FDA, US Food and Drug Administration put your daily calorie requirements as 2,000 calories. This would hold true for most of us. However, there would be deviations for physically active people. They would need to consume at least 2,300 calories per day. For the purpose of calorie counting, physically active people are those whose daily work involves use of muscles, e.g. construction workers.
According to FDA data, you need approximately 2,000 calories per day to survive and to complete general physical activity such as walking around the office or house, shopping, etc. If you are to lose weight, then you have two options:
• Either eat less than 2000 calories per day
• Eat 2,000 calories worth of food per day but exercise out some of the calories
I advise the latter option for its twin benefits:
1. It ensures your calorie intake is not below normal and,
2. Exercise is good for your body and health and is also the ideal way to cut down on calories
The next question I am usually asked is “how much calories should I cut out?” and my answer to that is 300 calories per day. This is because your daily calorie count should not drop below 1,700 per day. Anything less than 1,700 calories per day would be injurious to your health. So, the lose weight equation is:
How much to eat to lose weight = 2,000 calories – 300 = 1,700 per day
Let me explain the “How much to eat to lose weight” equation. The 2,000 calories is of course the FDA recommended daily dietary requirement. This can safely be reduced by 300 calories per day (no more). However, instead of eating food worth 1,700 calories per day, from a health point of view, it would be better to eat 2,000 calories worth of food per day and then perform 300 calories worth of daily exercises e.g. walking 5 Km per day will burn roughly 300 calories worth of energy.
My answer to how much to eat to lose weight would not be complete if I failed to mention that there are numerous websites (including FDA) where you can calculate your daily calorie intake by selecting the foods and quantities you eat. Similarly, you can also use the online calculators (also on the same website), to calculate the amount of energy you’ve utilized through exercise.
Now, since the body requires 2,000 calories per day and you are providing it a net of 1,700 calories per day, your body will metabolize 300 calories worth of fat to make up for the deficit and that is how you will lose weight.