How Many Calories Should an Adult Male Have Per Day?

The minimum calories for a male depend on several factors, such as age, height, weight and level of physical activity. Depending on his lifestyle, a man may need significantly more than the minimum to meet his body's needs. Health.gov recommends a daily calorie intake between 2,000 to 3,000 calories to maintain weight.

Men should eat between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day to maintain their weight. (Image: Boris SV/Moment/GettyImages)

Tip

It is recommended that a man eat between 2,000 to 3,000 calories daily to maintain his weight.

Factors That Affect Calorie Needs

According to the Mayo Clinic, calories are the energy in food. The human body has a constant need for energy and needs the calories in food to continue functioning. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins contain calories and are your body's main energy source.

Whatever source the calories you eat come from, the calories you eat are either converted to physical energy or are stored as fat. The number used for energy versus the number for fat depends on weight, height and level of physical activity, meaning that all men do not have the same calorie needs.

Minimum Calories for a Male

Mayo Clinic's website states that to gain a pound a day, a man must eat at least 3,500 calories a day. If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain weight, and if you burn more calories than you eat, you lose weight. If you cut about 500 to 1,000 calories from your daily calorie intake (assuming you are eating a number needed to sustain your weight), you will lose weight.

The minimum calories for a male is 2,000, although, depending on factors like activity level, height and current weight, this number could be lower or higher for an individual. As a man ages, according to Health.gov, his calorie needs decrease slightly. If a man eats much below the recommended minimum calories for a male, it can be unsafe for his health.

Be Aware of Calorie Sources

All calories are not created equal. They come from three major sources: carbohydrates, fats and proteins, and a person needs varying calories from each of these sources to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To properly balance your calorie intake between these three sources, each of these categories should vary by certain percentages.

According to Kaiser Permanente, about 50 to 60 percent of your total daily calories should come from carbohydrates. About 12 to 20 percent of your total daily calories should come from protein. Lastly, about 30 percent of total daily calories should come from fat. Complex carbohydrates, which are slower-acting, are preferable to simple carbohydrates, which are fast-acting. Unlike carbohydrates and protein, which have 4 calories per gram, fat has more than double, at 9 calories per gram.

Use a Calorie Counter

Using a calorie counter makes it easy to keep track of calorie intake per meal. Harvard Health Publishing provides the following formula to determine the calories needed to maintain weight: Your weight in pounds (LBS) X 15 = the daily number of calories you need to maintain weight

To factor in age, height and activity level for a more accurate daily calorie intake estimate, use Calorie Control Council's calories per day calculator. After inputting your information, the site's tool provides your BMI, as well as the number of calories you need to maintain or lose weight. Generally, a man should eat 500 to 1,000 fewer calories than the number he needs to maintain his weight in order to lose weight. In theory, such a decrease in calories could lead to a loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week.

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