What is the average calorie intake for men?
The average man needs to consume around 2500 calories in order to maintain his weight. However, this number is not set in stone.
The following factors determine calorie intake for men:
- His age – younger men tend to require more calories. As we get older, our metabolism slows down and we therefore require fewer calories.
- His body size – the larger your body size, the more calories you need. A tall heavy man will need more calories than a short light-weight man. Also, the more muscular you are, the more calories you require.
- His activity levels – exercise burns calories; the more active you are, the more calories you require. A man who exercises strenuously 5 times a week will require many more calories than a man who does not exercise at all.
Because of these factors, it may not be a good idea for you to assume that you need to eat 2500 calories. Eating 2500 calories when you really need 2000 will result in weight gain over time. On the other hand, eating 2500 calories when you really need 3000 will result in weight loss over time.
You can use the tool below to accurately estimate the number of calories that you should be consuming.
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
For example, a 30 year old man who weighs 55 kg (121 lb), is 165 cm tall and exercises twice a week should aim to consume approximately 2000 calories in order to maintain his weight.
On the other hand, a 25 year old man who weighs 75 kg (165 lb), is 185 cm tall and exercises 5 times a week should aim to consume approximately 2800 calories in order to maintain his weight.
The calories that you consume should come from a variety of nutritious foods. This helps to prevent deficiencies in vital nutrients.
The three macro-nutrients are protein, carbohydrate and fat and eating each in sufficient amounts is necessary for optimal health.
Protein provides 4 calories per gram and is needed by the body for a large number of functions. Proteins are the building blocks of life and every cell in the body contains protein. It is required for the repair and generation of cells.
Eating protein also helps to improve muscle mass, manage one’s weight, stabilize blood sugar levels, maintain strong bones and promote longevity.
Your body obtains nine amino acids, also known as essential amino acids, from your diet because it is unable to produce them. These are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.
Foods that provide all nine amino acids are known as complete protein sources whereas those that only provide some of the amino acids are known as incomplete protein sources. Animal based foods tend to be complete protein sources whereas plant based foods are mostly incomplete protein sources, with a few exceptions.
The amount of protein that a man should eat will depend on his activity levels, muscle mass, age, current state of health and physical goals. It is recommended that men get at least 56 grams of protein per day. If you lift weights and lead an active lifestyle, you will require significantly more.
There are many protein rich foods that you can add to your diet including eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, dairy, quinoa and some vegetables.
Like protein, carbohydrate (or carbs) also provide 4 calories per gram. Carbs come in three forms: sugar, starch and fiber.
Sugar is found naturally in certain foods such as fruit and milk. Starch is made up of many sugar units that have bonded together and is found in foods such as potatoes, pasta and bread. And fiber is found in the cell walls of most plant based foods.
Carbs are required by the body because they are a source of energy. When you eat carbs, they are broken down into glucose and then absorbed into the bloodstream. Together with the help of insulin, glucose enters cells and acts as a fuel source.
Any unused glucose in converted into glycogen, which is stored in your liver and muscles. If glycogen stores are full, excess glucose is converted into fat and stored around the body.
A large number of the carbs that you eat should come from foods that are close to their natural state as possible. These are known as complex carbs and include foods such as fruits, vegetables, oats, lentils, beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals that are needed for dozens of bodily processes.
The USDA recommends that 45 – 65% of total calories should come from carbs. Your carbohydrate requirements will depend on how active you are, your metabolism and overall goals.
Weight for weight, fat provides more than twice the amount of energy that protein and carbs do, at 9 calories per gram. Like carbs, fat is a source of energy for the body and provides essential fatty acids such as omega-3. It also helps the body to absorb certain nutrients such as vitamins A, D an E.
People often believe that eating fat makes you fat, but this is not true. Eating more calories than you require, be it from protein, carbs or fat is what leads to weight gain.
When you eat fat, it is broken down into smaller units called fatty acids. Any unused fat is stored as fat around the body.
The USDA recommends that 20 – 35% of total calories come from fat.
Again, most of the fat that you eat should come from foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. This includes foods such as avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and fatty fish.
The average man needs to consume around 2500 calories in order to maintain his weight, however individual requirements may differ significantly. The calories that you consume should come from high quality protein, carbohydrate and fat. This means that you should eat a variety of nutrient dense foods.