How many calories should be consumed on an average?
The average woman needs to consume about 2,000 calories per day for the weight to be maintained, and 1,500 calories per day to lose one pound of weight per week. Meanwhile, the average man needs 2,500 calories to maintain the weight, and 2,000 to lose one pound of weight per week.
However, this depends on various factors which include age, height, current weight, activity levels, metabolic health, and many others.
What are calories?
Energy is measured by a unit called calorie. Calories are usually used for the measurement of the energy content of foods and beverages. To lose weight, fewer calories should be eaten than the body burns each day.
How to reduce calorie intake without starving yourself
Calories are simply a measurement of energy.
It’s a well-known fact that in order to gain weight, more calories need to be entering the body than leaving it.
On the other hand, weight is lost if more calories leave the body than enter it.
Cutting calories without taking the foods consumed into account is usually not a way sustainable to lose weight.
Though it works for some people, most people eventually give up on the diet as they end up hungry.
For this reason, it’s highly suggested to make a few other changes which are permanent to help in maintaining a calorie deficit in the long term, without feeling starved.
Below are 5 evidence-based diet and lifestyle changes that have been shown to help people in weight loss.
1. More protein intake
Protein is the king of nutrients when it comes to weight loss.
With minimum effort, adding protein to the diet is the simplest, most effective, and most delicious way to lose weight.
Studies show that protein increases both the metabolic rate and helps curb the appetite.
As protein requires energy to metabolize, calories burned by 80–100 calories per day can be increase with a high protein diet
By far the most filling nutrient is protein. One study showed that people who consumed 30% of calories from protein ate 441 fewer calories per day automatically
In other words, adding protein to the diet can easily increase calories out and reduce calories
Protein can also help in fighting cravings, which is the worst enemy of a dieter.
In one study, consuming 25% of daily calories from protein decreased obsessive thoughts about food by 60% and the desire for late-night snacking was cut by 50%
By considering making a permanent increase in the protein intake, weight loss can be done sustainably and with minimal effort
It will not only help in losing weight but also will prevent or at least significantly decrease weight regain
Protein intake when increased can boost metabolism, fight cravings, and significantly reduce appetite which can lead to automatic weight loss.
2. Sugary soft drinks and fruit juices should be avoided
Another relatively easy change which can be made is to eliminate the liquid sugar calories from the diet which includes sodas, fruit juices, chocolate milk, and other beverages with added sugar.
These products are amongst the most fattening characteristic of the modern diet, as the brain doesn’t register liquid calories in the same way as it registers solid calories.
Drinking sugary soda for this reason doesn’t make the brain automatically compensate by having to eat instead smaller amounts of other things.
Studies have shown that sugary drinks are strongly connected to risk of obesity being increased, with a study in children showing a 60% increased risk for each daily serving of a sugar-sweetened beverage.
The harmful effects of sugar certainly go beyond weight gain. It can have effects which can be disastrous on metabolic health and raise the risk of many diseases.
Though small amounts of natural sugars can harm the health in various ways from foods like fruit are fine, large amounts from added sugar and sugary drinks
The long-term benefits of avoiding them can be enormous as there is no physiological need for these beverages
It’s vital that sugary soft drinks and fruit juices should be avoided, as liquid sugar is the single most fattening aspect of the Western diet.
3. Consume more water
Increase weight loss a very simple trick is to drink more water.
The number of calories you burn for up to 90 minutes can be increased by doing so
About 8 glasses (equal to 68 ounces or 2 liters) of water drinking per day can make you burn about 96 more calories.
However, the timing of when water is to be consumed may be even more important, as having it before meals can help decrease hunger and automatically makes in eating fewer calories
In a 12-week study, drinking 17 ounces (0.5 liters) of water half an hour before meals made people 44% more weight loss
Drinking more water when combined with a healthy diet, especially before meals, appears to be helpful if weight loss is needed
Beverages which have caffeine, such as coffee and green tea, are also excellent. At least in the short term their caffeine content can somewhat boost metabolism
Drinking water can boost metabolism which has shown in studies. Drinking it half an hour before meals can help in eating fewer calories.
4. Weights lifting and Exercise
When fewer calories are consumed, the body compensates by saving energy, making it burn less.
This is why in long-term metabolism can reduce significantly if there is calorie restriction
In addition, it can lead to loss of muscle mass. Muscle is metabolically active, so this can decrease metabolism even more.
The only proven strategy to prevent this effect is by lifting weights to exert the muscles
This has been continuously shown to prevent loss of muscle and stop the metabolism from slowing during long-term calorie restriction
If trying to lose weight then losing fat won’t be enough, taking care of muscles is also to be ensured
Consider doing body weight exercises at home if cannot go to gym, such as push-ups, squats, and sit-ups
Doing some cardio can be important including walking, swimming, or jogging, not necessarily for weight loss but for having optimal health and general well-being.
Exercise has a variety of other benefits that go beyond losing weight, such as longevity, lower risk of disease, more energy, and feeling better daily
Lifting weights is vital, as it decreases muscle loss and prevents the metabolic rate from slowing.
5. Reducing carb intake
Cutting carbs is a very effective way to losing weight, as it decreases appetite and automatically makes eat fewer calories
Studies have shown that having a low carb diet until fullness can help in losing about two to three times more weight than a calorie-restricted or low fat diet
Not only have that, but low carb diets also have many other benefits for health, especially for people who are having type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
But it is not necessary to go low-carb. Eating quality should be simply ensured, fiber-rich carb sources, focusing on whole, single-ingredient foods.
The exact composition of the diet becomes less important if sticking to whole foods.
Cutting carbs may help in aiding weight loss by reducing appetite and making eat fewer calories.
It’s highly suggested to use a calorie counter for a few days at least to track how many calories, carbs, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals is truly been eaten
Tracking and seeing the numbers like this can often be an eye-opener.
The bottom line
How many calories are needed per day depends on whether weight needs to be maintained, lost, or gained, as well as various other factors, such as your gender, age, height, current weight, activity levels, and metabolic health.
Decreasing calories does not have to mean starving. A few simple diet and lifestyle changes can help in losing weight and feel satisfied, including exercising, properly hydrating, and increasing protein and reducing carb intake