How Many Calories Should You Eat on a Diet?

How Many Calories Should You Eat on a Diet?

how many calories should you eat on a diet

As the New Year is kicking off, many people are making goals to lose weight. One of the simplest ways to do that is by counting calories. There are apps that will help you keep track. While the team here at Cool Springs doesn’t suggest you go into a significant calorie reduction without speaking to your doctor, we have a few suggestions. 

What Is A Calorie?

A calorie is a way to measure units of energy. They are also used to measure the amount of energy found in food and drinks. Certain foods are more calorie-dense than others. You need to consume less calories than you take in if you want to lose weight.

How Many Calories Should You Eat On A Diet?

One of the most accurate ways to determine how many calories you should eat on a diet is called the Mifflin-St Jeor equation, otherwise known as a BMR (basal metabolic rate) calculator.  You simply plug a few numbers into the formula to determine how many calories you need to eat per day. 

Calculating Your BMR

Your BMR is approximately how many calories your body needs just to sustain all your bodily functions when you’re at rest. The more active you are, the more calories you need to add on top of your BMR needs. To find your BMR, use this formula: BMR= 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + s (kcal/day), where s is +5 for males and -161 for females.

Calculating Total Energy Expenditure

Your BMR accounts for about 60-75% of your total caloric needs. The rest of your calorie requirements depend on your lifestyle. If your job requires you to be active then you’ll use more calories during the day. Your body also uses more calories to power its central nervous system than it does to power your muscles. Therefore, if your job requires a lot of brain power, you’ll need more calories. 

Your activity level accounts for about 20% of your Total Energy Expenditure (TTE) and digestion accounts for about 10% of your TTE. You can also increase your BMR by increasing your muscle mass. To calculate your Total Energy Expenditure, simply calculate your BMR then add the amount of calories you expend in physical activity.

How Many Calories Do I Need In Order to Lose Weight?

The average woman needs about 2,000 calories per day and the average man needs about 2,500 calories per day to maintain their current weight. However, this varies greatly depending on your age and how active you are as well as how intense your exercise regime is. 

There are 3,500 calories in a pound. In order to lose 1 pound per week, you need to reduce your calorie intake by 500/day. A common and healthy suggestion for losing weight is to lose 2 pounds/week, which would be consuming 1,000 calories less per day. 

How to Reduce Calories without Starving Yourself

It seems simple to just reduce the amount of food you eat in order to lose weight. However, if you’re allotted only 1,000 calories per day and you choose to eat those calories in cheese, for example, you’ll find yourself starving. If you’re starving, then you’ll quickly give up on your diet, give into temptation, or cause your body’s BMR to slow down. There are healthy ways to reduce your calories enough to lose weight but also feel satisfied.

Drink More Water

Just increasing your water intake can help you burn nearly 100 more calories per day. Drinking water before meals can also help you to eat less during meals and to feel fuller. Water also affects many of your other body systems, which in turn affect how many calories you burn. 

Eat More Protein

Increasing your protein intake can help curb your appetite as well as boost your BMR. Protein also helps you to feel fuller for longer. Eating about 30% of your calories per day from protein can help you eat about 500 calories per day less. Consuming more protein can also help reduce sugar cravings because many times sugar cravings actually stem from a protein deficiency.

Stop Drinking Your Calories

An easy way to greatly reduce your calorie intake is to cut out sugary drinks. You can do this by cutting out juice, sodas, and other calorie-ridden beverages. The brain doesn’t process calories that we drink the same way that it processes calories you eat. That’s why you can drink a meal replacement shake and not feel satisfied. Consuming sugary beverages can increase your risk of obesity by 60% as well as increase your risk for a multitude of other health problems. 


Long term calorie restriction can not only cause your metabolism to slow down but it can also cause muscle loss. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to exercise and work your muscles. Exercise also has the benefit of burning calories and increasing your overall health. When choosing an exercise regime, try to pick one that gives you good cardio and muscle strengthening.

Reduce Carb Intake

Carbs are metabolized differently in your body. Lowering your carb intake can help you lose about 2 to 3 times more weight than simply just restricting calories. Carbs also impact your blood sugar levels, which increase your appetite, increase sugar cravings, and encourage more calorie consumption. 

You don’t need to go on a low carb diet but simply watch the carbs you’re eating. Ensure that you’re getting lots of fiber and whole grains. 

Call Us to Help You Out

You can leave your health in the hands of Dr. Hinz at Cool Springs Chiropractic. Our team takes a holistic approach to your overall health and will work hard to make sure you feel cared for. We enjoy serving the community here in Franklin, Tennessee. Give us a call to schedule your appointment!

Are you suffering from back pain, sports injury, or an accident? Did you know Chiropractic can possibly help treat these injuries?

Get in touch with Dr. Pete Hinz at Cool Springs Chiropractic today for a FREE consultation.

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