Determining your daily caloric intake is a complex process that varies from person to person. The calories needed for a 6-foot man might be completely different from another man or woman of the same height.
The number of daily calories you need depends on your goals, body shape, body size and activity level.
Calories for 6' Tall Men
Estimating the resting metabolic rate for a 6-foot-tall man is easy with online calculators, but the number isn't necessarily accurate. The National Academy of Sports Medicine offers a simple calculator that you may use. These online tools typically estimate your resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure, then give you a calorie goal.
Your resting metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn per day at rest. It includes all the energy it takes for you to breathe, for your organs to function and for blood to move through your body. This number accounts for a large portion of the calories you burn in a day.
Your energy expenditure is generally a rough estimate of the number of calories you burn per day on top of your resting metabolic rate. That number accounts for any workouts you do, as well as simple tasks like cleaning the dishes and walking to or from work.
Calculating Caloric Requirements
One of the most most widely used formulas to measure resting metabolic rate is the Harris-Benedict equation. It uses your height, weight, age and gender to determine this number.
For example, a 30-year-old man who stands 6' tall and weighs 200 pounds burns an estimated 2,013 calories per day at rest. Body size and shape play a big role, so you can expect the calorie intake for a 4'11 woman to be different from that for a 6' tall man.
When you add activity on top of that, the number of calories burned in a day goes up. A table from Harvard Health gives estimates for calories burned during 30 minutes of various activities at three different body weights. For example, a 185-pound man burns 266 calories in 30 minutes of vigorous weight training compared to 400 calories on the elliptical trainer. Estimates like these can give you an idea of how many calories you're burning from your workout.
Some step counters also give you an estimate of how many calories you burn from activity based on how far you walk in a given day. You may not realize how little or how much you walk around throughout the day until you actually track it.
The problem with using estimated equations is that there are more variables in determining how many calories you torch daily than just height, weight and age.
For example, fat-free mass, which represents the weight of your ligaments, bones, muscles, tendons and internal organs, is a big factor in the number of calories you burn per day. Since this number isn't necessarily reflected in height, the differences between two males of the same age, height and weight can be different. One can have more muscle and one can have more fat.
According to a small 30-person study published in September 2016 in the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Harris-Benedict equation isn't completely accurate for individuals because it doesn't take into account the differences in fat-free mass between people. Those differences can be significant.
Consider Your Goals
Depending on your goals, your calorie requirements may shift. Once you have a rough estimate of the daily number of calories you burn from your resting metabolism and any activity you do, you can determine how many calories you need to eat to gain or lose weight.
If you're trying to put on pounds, you need to eat above that number — and vice versa if you want to lose weight. This is called energy balance, and it's a reliable formula for gaining or losing weight according to a March 2017 study published in Cancer Causes & Control. However, since estimated equations aren't entirely accurate, you should use another form of measurement to track your progress.
You may use a scale or a hand-held body fat measurement device for more accurate measurements. Clothes are also a good way to get feedback on your progress. The way your pants or shirts fit will give you an indication of what direction you're going, rather than relying on slightly inaccurate calorie formulas.
- National Health Services: "What Should My Daily Intake of Calories Be?"
- University of New Mexico: "Getting a Grip on Body Composition"
- Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "Cross-Validation of Resting Metabolic Rate Prediction Equations"
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights"
- American Council on Exercise: "Resting Metabolic Rate: Best Ways to Measure It—And Raise It, Too"
- National Academy of Sports Medicine: "Resting Metabolic Rate: How to Calculate and Improve Yours"
- American Council on Exercise: "BMR Versus RMR"
- Cancer Causes & Control: "Energy Balance and Obesity: What Are the Main Drivers?"