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How Many Calories Should I Consume in a Day?

Introduction

Calories, this seems to be the word discussed most these days. They are seemingly confusing for a person who thinks of getting on a diet or just trying to eat healthy. So let us understand a bit about calories and an easy way to calculate your calorie intake. While considering the recommendation of ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) it will be possible to provide a practical guide on how many calories you should aim for based on age and gender.

Calories are The Building Blocks of Energy

A calorie is a unit of measurement for nutrient. It is the background behind basic bodily functions like breathing, digestion, walking and talking. It provides the fuel for bodily function all the way to vigorous exercises. Calorie is the representation of the amount of energy obtained from food and beverages when the body metabolizes them.

Each macronutrient contributes a specific number of calories per gram

There are three macronutrients – Carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These offer different amounts of calories when they are metabolized in the body through digestion

Why is Calories important

Think of Calories like currency, we need money for our daily activities in the world. In the same way calories are the currency of energy for our bodies. Maintaining a balance between the calories we consume and the energy we expend is crucial for overall health and well-being. Eating an appropriate number of calories ensures that our bodies have enough energy for essential functions, growth, and daily activities. A calorie surplus lead to building up of the body and helps in growth and repair

ICMR Recommendations: How Many Calories Do You Need?

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) provides guidelines for estimating daily caloric needs based on age, gender, and activity levels. Here’s a general overview:

he requirements are segregated based on lifestyle factors,

The reference standard individual is between the age of 19-40 and is healthy and has no medical conditions. Reference man is between 19-39 years of age, height 163 cm and weight of 65 kg. Reference woman is between 19-39 years of age, height 151 cm and weight 55 kg.

Age groupCategoryEnergy requirement (K.Cal/Day)Protein requirement (g/day)
Adult men (19-40 yrs)Sedentary work211042.9
Moderate work2710
Heavy work3470
Adult women (19-40yrs)Sedentary work166036.3
Moderate work2130
Heavy work2720
Pregnancy+350+7.6 – 17.6
Lactation+600+10.6-13.6

These figures are general recommendations, and individual requirements may vary based on factors like metabolism, muscle mass, and specific health conditions.

Conclusion

Understanding your daily caloric needs is a fundamental step towards achieving a balanced and healthy lifestyle. By recognizing the significance of calories, knowing the macronutrient contributions, and aligning your intake with ICMR guidelines you can fuel your body efficiently, supporting overall well-being. Remember, the key is not just in the quantity but also in the quality of the calories you consume.

To help you design a calorie-based diet plan contact your dietician or health care professional. Although the math of calorie in and calorie out is pretty simple. The dietician will have to consider a lot of other contributing factors while designing your diet plan.

References

  1. Nutrient Requirements for Indians Recommended Dietary Allowances Estimated Average Requirements – A Report of the Expert Group, 2020 Indian Council of Medical ResearchIndia2020
  2. WHO Technical Report Series1973 https://apps.who.int/ iris/bitstream/ handle/10665/41042/ WHO_TRS_522.pdf;jsessionid=0EA0A7 6E2D6DC86615DE65A980F7 E58A?sequence=1
  3. S S Padmadas J G Dias F J Willekens Disentangling women’s responses on complex dietary intake patterns from an Indian cross-sectional survey: a latent class analysisPublic Health Nutr20069204211
  4. B Holmes K Dick M Nelson A comparison of four dietary assessment methods in materially deprived households in EnglandPublic Health Nutr200811544456
  5. S Pasricha LM Rebello Some common Indian recipes and their nutritive value4th EdNational Institute of NutritionHyderabad201198107

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