Calories are the energy you burn, provided by the food you eat. If you want to make sure you're taking in just the right amount of fuel for your body, you might want to consider the guidelines for men's daily calorie intake.
Keeping track of the calories you eat can be a bit tedious, but if you cut out some high-calorie foods that provide little nutrition, you might just give yourself the motivation you need to examine your daily calorie intake.
Guidelines for Daily Calorie Intake
If your goal is weight loss, you will want to calculate your daily calorie intake needed to lose weight. If you don't want to crunch your own numbers, you can start with a Dietary Guidelines for Americans table showing estimated daily calorie needs by age, sex and activity level.
The table uses as an example a 5-foot-10-inch male who weighs 154 pounds. To get a more accurate estimate of the calories you need to maintain your current weight if you're moderately active, Harvard Health Publishing says to multiply your own weight in pounds by 15.
The Mayo Clinic also has a handy daily calorie intake calculator to help you decide for yourself how many calories you need. The intake calculator is based on your age, height, weight and activity level.
Dietary Guidelines for Men
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a 5-foot-10-inch, 154-pound male should consume a daily number of calories based on on activity level and age:
- If you're sedentary, at age 21 to 40, you should eat 2,400 calories a day.
- If you're sedentary, at age 41 to 60, you should eat 2,200 calories a day.
- If you're sedentary, at age 61 and older, you should eat 2,000 calories a day.
- If you're moderately active, at age 18 to 25, you should eat 2,800 calories a day.
- If you're moderately active, at age 26 to 45, you should eat 2,600 calories a day.
- If you're moderately active, at age 46 to 65, you should eat 2,400 calories a day.
- If you're moderately active, at age 66 and older, you should eat 2,200 calories a day.
- If you're active, at age 19 to 35, you should eat 3,000 calories a day.
- If you're active, at age 36 to 55, you should eat 2,800 calories a day.
- If you're active, at age 56 to 75, you should eat 2,600 calories a day.
- If you're active, at age 76 and older, you should eat 2,400 calories a day.
Sedentary means you do only activity needed for independent living, says the Dietary Guidelines. Moderately active means walking 1.5 to 3 miles per day at a rate of 3 to 4 miles per hour, along with daily living activities. Active means walking more than 3 miles a day at a rate of 3 to 4 miles per hour, along with daily living activities.
Cutting Calories to Lose Weight
If your goal is to lose weight, you will want to reduce the number of calories you eat, increase your exercise — or both. The Mayo Clinic suggests that by cutting out so-called junk foods, or foods that don't carry much nutritional value but are calorie-dense, you can cut your daily calorie intake allowance without feeling deprived.
If you cut out high-calorie lattes, ice cream and other sweets, you can replace them with lower calorie options. Instead of ordering that flavored latte, order black coffee. Instead of getting ice cream, have a dish of strawberries. Instead of a soda, drink sparkling water flavored with a dash of lemon juice.
The Mayo Clinic also suggests cutting your portion sizes. Simply eating your food on a plate instead of the container you bought it in can give you an idea of how much you're eating. Also, get in the habit of reading labels. Look for the Nutrition Facts label, and check to see what the serving size is.
Meeting Your Goal
Losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is a weight-loss rate that is considered safe, Harvard Health Publishing says. To do this, you need to cut 500 to 1,000 calories per day from your diet.
You should also add in exercise if you want to sustain your weight loss. Adding exercise and cutting your calorie intake allowance by about 500 calories a day should help you lose about 1 pound per week.
You should never, however, eat less than 1,500 calories a day, Harvard Health Publishing says, unless you are under the supervision of a doctor or medical professional. Taking in fewer calories than that can cause you to miss out on essential nutrients. And remember, anytime you undertake a weight-loss program or add in exercise, you should check with your doctor first.
- Harvard Health Publishing: "Calorie Counting Made Easy"
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Appendix 2: Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level"
- Mayo Clinic: "Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight Loss Basics"
- Mayo Clinic: "Calorie Calculator"
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Daily Food Plan