I am not a fan of putting too much figures/calculations in nutrition advices; however, there are situations where crunching numbers is needed to reach a certain goal. This could apply to sport nutrition or to cases where a fast change in one person’s weight is required. Even so, I will try to give minimum numbers, and to also offer some hints for those of you who want to go beyond.

So, how many calories an adult need per day? Of course, there is no fix number, the caloric need of a person depends on the weight, on how active that person is and also on other specific aspects (gender is one, what is the purpose aimed ( decrease weight, increase weight, recovery, preparation for an event, etc).

Now, let’s be more specific:

Everyone of us have a minimum caloric need, for the body to operate at minimum capacity: this is known as Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), which can be read as a minimum caloric need.  There are few formulas to calculate this minimum level, still to make it easier, just multiply the person’s weight in kg with 24 for men and 22 for women. For those who seek more precision please search on internet equation Harris Benedict or equation Mifflin St Jeor.

Now, I was saying that how active a person is matters as well. Here we cannot avoid the numbers, as we’ll need to multiply the BMR with an activity factor. Which is:

  • 1,2 for sedentary people,
  • 1,375 for low active persons (little exercises, or a sport 1-3 days per week),
  • 1,55 for moderate active people (moderate exercises, or a sport 3-5 days a week)
  • 1,725 for very active people (difficult exercises, or a sport 6-7 days a week)
  • 1,9 for extremely active (athletes usually, performing very difficult exercises or a sport/ several sports with minimum 2 training programs daily)

If purpose is to correct weight downwards/upwards there will be a negative/positive correction of above results.

Now, how do we split these results per type of (macro)nutrients: proteins, fats, carbs. Usually we start with proteins and depending on the goal pursued, there is a need of 1-2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. In some specific cases could be a little lower, or a little higher – for instance in a recovery period. Nice thing about nutrition, at least from nutritionist perspective, is that there is no advice to fit all persons, thus think twice when you get a meal plan or a calory need calculation from a bot. Then we calculate fats need, which is 0,5-1,5 g per kilogram of body weight. And the rest are carbs. Athletes and exercisers can be particularly interested in their carbs intake so they could start calculations with carbs then adding the proteins and filing up the rest with fats. The carbs load range is quite large, depending on the type of sport, from 3-5g/kg to 8-12g/kg of body weight,

To end, carbs and proteins have a caloric load of 4kcal/gram while fats have 9kcal/gram. Alcohol has 7 kcal /gram (still should be of less concern as, I suppose, if you read this article you are not offering alcohol a too high weight in your daily calories intake😊) .

Curios to see what your caloric need and composition is if you have already calculated something, or to help you made your own calculations if interested to found out.


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