The amount of food you eat depends on many factors such as body composition, environmental factors, body size, genetics, physical activities, leisure time activities, job, general state of health, sex, age, and height. While the number of calories you need will depend on the optimum food you take.
It is not always just about determining the calories in versus the calories out when measuring your weight. If you consume a lot of food every day than what your body utilises, you are bound to gain weight. Consuming fewer calories than you require for energy will make you lose weight.
This article will look at how much you should take as an individual and the types of food you should consume to have a healthy lifestyle.
Simple Fact For Those Who Want to Lose Weight
To experience weight loss, you should decrease the number of calories you take and instead increase their burning. If you take more calories than you burn off, you will gain weight. For this reason, you should incorporate various natural foods to aid in decreased calorie intake and to make you stay healthy.
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Daily Calorie Requirements
The amount of food you eat depends on why you are eating the food in the first place. Do you want to keep your body in shape, gain or lose weight? Or are you preparing for a sports activity? The amount of food you take determined the number of calories you consume. Calories measure how much energy is contained in the food you take. When you understand calories, you will know the amount of food you need to take daily. Each gram or ounce of the weight of the foods you eat contains a different number of calories.
You will read about the available number of calories required for females and males daily in the table below. A low activity level means taking in 30-60 minutes of moderate activity every day, like walking 3-4 miles per hour. Active level means engaging in about 60 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
Daily Calorie Requirement for Males
|Age||Sedentary level||Low active level||Active level|
Daily Calorie Requirement for Females
|Age||Sedentary level||Low active level||Active level|
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Those who desire to have a healthy body weight should monitor the number of calories in their foods then compare with how much they burn against their intake.
How Much Food Do I Need Per Day?
In this section, you will learn about how much of each type of food you should consume every day. Some of the food types include meat, dairy & their alternatives, grains, vegetables and fruit. According to Health Canada, people should take the following recommended number of servings every day.
- Age 2-3 years: Fruit and vegetables 4, Grains 3, Milk (and alternatives) 2, Meat (and alternatives) 1.
- Age 4-8 years: Fruit and vegetables 5, Grains 4, Milk (and alternatives) 2, Meat (and alternatives) 1.
- Age 9-13 years: Fruit and vegetables 6, Grains 6, Milk (and alternatives) 3-4, Meat (and alternatives) 1-2.
- Age 14-18 years (male): Fruit and vegetables 8, Grains 7, Milk (and alternatives) 3-4, Meat (and alternatives) 3.
- Age 14-18 years (female): Fruit and vegetables 7, Grains 6, Milk (and alternatives) 3-4, Meat (and alternatives) 2.
- Age 19-50 years (male): Fruit and vegetables 8-10, Grains 8, Milk (and alternatives) 2, Meat or alternatives 3.
- Age 19-50 years (female): Fruit and vegetables 7-8, Grains 6-7, Milk (and alternatives) 2, Meat (and alternatives) 2.
- Age 51+ years (male): Fruit and vegetables 7, Grains 7, Milk (and alternatives) 3, Meat (and alternatives) 3.
- Age 51+ years (female): Fruit and vegetables 7, Grains 6, Milk (and alternatives) 3, Meat (and alternatives) 3.
Here, we look at the references amounts, which will assist you in determining the number of foods from each of the four food groups you should take every day.
- Fruit and vegetables: 1 piece of fruit, half a cup of fruit juice, half a cup of canned or frozen fruit or vegetables, 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables or salad
- Grains: Half a bagel, 1 slice of bread, half a tortilla, half a pitta, half a cup of cooked couscous, rice or pasta, one ounce of cold cereal, three-quarters of a cup of hot cereal
- Milk and alternatives: 1 cup milk, 1 cup of soy drink, three-quarters of a cup of yogurt, 1 and a half ounces of cheese
- Meat and alternatives: 2 and a half ounces of cooked fish, lean meat, poultry or lean meat, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
Consuming Vegetables and Fruits
Experts claim that you should eat at least one coloured orange and one dark green vegetable every day. Some of the dark green vegetables you can take are broccoli, kale and spinach.
You should always go for vegetables and fruits that do not contain any fat, salt or sugar or they have them in negligible amounts. It is recommended that you stir fry, bake or steam the vegetables. Avoid or reduce consumption of deep-fried foods. Instead of taking their juices, you should consume vegetables and fruits in their whole form because this way you will get more fibre and nutrients. What’s more? They are more feeling and that will prevent overeating.
Health experts say that you should aim at consuming whole grains. It is best to always go for various grains such as barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice. Evade from taking refined cereals but instead take breads, oatmeal and whole-grain pasta.
A good grain should not contain high-fat content, salt or high sugar. There are also other alternatives to grains that have a similar amount of nutrients. Such include starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and peas, quinoa, legumes and beans.
Consuming Milk and Alternatives
It is recommended that you rake 2 cups each day so that you may be supplied with vitamin D and calcium. If you don’t take milk, then supplement it with other fortified drinks. However, you should reduce the consumption of milk containing added sugars and other forms of artificial sweeteners. You may also take low-fat milk if you desire to reduce total fat or saturated fat, as this will reduce the risk of having heart-related conditions.
Meat and Alternatives
Ensure that you take meat alternatives regularly, such as beans, lentils and tofu. It is recommended to consume fish at least two times a week. However, it would be best if you were cautious about other types of fish, especially those exposed to mercury. Go instead for lean meats such as turkey and chicken.
Instead of frying these foods, you should either poach them, bake or roast them. If you prefer pre-packaged or processed meat, choose those that have low fat and low salt. It is, however, essential that you reduce the consumption of processed meats to reduce the risk of getting cancer.
As you eat your carbs, go for the unrefined ones, such as whole grains, because they contain a high fibre content and release their energy at a slower rate. This will mean you will have the feeling of satiety for a more extended period.
Reduce the intake of saturated fats and avoid taking trans fats. It is recommended that you should not take more than 10% of your total calories from saturated fats. The best sources include nuts, fish and plant oils.
Ensure that you take foods rich in fibre. As you consume your fruits and vegetables, take those that have a variety of colours. If you are lactose intolerant, consume other foods which are rich in calcium.
If you are mainly concerned about the amount of food you should eat, then take note of the calorie values. Taking foods high in calories means you should take less of the food while consuming less of the foods containing little calories.
Severe Calorie Restriction
Some people claim that when you limit the number of calories you take daily, then it will increase your life expectancy. Studies on animals found that some species survive for a more extended period if they undergo partial starvation. However, these researches have been described to be of poor quality and not sure that restricting the calorie intake would affect humans.
However, scientists from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge explained in the Journal Nature in 2012 that the two main determinants of lifespan are a healthy, well-balanced diet and good genes. Researchers believe that previous studies conducted were flawed because they compared bad high-calorie diets and very low-calorie bad diets. In simpler terms, there was no control in these methods.
In their 25 years study explained using rhesus monkeys on very-low-calorie diets, they claimed that this did not aid in a longer lifespan. Moreover, findings from a study which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 suggested that if you take ‘’five-a-day’’ portions of vegetables and fruits, there is a likelihood that you will live longer.
In 2016, some researchers also concluded that the effect of diet on aging is not just due to a reduced number of calories you consume, but they are also determined by the composition of the diet you take.