How many calories should a male consume a day? Calories are the unit of energy in food. Every day we consume calories of different sources. The number of calories that a person should consume depends upon his physical size, weight and height, age, gender etc. To maintain proper body weight and fit figure every individual must know how many calories he/she should take.
How Many Calories Does A Man Need Daily?
The number of calories a man needs every day is usually higher than that of a woman. The reason why more are needed is that men are larger and have more muscle. The number of calories required per day is usually based on the following factors:
- Height and Weight – Since men are generally taller than women, height is a critical factor. The higher the height, the greater the weight, and the more muscle you have, the greater the number of calories you need per day.
- Physical Activity – The more physically active you are, the greater the number of calories per day you need.
- Age – As you age, you start losing muscle mass. With this, your body needs fewer calories to sustain it.
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – Basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body requires while it is at rest. This is not the number of calories needed during an exercise.
The Caloric Threshold
The caloric threshold is the number of calories you consume per day to lose or gain weight. The number of calories needed by the body depends on your body weight and the level of exercise you are doing. For instance, if you exercise daily using your entire body, you need more calories than someone who’s sedentary and exercises just one part of their body.
To manage your weight, you need to lose or gain more calories than you burn. The following are general calorie thresholds:
Threshold Based On Weight
If you are underweight and have no chronic medical condition, the calories you need per day are 1,200 to 1,500. On the other hand, if you are overweight or obese, you need to consume less than 1,200 or 1,500 calories daily.
If a man is already healthy, 1,500 calories per day are the maximum limit for losing weight. If he is overweight or obese and is on a weight loss plan, then 1,200 to 1,500 calories are all he needs. The caloric threshold would be between 1,000 to 1,200 calories for men who weigh more.
Threshold Based On Exercise
The more intense the exercise you do, the greater the number of calories you need. As a guide, you need the following number of calories per day:
Athletes and more intense physical activity – 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day
Sedentary – 2,000 to 2,500 calories
Threshold Based On Age
The younger you are, the more calories you need per day. This is because you have more muscle mass, which needs a lot of energy. For older men, 1,200 to 1,800 calories per day is enough. You require at least 2,400 to 2,800 calories per day, the younger you are.
To lose weight
If weight loss is the goal, the USDA says that cutting your calorie intake by 500 to 1000 calories per day can lead to safe weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week. For our average American guy, that’s between 1,822 and 2,322 calories per day. That said, cutting calories drastically can backfire, as you may end up getting so hungry that you overeat.
It’s also important to factor in exercise: If you’re burning 500 calories per day through physical activity, cutting 1000 calories would actually lead to a deficit of 1,500 calories, which is too much.
To gain weight
If you’re trying to gain weight, the Cleveland Clinic recommends increasing your calorie intake by 300 to 500 calories per day—3,122 to 3,322 calories per day for the average guy, assuming his activity level stays the same.
“The primary factors that determine how many calories someone needs include birth sex, age, genetics, body size, and daily activity level,” says Anya Rosen, M.S., R.D., a New York-based dietitian. “Other variables can play a significant role, such as body composition, dieting behaviors, injury, or illness.”
In general, men burn more calories than women because they’re typically larger overall. Men are also predisposed to having more muscle and less fat mass, which impacts calorie burn, explains Kyle Gonzalez, M.S., C.S.C.S., an exercise scientist and performance coach at Future.
Injury and illness can also temporarily increase the amount of calories you need. Healing from major burns or other large open wounds requires extra energy and protein. Cancer can drastically increase your calorie burn. If you have a fever, you need extra calories to make up for your higher body temperature. Even fighting off the common cold takes energy.
How to calculate your calorie needs
Although it’s possible to estimate how many calories you need in a day, there’s one huge caveat: “There are many different formulas available to determine calorie needs, but they all have large margins of error due to there being too many influential variables to control,” Rosen says.
Scientists use a method called indirect calorimetry to measure exactly how many calories a person burns in a day, but it’s expensive, time-consuming, and pretty inaccessible for most people.
If you’re curious about your exact calorie needs, here’s how to determine it for yourself.
Tracking your food intake
“I find that the best way for you to determine your calorie needs (assuming you are outside of a research setting) starts with ensuring that you are currently maintaining your weight,” Rosen says.
“Once weight is stable, track your food intake for 1 to 2 weeks without changing how you would normally eat. The average calories across that time frame is a good estimate for your maintenance caloric needs, and you can adjust from there according to your goals.”
In other words: If your weight isn’t changing, you’re eating the right number of calories.
A metabolism calculator
You can also try using a formula to estimate your calorie needs, which is easy to do with an online calorie calculator from a trusted source. This one, from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), takes into account your age, weight, gender, height, and activity level, from sedentary to very active to determine your calorie needs.
Calories for Men to Maintain Weight
To maintain your weight, you want to consume enough food to meet your daily energy needs. If you don’t eat enough calories per day, you will lose fat and muscle mass. If you eat too many calories per day, your body will store the excess energy as fat.
You can use a calculator to find out how many calories you burn each day. Or scan these average calorie numbers for men to see how much energy you use each day and how many calories you should consume to maintain your weight.
Based on numbers provided by the calorie calculator, here’s the average calorie number for a man who wants to maintain his current weight based on a moderately active man of average height (approximately 5’10”) who weighs 175 pounds:
- 20-year-old man: 2806 calories per day
- 30-year old man: 2728 calories per day
- 40-year old man: 2651 calories per day
- 50-year old man: 2573 calories per day
- 60-year old man: 2496 calories per day
- 70-year old man: 2418 calories per day
- 80-year old man: 2341 calories per day
If you are sedentary or lightly active you should consume fewer calories per day to maintain your weight. If you are very active (you work a job that includes physical labor and/or you exercise vigorously on a regular basis) you should consume more calories per day to maintain your weight.
You might notice that the number of calories you need declines with age. As we get older, our metabolism slows down and we don’t need as much food (energy) to fuel our bodies. Your metabolism may slow because of a decrease in muscle mass or because of a slower lifestyle. We typically become less active as we get older.
Calories for Men to Gain Weight
But what if you want to gain weight? How many calories should a man eat to bulk up his muscle mass? You will need to consume more than your daily energy needs to gain weight, but you should also be mindful of the kind of calories you consume.
While experts used to recommend an energy surplus of 500 to 1000 calories per day to gain a pound of body weight, more recent research has called those numbers into question.
Researchers now suggest that the energy surplus needed to gain a pound of muscle will vary by individual. But as a starting point, they suggest adding approximately 360 to 480 calories per day. Then, monitor changes in body composition and functional capacity to further personalize dietary interventions.
To get an idea of the average calories per day for a man to gain weight, scan these estimates to see how many calories it would take to increase a man’s weight from 160 pounds to 180 pounds at a rate of 1 pound per week:
- 20-year-old man: 3230 calories per day
- 30-year old man: 3153 calories per day
- 40-year old man: 3075 calories per day
- 50-year old man: 2998 calories per day
To make sure that you gain muscle weight and not excess fat, tailor your daily diet to promote lean mass. Focus on eating more protein, fewer processed foods with added sugars, and limit your intake of refined carbohydrates. You should also focus on healthy sources of fat and avoid eating too much saturated fat or foods with trans fat.
So how much protein is enough? Protein needs for men will vary based on your activity level. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, to increase your muscle mass you need to participate in a program of strength training. In addition, you should consume 1.2 to 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (or 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight).
Good sources of lean protein include lean meat (lean cuts of beef, bison, lamb, and pork), poultry (chicken breast or turkey), egg whites, legumes, seafood, and low-fat or nonfat dairy.
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.