Calorie counting is something that thousands upon thousands of people do on a daily basis, all over the world. It helps people to stay on track with their weight loss goals and their lifestyles.
Before you start counting calories, it’s important to know how many calories a day you should be consuming for your activity level, weight, and height.
Every person will have different needs and requirements. A great way to figure out how many calories you should be consuming is through online calorie calculators. Here is one that I’ve personally used before.
There are also converters online that you can use to convert between different types of calories and common food energy units such as kilojoules and joules. Here is a great energy converter that I can recommend.
How Do Calorie Counters Work?
Most online calorie calculators are based on an equation by Mifflin-St Jeor that calculates your bmr (basic metabolic rate). Your basic metabolic rate is how much energy your body expends on a daily basis, while you are resting. Here is the Mifflin-St Jeor equation:
For women: bmr = 10 x weight (in kg) + 6.25 x height (in cm) – 5 x age (in years) – 161
For men: bmr = 10 x weight (in kg) + 6.25 x height (in cm) – 5 x age (in years) + 5
When you follow that equation, the answer that you get is the amount of calories you can consume in a day to maintain your body weight, if you are just resting and not doing any physical activity.
If you wanted to find out a more realistic estimate based on your activity level, you would multiply the number by 1.2-1.95, depending on your activity level.
How to Lose Weight
One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to limit the amount of calories you consume. On average, 1 pound of body fat equates to around 3,500 calories.
Therefore, if you create a weekly deficit of 3,500 calories, you would lose 1 pound of fat a week. This is a very realistic goal to achieve, and since the weight comes off slower, it usually stays off.
In order to lose one pound a week, you would need to create a deficit of 500 calories a day. If you normally consume 2500 calories a day, limit your calories to 2000 a day, and you will see results.
It’s important to always consume at least 1,600 calories a day, or else your body might go into starvation mode and hold onto everything because it doesn’t know when the next time it will have food is.
What Are The Different Types of Calories?
There are three main sources of calories that people eat: calories that come from carbohydrates, calories that come from protein, and calories that come from fat.
Generally, calories that come from protein and fat keep you full longer. Empty calories come from foods such as alcohol, junk food, and candy. Empty refers to the notion that these calories are void of nutrients, and will promote weight gain.
Did you know that if you eat foods which are harder to chew, they will naturally burn more calories?
This is because these foods (such as fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains) force the body to burn more calories since more calories are used to digest these foods.
The more you chew, the fuller you will feel as well. There are also negative-calorie foods, which are foods that require more energy to be digested than the food provides in the first place. Celery is a great example of this food.
Some foods that you eat are considered “high-calorie,” while others are considered “low-calorie.”
Fruits and vegetables are the most popular low-calorie foods that people recommend you eat. Junk food, fast food, and fried foods are typically always high-calorie.
Generally speaking, higher calorie foods are less filling, contain less fiber, and can lead to weight gain. If you are trying to lose weight, try to consume as much low-calorie foods as possible.
The Worst Type of Calories
The worst type of calories that you can consume (for weight loss, and for your health, too) are empty calories.
Beverages (whether it’s alcohol, soda, or juice) are usually full of empty calories. These calories come from sources that contain no nutrients, no fiber, and they do more harm than good.
Did you know that one can of soda contains up to 180 calories? Calories from drinks are bad because they do not fill you up.
You can easily consume up to 500 calories a day from drinks without even realizing it. These calories stay and collect in your body, leading to weight gain.
Most of the calories in drinks come from sugar and carbs. They cause insulin spikes and give you sugar rushes. Even most fruit juices are full of empty calories and don’t contain any fruit.
The best thing to drink throughout the day would be water. However, if you want something else, coconut water is great, along with tea.
If you crave the carbonation from soda, try substituting it with sparkling water. If you want to drink juice, try to get juices that are made from 100% fruits and vegetables, with no sugar added.
