is the first step from which to compile a successful diet for weight loss or nutrition for gaining muscle mass, because without determining the individual daily calorie intake, it is impossible to calculate the optimal composition of your diet for basic macronutrients (i.e. proteins, fats and carbohydrates).

There are two formulas by which this norm is calculated, but the Harris-Benedict formula is most often used. Any calculator of the calorie norm on the Internet, in the application for a smartphone, in a cardio simulator or in a fitness bracelet will use it. However, this calorie calculation formula has significant errors that no one mentions.

The norm of calories per day: theory

The term "calorie" itself is derived from the word calortranslated from Latin as "warm." In classical physics, calories had nothing to do with food - even a hundred years ago they calculated and measured exclusively the energy released during the combustion of fuel (coal, firewood), and only at the beginning of the 20th century they began to consider food as fuel for the body.

You must understand that the calorie content of the product is a purely conventional amount of energy that will be obtained when it is burned in a special device. However, in reality, the human body digests food in a completely different way - in fact, the share of absorbed energy can differ by 20-25% from the numbers and calorie norms indicated on the product packaging. That is why counting calories in practice is not so simple.

Daily calories: tables

If you are a man, you are 25 years old, you work in the office and do strength training three times a week, then the recommendation for your daily calorie intake will be from 2600 kcal to 3200 kcal - however, you must understand that any a more accurate figure of calculations by the formula will be only a random choice that does not guarantee any reliability or additional reliability.

Among other things, calories from food are not 100% absorbed at all. For example, for any protein foods, the level of protein absorption does not exceed 50-70% - but this is never taken into account in the composition and calorific value of the product. As a result, it’s better not to try to calculate the daily calorie intake using the “smart” formula, but simply follow the basic recommendations (1) and listen to your body.

Daily calories for men:

AgeActivity levelCalorie intake
17 - 40 years oldLow2400-2600 kcal
Average2600-2800 kcal
Tall3000-3200 kcal
41 - 60 years oldLow2000-2200 kcal
Average2400-2600 kcal
Tall2600-2800 kcal
Over 61 years oldLow2000 kcal
Average2200-2400 kcal
Tall2400-2600 kcal

Daily calories for women:

AgeActivity levelCalorie intake
17 - 40 years oldLow1800-2000 kcal
Average2000-2200 kcal
Tall2200-2400 kcal
41 - 60 years oldLow1600-1800 kcal
Average1800-2000 kcal
Tall2000-2200 kcal
Over 61 years oldLow1600 kcal
Average1800 kcal
Tall2000 kcal

Daily calorie intake for children and adolescents:

AgeActivity levelCalorie intake
14 years oldLow1000 kcal
Average1200-1400 kcal
Tall1400-1600 kcal
5 - 8 yearsLow1200-1400 kcal
Average1400-1600 kcal
Tall1600-1900 kcal
9 - 11 years oldLow1500-1800 kcal
Average1800-2000 kcal
Tall1900-2200 kcal
12 - 16 years oldLow1600-1800 kcal
Average2000-2500 kcal
Tall2500-3000 kcal

Calorie Calculation Formula

The direct formula for calculating the daily calorie intake consists of two parts: 1) the most accurate calculation of the base metabolism figure - the calories needed by the body to maintain vital activity, or the so-called “resting energy”, and 2) the individual human activity coefficient, most often determined “by eye".

However, it is in this coefficient that lies the main problem of the Harris-Benedict calorie calculation formula. After accurately calculating the basal metabolic rate (for example, 1765 kcal), you need to multiply this figure by your individual activity coefficient, ranging from 1.2 to 1.9. The final result will be from 2118 kcal to 3354 kcal. The difference is 1236 kcal.

Harris-Benedict Formula

As we already mentioned, first of all, the Harris-Benedict formula determines the basal metabolic rate (BMR) - these are the body's daily energy requirements for brain function, maintaining body temperature, digesting food and other metabolic processes. In this case, the formula completely does not take into account energy for physical activity.

It is also important that the basic level of metabolism depends on the person’s gender, age and complexion. At the same time, any calculations of daily calories using this formula are accurate exclusively for average physique - for excessively thin, full or even for muscular people, the Hariss-Benedict formula is not suitable, since it does not take into account individual characteristics.

Calorie Base Calculation Formula:

Basic formula for menBMR = 88.36 + (13.4 x weight, kg) + (4.8 x height, cm) - (5.7 x age, years)
Example: 25 years old, height 178 cm, weight 72 kgBMR = 88.36 + (13.4 x 72) + (4.8 x 178) - (5.7 x 25) = 1765 kcal
Basic formula for womenBMR = 447.6 + (9.2 x weight, kg) + (3.1 x height, cm) - (4.3 x age, years)
Example: 25 years old, height 172 cm, weight 50 kgBMR = 447.6 + (9.2 x 50) + (3.1 x 172) - (4.3 x 25) = 1333 kcal

Calorie Calorie Slimming

The Harris-Benedict formula for calculating the daily calorie intake is divided into five types of physical activity - the minimum level (no physical exertion), low level (physical exertion 1-3 times a week), average level (3-5 days a week), high level ( 6-7 times a week) and a very high level (training more often than once a day).

In theory, everything looks simple and clear. To determine the total body needs for daily calories (and, in particular, calories for weight loss), you need to multiply the base BMR indicator corresponding to your gender, age and weight, by a coefficient determined depending on your average level of physical activity within the current week:

  • Minimum Level - Calorie Rate = BMR x 1.2
  • Low - Calorie Rate = BMR x 1.375
  • Medium - Calorie Rate = BMR x 1.55
  • High - Calorie Rate = BMR x 1.725
  • Very High - Calorie Rate = BMR x 1.9

Weight loss: what is the daily ratio?

If your professional activity is a lumberjack or miner, use the coefficient 1.9, if you are caring for cows - 1.55. These are exactly the recommendations of the Harris-Benedict formula for calculating daily calories obtained back in 1919. Of course, there are no modern professions (especially the “office worker” category) on this list.

When playing sports for weight loss and entering your age, height and weight into a rowing machine or into an advanced fitness bracelet, you get the most accurate daily calorie figure, but it’s completely unclear which coefficient this device uses in calculating. If you are lucky, it will be in the range 1.4 - 1.7, and the total error will not exceed 15-20% (approximately +/- 500 kcal).

Electronic body analysis systems (the so-called “smart scales”) also determine calorie needs rather conditionally. Recall that we have already said that such devices are bad for measuring the percentage of fat in the body - the use of a conventional plastic caliper will be much more accurate.

The formula for calculating the daily calorie intake is able to determine only the level of basic energy needs of the body without taking into account physical activity. To determine the total calorie needs (or calculate calories for weight loss), you need to know a coefficient that cannot be determined exactly. That is why any devices for calculating calorie norms give an error of +/- 500 kcal.

  1. Estimated Calorie Needs per Day by Age, Gender, and Physical Activity Level, source