How to Measure Caloric Intake

Measuring caloric intake is a simple step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Measuring caloric intake is a simple step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Measuring caloric intake is a simple way to monitor your eating habits. By understanding how to do this, you will be able to identify which foods are high in calories and which ones are low in calories. This can lead to better eating habits and a more nutritious diet. Your health will improve as a result.

How Many?

The number of calories you should consume depends on your weight, height, gender, and physical activity level. Most people should consume between 1600 and 2000 calories each day. However, athletes may need much more caloric intake due to their high activity levels. The American Heart Associated suggests 25 to 35 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from fats. The majority of fats eaten should be monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Examples include olives, nuts, avocados, whole grain products, cereal, and fish.

Educate Yourself

When purchasing foods from the grocery store, always check the nutrition facts label on each item. The nutrition facts label provides information about the number of servings in a container, the amount of calories per serving, and the ideal serving size, measured in both standard and metric values. It is ideal to purchase foods that have few calories per serving. When eating, measure exactly one serving -- the size of which is indicated on the label -- to associate its size to a precise caloric value. Many restaurants provide the number of calories each food item contains. So when you eat you, you may check the restaurant’s menu for specific caloric information.

Keep Track of Calories

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the calorie content of foods can be categorized as high, moderate, and low. Low-caloric foods are around 40 calories. Many fruits and vegetables are considered low-calorie foods. Moderate-caloric foods are around 100 calories. High-caloric foods contain around 400 calories. Examples of high-caloric foods include many fast food items and foods high in saturated fats. In order to keep track of the number of calories you consume each day, it is best to write down exactly what you eat and drink for each meal and how many servings of each food item you consumed. At the end of the day, you can add up all of the calories consumed and determine your total caloric consumption.

Calorie Reduction

Once you understand how to calculate calorie intake, the most important thing is to apply this knowledge. In order to lose weight, you need to have a daily caloric deficit, meaning fewer calories should be consumed than burned. The American Cancer Society’s website has a “calorie counter” where you can determine how many calories you require each day to maintain your current weight. The only information that needs to be provided is your weight, sex, and activity level. It also suggests how many calories are needed to reduce your weight by one pound each week. Overall, consuming low-calorie foods and eating smaller portions of foods that contain more calories is the best way to reduce your caloric intake.

 

About the Author

Dr. Sam Vaid specializes in health, wellness, nutrition and sports performance. He is the president and CEO of Sci-Sport, a comprehensive health, wellness and sports performance organization. He is credentialed through the American College of Sports Medicine and holds a doctorate in physical therapy from the Medical College of Georgia.

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