Skip to main content
take the reality check diet analysis take the reality check diet analysis


Get excited about nutrition, and learn as you go with these information-packed resources on a wide variety of nutrition-centric topics! Our bistroMD experts review the importance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrates, as well as how to make them work most efficiently for you.

Daily Recommended Calorie Intake

Our bodies need calories to breathe, move, and live. More specifically, the body needs is the right balance of calories and nutrients to carryout life-sustaining activates. Following appropriate recommended calorie intake guidelines can help with personal needs, lifestyle habits, and goals.

Daily Recommended Calorie Intake

These days, calories have a bad reputation…

Often blamed for obesity, banned when desiring weight loss, and coined as the sole reason behind guilty conscience.

Feeling bad about a piece of cake? It is a calorie issue. Hoping to drop a few pounds? Calories are counted meticulously.

But the reality is actually quite ironic: We need calories. The body needs calories to breathe, move, and, well, live. But what the body also needs is the right balance of calories and nutrients to carryout such life-sustaining properties.

And what is really needed is an appropriate recommended calorie intake to best suit personal needs, lifestyle habits, and goals.

What Are Calories?

A calorie is a unit that is used to measure energy or, more specially, a calorie (or kilocalorie) is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius.

Fundamentally, calories provide energy for our bodies and allow us to function on a daily basis. They are provided by the three core macronutrients (i.e. carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and alcohol.

Calorie Intake Recommendations

The daily recommended calorie intake varies depending on age, gender, height, weight, and activity levels.

But there are some basic guidelines you can follow to ensure you are eating enough, including recommended daily calorie intakes presented by 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) and calculated through evidence-based calorie equations.

Recommended Calories from the 2015-2020 DGAs

Calorie intake recommendations from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines vary based on age, sex, and physical activity level.

Estimates range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men.

Suggested Caloric Intake Equations

In addition to the general references indicated in the DGAs, calculators and equations help individualize calorie needs considering gender, age, height, weight, and activity levels.

Mifflin-St. Jeor is recognized to be more accurate than others, further showing to estimate calorie estimates within 10 percent based on a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. The equation estimates basal metabolic rate (BMR), or the amount of calories expended each day when the body is at rest.

To determine BMR, enter weight in kilograms (kg), height in centimeters (cm), and age in years (y) into the respective equation based on gender:

Men: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5

Women: 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161.


Pounds to kilograms: Divide weight in pounds by 2.2.
Example: 180 pounds / 2.2 = 81.8 kg

Inches to centimeters: Multiple height in inches by 2.54
Example: 57 inches X 2.54 = 144.8

After calculating BMR, multiply the number of calories by an activity factor to determine a recommended daily calorie intake:

Sedentary: BMR x 1.2 (little to no exercise, desk job)

Lightly Active: BMR x 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1 to 3 days/week)

Moderately Active: BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 6 to 7 days/week)

Very Active: BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise every day, or exercising 2 times/day)

Extra Active: BMR x 1.9 (hard exercise 2 or more times per day or training for marathon, or triathlon, etc.)

No pen, paper, or calculator? Use this online calorie counter calculator to simply and quickly estimate recommended calories.

Calories and Weight Loss

While weight loss is often attributed to calories, should you only be considering and counting calories?

Most nutrition experts agree "No!"

Although recommended daily calorie intake ranges do help you track food intake, calories do not tell the whole tale of weight loss.

True and healthy weight loss considers the comprehensive balance of the macronutrients and other lifestyle factors. However, knowing calorie needs acts as a roadmap to intake levels above are recommended if trying to maintain a healthy weight.

Essentially, you should eat less than the recommended calorie intake amount to lose weight, though a very low calorie diet can be just as bad for you as consuming too many calories. Some extremely low calorie diets cause severe side effects, including brain fog, dizziness, irritability, and muscle loss.

Though there is no need or recommendation to starve yourself if looking to lose those pounds, it is important to find a healthy balance between calorie intake, calories burned, and nutrients obtained. But how do you naturally control calories, ensure adequate nutrients, and lose weight? BistroMD might be the answer you've been looking for!

Successful Weight Loss with bistroMD

Rather than counting calories, bistroMD is scientifically-proven to help you reach your goals by focusing on balanced nutrition. BistroMD is built on the foundation of healthy weight loss, based on real science, and an advocate that food is medicine and should not be viewed as a hindrance of weight loss.

The Science of bistroMD

BistroMD understands weight loss can be overwhelming with all the erroneous information available idealizing fad diets and gimmicks. So to clear the confusion, bistroMD offers healthy meal plans for weight loss based on the science and research of founding weight loss physician Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D.

With over 20 years of medical expertise in her field, Dr. Cederquist works with a team of Registered Dietitians to ensure that the nutritional requirements for healthy and long-term weight loss are being met in every weekly menu, and in each and every entree.

Each entree aids in healthy weight loss diet by supplying a scientific balance of complex carbohydrates, like vegetables, whole grains and fiber, along with lean protein and healthy fat ratios.

Balanced Nutrition

BistroMD's balanced nutrition plan for weight loss provides 1,100 to 1,400 calories daily with 40 to 50 percent total caloric intake from lean, adequate protein, 20 to 25 percent of calories from healthy fats, and 30 to 35 percent from complex carbohydrates. The balance of macronutrients provides the body with what it needs to target fat, lose weight, and jump start healthy weight loss!

BistroMD also offers a men's and women's weight loss program and over 200 delicious recipes to meet individualized needs, goals, and preferences. And with meal options including cinnamon sweet potato pancakes with apple compote, smoked chipotle pork and eggs, meatloaf with honey bourbon glaze, roasted corn and scallop chowder, and jerk spiced tilapia with mango pineapple salsa, you do not have to sacrifice great taste for healthy diet food!

So what are you waiting for? Achieving your goals starts today! It is time to change your perception of weight loss and move beyond the suffering of restrictive portions and calorie counting to healthy diets that actually work.

For more information on bistroMD, visit the official webpage here or call 866-401-3438 to speak to a live representative today!

Sydney Lappe's Photo
Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 07, 2012. Updated on May 13, 2019.


Follow @bistroMD

Theme picker

as seen on...
Dr Phil
Lifetime Network
The Biggest Loser
The Doctors