Is 2,000 calories per day too much for women, is a question asked by women of all ages, body types, and walks of life. In short, the answer is: it depends. On the flip side, men often ask is 2,500 calories the right amount for their intake again the answer is it depends, and although this article will use women as an example the same logic applies to men. So whether you are male or female, if you’d like to learn more calorie intake and overall weight management this article is for you.
The 2,000 calorie per day for women target has been picked up by marketers and calorie consumption daily intake values are displayed prominently on cereal boxes to meat packaging. These packages typically provide calorie targets of 2,000 per day for women and 2,500 per day for men. While it is helpful to have detailed labels providing nutritional value, it is essential to know what is right for you. Remember no two people are the same so why would the targets for all women be the exact same and all men be the exact same as well? This just doesn’t make sense; you have to know what your body needs. Determining how many calories you should be consuming in a day depend on a number of different variables including gender, age, height, body composition, current weight, activity level, and whether you are looking to maintain your current weight, or gain or lose weight.
Let’s examine some of these factors:
Gender- Simply put, men generally require more calories than women. Sorry ladies, just a fact of life.
Age- Once you hit age 20, your metabolism begins to slow at a pace of approximately 1% per year, and as such, you require fewer calories as you age.
Height- The taller you are, the more calories you require.
Body Composition- Muscle tissue burns more calories at rest and while exercising, as such people with a greater amount of muscle tissue versus fat tissue require more calories.
Current Weight- The more you weigh the more calories you can consume if you are looking to maintain that weight. This factor is highly dependent on what your weight goal is, to gain, to lose, or to maintain.
Activity Level- The more you move, the more calories you burn, and as such the more calories you need to maintain your weight. Activity level should be thought of in two distinct manners including what you burn in your day-to-day activities and what you burn through organized exercise.
Day-to-day activities are most often related to occupation, and for comparison example a busy floor nurse delivering medications and bathing patients would typically move more and require more calories than an accountant that sits at a computer analyzing spreadsheets daily. A pedometer can greatly assist in determining the average number of steps one takes daily, which can help determine calories burnt through daily activities.
Organized exercise like completing a FitGroove Fitness Sports Training workout at home or playing a game of tennis will burn a set number of calories as well. It is important to note that the calories you burn through activities of daily living or exercise are again dependent on your weight, height, age, and body composition. There are numerous tools including various activity calculators that can give you a solid estimate of calories burned through various forms of exercise.
Outside of organized exercise the gender, age, height, body composition, and current weight factors weigh in to a base calorie burn rate known as the basal metabolic rate. This rate is the number of calories you would burn over a 24-hour period at rest. For example, a 30 year old active female that is 5”4 and currently weighs 125lbs. would have a basal metabolic rate of 1,300 calories per day. As such, if this female sat on the couch for 24 hours, she would require 1,300 calories over that 24 hour period to maintain her current weight. Again there are a number of calculators and tools through your family physician that can help you determine your basal metabolic rate and what your weight goal should be. Since 1 pound of fat is roughly 3,500 calories, to lose 1 pound of fat it is essential to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories.
So as you can see, whether 2,000 calories is right for a woman’s daily intake depends on a number of complex factors, but tracking calories consumed versus calories expended and determining your goals can help you determine what the right amount of calories are for you.