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How many calories should you really be eating

Let's explore one of the most asked questions of January

 We’ve all read stories of athletes who consume thousands upon thousands of calories every day as they prepare their bodies for major events.

But while we may like to aspire to that level of physique and condition, emulating those diets is not recommended for the general population.

2,500 for men

The number of calories you should consume really depends on a range of factors.

That includes age, height and lifestyle.

As a general rule, men should be aiming for around 2,500 calories per day.

2,000 for women

The guidance also depends on how much exercise you do.

Athletes are taking in so many calories purely because they are burning so many off through stringent training regimes.

For instance, if you go for a long run, participate in an hour’s game of five-a-side football, or spend some time at the gym, you can afford to take more calories on board.

For women, the general guidance is for around 2,000 calories per day.

What if I want to lose weight?

The recipe for losing weight from a calorie point of view is relatively straightforward.

Either through consuming less food, or burning more energy through activity, you need to have a net calorie intake of less than you currently do.

Calories aren’t the bad guy

Phrases like “calorific” can create an impression that calories are to be avoided at all costs.

But remember, a calorie is a unit of energy, without which we would not be able to function.

That’s why crash diets involving the sudden and sharp loss of calories from a person’s body can be dangerous.

Like everything, a healthy balance is important.

Why does it say “kcal” on food and is this the same thing?

Yes, kcal stands for kilocalories, which is the full word for what we commonly refer to as “calories”.

Are there any other factors that affect calorie intake?

The amount of energy a person burns can be impacted by a number of things, from medication to simply being unwell.

Others have conditions which affect their metabolism, or are on courses of steroids for other illnesses which can change how many calories are recommended for an ideal diet.

If you have any questions about how many calories you should be consuming each day, why not drop us a line at [email protected]

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