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How Many Calories Do You Need?
Have you ever stopped to think about how much you eat during the day? If not, then you will be surprised to discover that most men don t consume the right amount of calories. Too many calories can lead to obesity and not enough can cause other problems, so let us examine this thing called calories.
how calories work
Every aliment contains calories that fuel the body (except water), but in order to enjoy a healthy diet, one must consume the proper amount. Unfortunately, each person requires a different amount of energy.
Our daily calorie intake depends on many factors: weight, height, gender, age, and our overall level of mobility during the day. Obviously, taller and fitter men require more calories for there is more of them to fuel, so to speak, and as people get older, the need for many calories diminishes.
Calories, despite being a vital element of life, can also be damaging to the human body. Dr. Richard Weindruch, a Medical Professor at the University of Wisconsin, discovered that reducing caloric intake slows down aging. A study conducted on rats and monkeys showed that limiting caloric intake might reduce free radical damage to tissues one of the main causes of aging.
So what is a healthy amount of calories?
First, it is important to understand that the body converts protein, fat and carbohydrates into calories. 1 gram of protein or carbohydrate equals 4 calories, whereas 1 gram of fat produces 9 calories. That being said, fatty foods are obviously richer in calories than lean foods. But don t be fooled; just because something is lean that doesn t mean eating plenty of it is healthy.
Even protein can be unhealthy if you eat too much of it at once. The male body can only handle 40 grams of protein per meal anything above that is stored as fat. Keep that in mind when devising a sound calorie diet.
Calories should come from 55-60% carbohydrates, 25-30% protein and 15-20% fat. Normally, people should get their daily dose of calories from 4-6 meals, but cultural and work constraints have taught us to eat 3 large ones, which is not the best way to go.
Moderately active men men who perform some form of physical activity 3-5 times a week need between 2,500 and 3,000 calories a day, depending on the aforementioned factors.
your daily caloric intake
There are many ways of determining personal daily caloric intake, one of which is called the Harris-Benedict Formula. It is the easiest way to calculate Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). It factors in gender, bodyweight (in kilograms), height (in centimeters), and age. The formula works as follows:
*Note that 1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds; 1 foot = 30 centimeters
BMR = 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
Add steps 1 to 3 and subtract step 4 from the total, which should amount to 1,778.1.
Finally, you have to factor in an Activity Multiplier. The more active a man is, the more calories he ll need.
Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (little or no exercise)
Lightly active = BMR X 1.375 (light exercise 1-3 days a week)
Moderately active = BMR X 1.55 (moderate exercise 3-5 days a week)
Very active = BMR X 1.725 (hard exercise 6-7 days a week)
Extremely active = BMR X 1.9 (heavy daily exercise)
In this case, if the male from the example above is moderately active, take 1,778.1 and multiply it by 1.55. This raises the amount of calories to 2,756 each day.
the right amount of calories
All this information can be a bit confusing, so here is an example of what an average male needs to eat in order to get a healthy 2,700 calories each day. (Simply remove or add similar foods to change the total calorie count.)
- 3 Pancakes with cup syrup: 410 cal. (let s ease into it)
- 1 cup of orange juice: 112 cal.
- Granola bar: 140 cal.
- Low-fat yogurt (8 oz.): 140 cal.
- Turkey breast roll (onions, tomato, lettuce, etc): 530 cal.
- Oriental salad: 110 cal.
- V8 (8 oz.): 50 cal.
- Protein shake (8 oz. 2% milk with 1 banana): 550 cal.
- Fillet of sole (breaded with egg, 4 oz.): 380 cal.
- Steamed brown rice: 160 cal.
- Cabbage salad: 70 cal.
- 1 (6 oz.) can of tuna with low-fat mayo (2 tbsps) and onions: 150 cal.
breaking with tradition
Lunch should contain more calories than supper. Western cultures make supper the largest meal of the day. This is illogical since suppers take place when the day is over when the body does not require a lot of energy. How demanding can watching television be after 6pm?
12pm to 6pm is the most physically demanding time of day. It is then that men are most active at work. For this reason, lunches should contain the largest amount of calories and carbohydrates than any other meals throughout the day.
Furthermore, supper is traditionally the last meal of the day. Again, this is wrong. Why go through a period of starvation before the next meal, which is breakfast? When the body goes through long periods of starvation, hydrogen levels are altered, resulting in more fat being stored after every meal, and as previously stated, certain nutrients are automatically stored as fat when consumed in large quantities. It is this kind of flawed dieting that is probably the main cause of obesity in North America.
Eating regularly (grazing) is healthier than eating a few large meals during the day (binging).
how to keep track
How can one achieve such a precise diet? The best way is to buy a food counts book. Such books cost around $7, but are veritable lifesavers. Most show the calorie, protein, fat, and carbohydrate contents of common provisions.
Some even include popular brand-name foods like McDonald s or Taco Bell. A person should write down every single thing eaten for one day, then use the book to determine the quality of their diet.
Calculating and keeping track of your daily caloric intake is not as difficult as it seems. A lot of men believe they eat healthy, until they buy a book of food counts and calculate their daily nutrient intake. Doing this once is enough to shock you into reality. Many of us have poor diets without knowing it, so do yourself a favor and calculate your daily caloric intake at least once in your life you won t regret it.