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Men's Daily Nutritional Requirements

author image Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.
Men's Daily Nutritional Requirements
Protein Photo Credit: Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Eating healthy combined with regular exercise is the key to healthy weight management in men. Choosing a nutrient-dense, calorie-controlled diet helps men look – and feel – their best. About 74 percent of U.S. men are overweight or obese, reports Weight-control Information Network, which increases their risk for heart disease and diabetes.

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Calorie Needs

As a general rule, most men require 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day to maintain healthy weights, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. Using a man’s body weight and activity level also helps estimate his daily calorie needs. Harvard Medical School suggests men need 18 calories per pound of body weight if they’re active, 16 calories per pound if they are moderately active and about 13 calories per pound of body weight if they're sedentary. Overweight and obese men can lose about 1 pound weekly by reducing their current intake by 500 calories a day.


The protein needs of men are generally based on their body weights and activity levels. The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for men is 56 grams of protein per day, according to the Institute of Medicine. However, men who exercise regularly may require up to 0.91 grams of protein per pound of their body weight each day, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Healthy, protein-rich options include egg whites, lean red meats, skinless poultry, low-fat dairy foods, such as cottage cheese, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Carbohydrates and Fat

Men should obtain 45 to 65 percent of their calorie intake from carbohydrates, and 20 to 35 percent from dietary fat, advises the Institute of Medicine. This means men who eat 2,500 calories a day should aim for 281 to 406 grams of carbohydrates and 56 to 97 grams of fat -- since carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram and fat provides 9 calories in each gram. Nutritious, carbohydrate-containing foods are vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat milk, legumes, nuts and seeds. Healthy fats are found in plant-based oils, fish oil, nuts, seeds, nut butters, olives and avocados.

Vitamins and Minerals

Men following well-balanced meal plans likely get all the vitamins and minerals they need daily. However, ask your doctor if a multivitamin supplement is appropriate for you. Calcium is an important nutrient for the aging population, including men, to help prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency is a concern for older men, men who get little sun exposure and those with dark skin, notes the Office of Dietary Supplements. Men who plan to have children should get plenty of zinc, since zinc deficiency is associated with low-quality sperm and male infertility, according to a 2009 study in “Nutrition Research.”

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