All human activity requires energy. For this reason USDA has recommended that an average adult (even if doing nothing more than tapping a touch screen or pushing buttons on a remote), needs between 1,500 to 2,000 calories of energy. This is the energy you require to walk, talk, think, and take a bath or whatever. This is the bare minimal energy you need and can therefore be safely considered as the calorie intake to maintain weight and minimal activity levels.
The organs within the body require ‘liquid’ or ready energy i.e., energy derived from glucose in the blood. Our limbs (think muscles) on the other hand, can make do with energy derived from stored fat. The calories mentioned inParaone above, include energy required for some routine physical activities such as walking short distances within the office or home.
Calorie intake to lose weight should be not less than 1,500
If you were to consume say 1,500 calories and if you were to engage in anything more strenuous than these routine physical activities, your body would be forced to break down stored or accumulated fat and convert it into energy. But to do this, your body must burn energy. So apart from ready energy required for all the organs including the brain to function properly, your body also needs to set aside some energy in reserve just in case it needs it to break down fat. Therefore, if we were to undertake some form of exercise then the calorie intake to lose weight would also be approximately 1,500 calories (this includes 300 calories set aside to burn fat).
If humans consume less than 1,500 calories per day, it could lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening medical conditions.
Low energy intake (less than 1,500 calories per day) will lead to low blood glucose levels. The organs including the brain would be starved of energy. Once the sugar levels in the blood drop to less than 70 mg/dl, the person would suffer from a medical condition called “Hypoglycemia” symptoms of which include double vision, blurry vision, heart arrhythmias, nervousness, sweating, hunger and tremors.
At this stage, in a last ditch effort, the body will use whatever remaining stores of blood glucose it has left, to break down fat and convert it into energy. However this process called Ketoacidosis leads to the creation and release of a bi-product called Ketones. Ketones is acidic and will cause your blood to turn acidic which is a life-threatening situation. Also, the energy so released from the burning down of fat cannot effectively be used by any of the internal organs – it can only be used by our limbs for physical activity.
As you might guess, it would be impossible to indulge in any sort of physical activity when the internal organs have all shut down. Therefore, the calorie intake to lose weight is not less than 1,500 per day. When a person consumes a minimum of 1,500 calories and undertakes exercise, the body uses some of the energy to break down fat and make fat-derived energy available to power the muscles.
Check out the sample menu plans we have and based on your activity level, decide which one is the best for you and how much calories you should take.