How many calories should men eat – Daily Recommended

Everyone wants to stay in shape and have the energy to get on with things. No matter where you are in life, whether you’re an athlete, a busy businessman or even a stay-at-home parent juggling multiple responsibilities, you need to eat enough calories during the day. But how much is enough, and how can you adjust your calories to change your body composition? Let’s get into the details. 

Anastasia Kolesnikova
MRes, Biochemist, Scientific Officer

What are calories?

Let’s talk for a minute about what calories are. Calories are a unit of energy. In fact, they’re the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of a gram of water by 1 degree. This definition is useful for chemists when we’re trying to measure how many calories there are in a particular food. Our food calories are often measured in kilocalories or thousands of calories, but we use the word calories for convenience. 

Our foods contain macronutrients and micronutrients. While both are important, macronutrients take priority in determining our body composition. The three main macronutrients we get from food are protein, carbohydrates, and fat. One gram of each contains a different number of calories. 

Protein and carbohydrates tend to have around four calories per gram. Fats have over double the amount – around nine calories. Therefore, you can calculate its general calorie amount

 depending on how much of each macronutrient in your food. 

Calories measure energy, which is why the concept of daily calories for men is important. 

The importance of caloric intake

Our body is constantly carrying out many processes. How much energy we take from food is essential for powering our body. Therefore, meeting the number of calories per day for men is crucial for sufficient energy. 

How do you calculate how many calories men need?

The number of calories a day for men depends on many factors. That’s why it can be hard to say exactly what the recommended daily calories for men should be. Your calorie intake and energy expenditure are affected by multiple things, including

  • Your body composition. Our muscles require more energy to support their metabolism than fat does. Therefore, if you’ve a lot of lean muscle, your calorie requirement will be higher than that of someone with fat. 
  • Your daily activity levels. If you’re moving around a lot, working an active job, being an athlete, or just doing a lot of exercise, you’ll need more energy. Therefore, your energy intake will be higher than that of someone mainly sedentary. 
  • What you eat. The body burns calories when digesting, so your food choices can impact your calorie requirements. 

There are multiple ways you can find out how many calories a day for men is enough. You can track how much you eat every day for a week and average it. If you’re staying the same weight, the average will be approximately your calorie requirement. 

Some gyms offer machines that can calculate your daily energy expenditure. These can be called body composition scales. This number will be the same as your daily calories. A medical professional can also help you find out this number. 

Alternatively, you can use an online calculator like the National Institute of Health provides. 

There are some general guidelines, though. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 report suggests that on average, sedentary men 21-40 years of age need 2400 calories. This number increases to 2600 if they’re moderately active and 2800 if they’re highly active. Athletes may need even more depending on the sport they play. 

How many calories should men eat to maintain a healthy weight?

There’s a quick answer to this – if you’re not gaining or losing weight with the amount you’re eating right now, you’ve struck gold. In order to maintain your weight, you need to eat the same number of calories as your daily requirement. This helps to keep you in an energy balance. This number will look different for everyone.

The key to remember is that you should ensure your diet is balanced and healthy. 

How many calories should men eat to lose weight?

When trying to lose weight, you need to create an energy deficit. Therefore, the number of calories for men to lose weight will be lower than a man’s current intake. It’s a good idea to decrease your current calorie amounts by anywhere between 500-700 calories. For someone who currently consumes 2600 calories but would like to lose weight, men’s daily calories for weight loss would be 2100 calories. 

Losing weight can be a challenging and confusing journey. If weight loss is your goal, then you can turn to our Knowledge Base, where we discuss valuable topics like:

How many calories should men eat to gain weight?

If you’re trying to gain weight, you can take two different approaches. If you don’t care about whether the weight is fat mass or you need a rapid weight gain, you can increase your intake by up to 1000 calories. This can be achieved by including energy-dense foods in your routine. 

If you’re aiming to gain weight through building muscle, consider a smaller calorie surplus. Around 300-500 calories should be a good starting point. Make sure to include plenty of protein, as it supports muscle growth

How many calories should men eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner?

We’ve focused on understanding how many calories a day for meare enough for menhow should you split these calories across your day? 

