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What are Calories and How to Calculate Daily Calories? Check Out the Following Article!

Many people think that high-calorie foods are always synonymous with negative impacts, such as obesity. However, this assumption is not entirely correct. For people who want to gain weight, high calories are needed in certain amounts.

So, what is the ideal daily calorie requirement for the body? And how to calculate it? Come on, find out the answer in the following article.

What Are Calories?

Calories refer to the amount of energy obtained from food and drink intake, while also including the amount of energy used by the body in daily routines.Simply put, calories are a source of strength that supports every movement and function of the body.

When looking at nutrition labels on food or drink packaging, you may come across the term "kcal." In Indonesia, kcal is a unit used to measure energy in food and physical activity.

Often, people think that kcal only applies to food or nutrients. In fact, anything that produces energy has calories. Even though humans only get energy from food and drink, it is important to understand that this energy plays a role in various aspects of life.

How to Calculate Your Daily Calorie Needs

Everyone has different calorie needs. Factors such as age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity level play an important role in determining how many calories you need each day.

Although there are general recommendations regarding calorie needs, calculating them individually will provide more accurate results and according to your body condition.

The commonly used calculation method is the Harris-Benedict formula. This formula considers variables such as age, gender, weight, height, and physical activity level in determining energy needs. Following are the calculation steps.

  • Formula for Calculating Calorie Needs in Men:

[88,4+13,4×body weight (kg)]+[4,8×body height (cm)]−[5,68×age (years)]

  • Formula for Calculating Calorie Needs Women:

[447,6+9,25×body weight (kg)]+[3,10×body height (cm)]−[4,33×age (years)]

The calculation results are then multiplied by the average daily activity factor for each individual. This activity factor ranges from 1.2 to 1.9, depending on the intensity of daily activity. The lower the physical activity, the lower the daily activity factor value, and vice versa.

Here are several ways to determine daily activity factors:

  • Less active (exercising very rarely or never) = 1.2.
  • Lightly active (regular light exercise 1–3 days a week) = 1.375.
  • Quite active (regularly exercising at moderate intensity for 3–5 days a week) = 1.55.
  • Very active (regularly exercising with vigorous intensity for 6–7 days a week) = 1.725.
  • Extra active(regularly exercising at a heavy intensity for 6-7 days a week and doing work that requires stamina and physical strength) = 1.9.

The Importance of Knowing Your Daily Calorie Needs

Why is it important to understand daily calorie requirements? Previously, it should be noted that calories have a vital role in providing energy for the body, allowing body cells to operate optimally and organs to function as they should.

Every individual, regardless of activity level, needs an adequate amount of calories. The right calorie balance is crucial, because excess or lack of calories can cause health problems. For example, excess calorie intake can cause fat accumulation, increase the risk of obesity, and promote the development of heart disease.

On the other hand, a lack of calories can result in a lack of energy for the normal function of body organs. This can cause various health problems, including decreased bone density, decreased estrogen and progesterone levels, fatigue, and decreased endurance.

If you want to ensure your nutritional needs, including calorie intake, are met, consult a nutritionist for more specific guidance according to your individual needs.


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