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Recommended Calories Per Day for Men

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Recommended Calories Per Day for Men
A couple eating lunch on a porch. Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images

Eating the recommended calories per day can help you maintain your weight and have enough energy for daily activity. Calories come from the foods and beverages you consume. Eating too few can lead to fatigue, weight loss and nutritional deficiencies, while eating too many can prompt weight gain. The Institute of Medicine makes recommendations as to the number of calories a man should consume daily.


Men aged 19 to 30 years need between 2,400 and 3,000 calories per day. Men aged 31 to 50 years need 2,200 to 3,000 calories per day. Men aged 51 years and older need between 2,000 and 2,800 calories per day. Younger men generally need more calories than older men because they tend to be more active and have more muscle mass.


Sedentary men who only perform activity necessary for daily living should consume in the lower end of the calorie ranges. Those who are active or extremely active, such as regular gym-goers or men with physically-demanding jobs such as construction, should aim for the higher end of the calorie ranges. Genetics and size also influence the number of calories you need per day, so remember that the Institute of Medicine recommendations are only guidelines.


Even if a man is trying to lose weight, he should consume at least 1,500 calories per day, according to MedLine Plus. If you follow the calorie recommendations put forth by the Institute of Medicine and lose or gain weight unintentionally, adjust your calorie intake accordingly. If you are losing weight, add 250 calories or so per day, and if you are gaining weight, reduce your intake by about 250 calories or so per day.

Nutrition Requirements

Choosing nutritional sources for your calorie intake can improve your energy levels and promote good health. A typical diet for a man should include foods from all of the major food groups. The average 2,600 calorie diet should include 9 oz. of grains -- with half of these coming from whole grain sources -- 3 cups of dairy, 6.5 oz. of meat and beans, 3.5 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits. About 8 tsp. of healthy oils, such as olive and safflower, and 410 calories in extras, such as sugars and saturated fats, are also allowable.

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