Let’s take the average 2400 calories a sedentary man needs. If you choose to have three meals a day, that works out to around 800 calories a meal. This can be quite a large portion of food per meal.  

However, many people like having snacks during the day as well. Suppose you want to have a light breakfast but plenty of filling snacks. In that case, you may split your 2400 calories into a 500-calorie breakfast, 800-calorie lunch and dinner. That leaves 300 calories for snacks that you can have during the day. On the contrary, eating earlier in the day may be beneficial if you’re losing weight.

Trust your gut when you’re trying to decide how many calories to have for each meal of the day. You know best if you prefer a light breakfast or a heavy one. Make sure that your split works for you, and don’t be afraid to experiment. 

Should you monitor your daily caloric intake?

Now that you’ve understood how to manipulate calorie intake for men to reach your desired body shape, a question arises. Should you count your calories? 

There is no simple yes or no for thanswer toquestion, as it’s a personal decision. For those who aren’t planning to lose or gain weight, and ren’t finding themselves doing it unconsciously, counting calories isn’t necessary. It is likely that you’ve already stabilized your food intake to support your current weight and energy level. Therefore, no neethere is d for the extra hassle. 

However, monitoring your daily calories can help if you’re manipulating body composition. For those struggling to lose weight, tracking calories can help understand whether you’re actually in a deficit. In addition, it’s a good idea to track your macros alongside, as it can help you know which changes to your diet keep you satiated. 

For those wanting to optimize their lean muscle mass, tracking calories can be beneficial. If you’re in a slight deficit, it can help you stay accountable. In addition, tracking macros can help you monitor protein intake to ensure you’re building or keeping your existing muscle mass. After all, you want to lose fat, not muscle. 

For tips on how to gain mass and lose weight at the same time, check out this post. 

Tracking is also a good idea for those trying to gain weight. Many want to gain muscle mass instead of fat. Therefore, you need to have a bit of a surplus, but not too much. In addition, you want to make sure you’re getting plenty of protein rather than relying on calories from sugars and fats. Tracking helps you make decisions that suit your goals. 

How can you track your calories?

There’s the old and true method of writing down what you eat and how many calories it has on a sheet of paper. Consider it a food diary of sorts. It will involve doing some math and measuring to ensure you know how much you eat. However, many may find this approach overwhelming. 

Alternatively, plenty of apps and online tools help you track your calorie intake. These benefits are that many already contain common foods and their calorie content. Some apps may even help determine what you’re eating from a picture or offer practical recipes to spice things up. This simplifies the effort of keeping track of calorie intake for men. 

However, keeping track of calories isn’t for everyone. Some people may find themselves worrying about staying on track with their calories. If tracking seems to make you feel stressed, worried, or have negative feelings about it, reach out to a professional. They can help you find alternative ways of meeting your goal calories for men without the unnecessary stress. 

Male nutritional supplements

Can supplements help you meet your calorie goals? Yes, and here’s how. 

Some sports supplements can help provide plenty of carbohydrates and protein in the same go. These are called gainers. Gainers are typically used to increase calorie and protein intake and help you grow muscle. They can be helpful for increasing weight as well. 

Our Special Mass Gainer provides heaps of high-quality whey protein to keep you powered and a blend of carbs and fats for energy. 

Learn more about gainers in our post about using them for muscle mass growth

Another great supplement to help you reach your calorie intake can be protein powder. Many athletes and fitness enthusiasts know that protein is a key macronutrient. It can be a source of energy if you’re not getting enough carbs or fats. It can help you manipulate your body composition to reach your goals, especially if you’re losing weight. 

Try Maxler Golden 7 Protein Blend, which has 7 types of protein, a great taste and is a fab way to help you reach your calorie and protein goals. 

Learn more about protein supplements in our Knowledge Base, which cover topics like: 

Understanding calories and how to use them to your advantage is vital to a healthy life. It can help you reach your goals, whether they’re about having enough energy, supporting new athletic achievements or changing your body composition. Remember to strike the right macronutrient balance and use whole foods to help you reach your calorie goals. You’re on the way to your best self, so go get your dreams! 

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