This Calorie Calculator Tells You How Many Calories You Need Per Day
Everyone needs a different amount of calories a day. This number will vary depending on factors such as your weight, height, activity level, gender, and age. For example, a 30-year-old, 6-foot male that regularly goes to the gym will require much more calories than a sedentary, 5-foot tall, 50-year-old woman. On average, adult males need to consume anywhere between 2000-3000 calories per day in order to maintain their weight. Women need less, their requirements are anywhere between 1,600-2,400 calories a day to maintain their weight. This information is provided by the United States Department of Health.
Calories in our Favorite Healthy Foods
Here is a list of popular healthy foods along with the amount of calories they contain.
- Apples (80 calories per apple)
- Brown rice (216 calories per 1 cup cooked brown rice)
- Quinoa (229 calories per 1 cup cooked quinoa)
- Broccoli (30 calories per 1 cup of chopped broccoli)
- Spinach (10 calories per 1 cup)
- Grapes (104 calories per 1 cup)
- Carrots (45 calories per 1 cup of grated carrots)
- Watermelon (46 calories per 1 cup of diced watermelon)
- Corn (128 calories per 1 cup of boiled corn)
- Sweet Potato (100 calories per 1 medium sweet potato)
- Oatmeal (150 calories per 1/2 cup of dry oats)
- Salmon (233 calories per 4 oz)
- Couscous (176 calories per 1 cup of cooked couscous)
- Lettuce (8 calories per 1 cup of chopped lettuce)
- Almonds (132 calories per 1/4 cup of raw almonds)
- Orange juice (112 calories per 1 cup of orange juice)
Calories in Unhealthy and Processed Foods
Here is a list of common processed food that people consume, along with the amount of calories they contain.
- White bread (70 calories per slice)
- Chocolate chip cookies (220 calories per cookie)
- Fries (450 calories per a medium serving of fries)
- Hamburgers (460 calories per hamburger)
- Pizza (280 calories per slice)
- Beer (155 calories per 355 ml)
- Coca-Cola (110 calories per 1 cup)
- Potato chips (160 calories per 1 oz)
- Chicken nuggets (48 calories per 1 chicken nugget)
- Ice cream (267 calories per 1 cup of ice cream)
- Donuts (220 calories per 1 donut)
more: Food Calorie Calculator
How Many Calories Can I Burn Exercising?
Here is a list of common exercises that you can do to lose weight and gain muscle, along with how many calories you can burn per 1 hour of each exercise.
The calories listed will be for an average weight of 150 pounds. The heavier you are, the more calories you will burn, and the less you weigh, the fewer calories you will burn.
- Walking at a pace of 3.5 miles per hour (260)
- Biking at a pace of 10 miles per hour (281)
- Canoeing (281)
- Hiking (422)
- Jogging (493)
- Jump rope (844)
- Rock climbing (774)
- Running at a pace of 5 miles per hour (563)
- Ice skating (493)
- Skiing in the snow (493)
- Swimming for leisure (422)
- Boxing with a punching bag (430)
- Golf (281)
- Dancing (317)
- General house cleaning (250)
- Soccer (397)
- Football (500)
- Basketball (422)
What are the Calories in Each Nutrient?
The main macronutrients in our diet are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each of these macronutrients has different amounts of calories.
For example, fat generally has 8.8 calories per gram. Common sources of fat are avocados, nuts, seeds, oils, butter, etc. Fats are much more calorie dense than carbs and proteins are.
This is why people typically eat less fat, and they are full for longer periods of time. Carbohydrates and proteins are very similar in terms of the amount of calories they contain. Both carbs and proteins have 4.1 calories per gram.
Calories can be very complex. I have provided you with the basics in this article so that you can create a plan for yourself and your lifestyle, no matter what your goals are.
Whether you want to lose weight, maintain your weight, or gain weight, calories are such an important factor. The amount of calories you consume will determine the results that you achieve.