Obesity is on the rise in the UK, with many of us becoming less active through successive lockdowns and working from home it has never been more important to watch what we eat. But, how many calories should we be consuming a day? Here is a simple guide to how many calories you should be consuming a day based on your age.
An ideal daily intake of calories varies depending on how old you are, your metabolism, how much you exercise and other things.
Your size will also determine how many calories you will need a day.
Your height and weight can also affect how quickly you use energy.
How many calories should I be consuming a day?
The NHS’s recommended daily calorie intake is 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 for men.
But, this is a ballpark figure, the actual amount of energy you will need will vary drastically between individuals.
Age plays a big factor in this variation, for example, growing teenagers may need more energy than a 90-year-old.
Women between the age of 25 and 30 with sedentary, non-active lifestyles, should aim to consume 1,800 calories per day.
But, this figure will drops to 1,600 calories per day from the age of 50 onwards.
Women with active lifestyles can often consume far more calories.
Calorie consumption of active women between the ages of 20 and 30 can be as high as 2,400 per day 20 and 30 but, again this drops with age to 2,000 from the age of 60.
Men typically burn more energy than women and so have higher recommended calorie intakes.
Men with sedentary lifestyles can a calorie intake ranging from 2,400 calories between the ages of 25 to 30, before dropping to 2,000 from the age of 60.
Whereas men with active lifestyles can eat up to a whopping 3,000 a day from 20 to 30, before needing to drop down to 2,600 calories a day when they reach 60 years of age.
Age and activity levels are just two factors that contribute to how many calories an individual will need to consume a day.
Whilst these two factors are important you should bear in mind that your hormones, metabolism and other factors also contribute to your energy consumption.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of measurement, it doesn’t measure weight or length but, it’s a unit of energy.
Calories are effectively a measure of how much energy is contained in food or drink.
When something is labelled as containing 100 calories, it’s a way of describing how much energy your body would get from eating or drinking it.
The amount of energy you need will depend on your age and your lifestyle, such as how physically active you are.
Some hormones, chemicals produced by the body, will also affect how well your body can burn energy, such as thyroid hormones.
So, age alone should not be used to determine how many calories you will need a day, but it can give a rough indication.
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