How many calories do you really need

Figuring out ex-act-ly how many calories to consume each day can be a, well, consuming task. Luckily, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 lays out a list of the average daily calorie allowance for healthy adults with a healthful BMI — 21.5 for women and 22.5 for men — based on the amount of activity a person performs each day. Table 3-5 shows numbers. Note that in this context, sedentary means a lifestyle with only the light physical activity associated with daily living; moderately active means a lifestyle that adds physical activity equal to a daily 1.5-3 mile walks at a speed of 3-4 miles per hour; active means adding physical activity equal to walking 3 miles a day at the 3-4 mph clip.

Table 3-5 Matching Daily Calories with Daily Lifestyle

Gender/Age*

Calories If Sedentary

Calories If Moderately Active

Calories If Active

Female

19-30 years

2,000

2,000-2,200

2,400

31-50

1,800

2,000

2,200

51 +

1,600

1,800

2,000-2,200

(continued)

Table 3-5 (continued)

Gender/Age*

Calories If Sedentary

Calories If Moderately Active

Calories If Active

Male

19-30

2,400

2,600-2,800

3,000

31-50

2,200

2,400-2,600

2,800-3,000

50+

2,000

2,200-2,400

2,400-2,600

  • 4s a rule, men have proportionately more active tissue (muscle) than women do, so an average mans calorie requirements are about 10 percent higher than an average woman's. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 6th ed. (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005)
  • 4s a rule, men have proportionately more active tissue (muscle) than women do, so an average mans calorie requirements are about 10 percent higher than an average woman's. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 6th ed. (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005)

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