Food nutrition labels are typically based on a 2,000-calories-per-day diet, but taking in that amount isn’t appropriate for everyone. The figure is based on the average number of calories needed to maintain a healthy weight, and gives a common reference point for you to determine the quality of the food you're about to eat. What truly determines how many calories and fat grams you need, though, is a combination of your age, weight, gender and how active you are throughout your standard day.
Calculating Your Numbers
To determine the specific number of calories you need daily, first take a look at how active you are. If you're a moderately active male, multiply the number of pounds you weigh by 15, and the total will give you an idea of your suggested daily caloric intake, the University of Maryland Medical Center explains. Moderately active females should multiply their weight by 12 to get their calorie number. Inactive males, meantime, should multiply their weight by 13, and inactive females by 10.
Finding the Fat
Once you’ve determined how many calories you need, figure out how much fat you should be ingesting. Multiply your number of daily calories from Section 1 by 30 percent — or .30 — which is the daily percentage of your calorie intake health experts recommend you get from fat. If you want to know the precise number of fat grams, take the fat-calories number you just arrived at and divide it by 9 — the number of calories per fat gram, the University of Maryland Medical Center notes. While fat is an important part of your diet, 10 percent or less of your daily fat intake should come from unhealthy saturated fats.
Age Plays a Part
Gender and age also have a role in determining how many calories you need daily. For example, the American Cancer Society recommends 2,400 daily calories for an active 25-year-old man who exercises for an hour daily. An active 65-year-old woman who also works out daily should be taking in 2,000 calories.
To Lose Weight
If you’re trying to lose weight, start by cutting calories and increasing your activity levels. Replace a few sugary drinks and snacks with healthier options, such as water and fruit instead of soda and cookies. If you increase your activity, you'll also burn calories. Try a 30-minute bike ride, which can burn 400 calories or more, and you’ll be on your way to losing weight. Consult your doctor before beginning any new diet or exercise program.