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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How many calories are recommended to consume each day?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 2


    Melanie McGrice is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, one of the few dietitians in Australia to achieve that status. Her success has made her an … View Profile

    We need a minimum of 5000 kilojoules (1200 calories) each day to meet our nutritional requirements, however, some people will require more to maintain a healthy weight depending upon their nutritional requirements, height, metabolic rate and activity levels.

    Hope this helps!

  • 1


    Maria Nguyen

    HealthShare Member

    The number of calories we should eat depends on our age, size, height, sex, lifestyle, and , of course, general health. For instance, a healthy physically active man in his 20s will require more calories than a short skinny woman in her 70s. Recommended daily calorie intakes also vary across the world. According to the National Health Service (NHS) in UK the average male adult needs apx. 2,500 calories per day to keep his weight constant, while the average adult female needs 2,000. US authories recommend 2,700 calories per day for men and 2,200 calories for women.  

  • 2


    Clare Wolski

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm Clare and I'm a passionate Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD). I love empowering people with good nutrition information so they can make the best decisions … View Profile


    Maria, you are absolutely right. There are so many variables that effect how much energy and individual needs to consume.

    The methods used to caluculate an individuals energy needs and how many calories are in food are rough estimations. And to make things more complicated - everybody digests and absorbs nutrients differently.

    Sometimes focusing too much on kilojoules or calories can be frustrating and overwhelming. Focusing more on nutrients and food groups can actually be really freeing. Think about what a food might be doing for your body - is it giving me fuel?, or vitamins and minerals?, is it helping my brain, my muscles, my skin? etc.

    Also focus on getting a variety of whole food from each food group with an aray of colours, textures and tastes.

    Warm Regards,


  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    Great question!!!

    As mentioned above energy expenditure (and therefore recommended calorie intake) is impacted by various factors including hormones, activity, body composition, age and genetics. Unfortunately currently used techniques to assess energy and metabolism, such as predictive equations, are inaccurate and often result in frustration as overeating can impact hormones (such as insulin) and lead to weight gain, and on the flip side under eating can lead to fatigue, hunger and muscle loss. For these reasons metabolic assessment is recommended where applicable.

    It is also important to not only address quantity but quality. Vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids provide the building blocks for the body and support metabolism/energy production.

  • Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    Great question! The amount of calories (or kilojoules) needed is almost always individual to a persons specific age, gender, activity level, presence of disease or illness (if any), genetics.

    The only health professional with the unique skills to determine your energy requirements is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) or Accredited Sports Dietitian (AccSD).

    It is important to seek help from an APD or AccSD as reducing your energy intake too low can be disastrous for your metabolism and can cause your body to hold onto (rather than get rid of) excess body fat. Not to mention affect your health as well!

    To find an APD near you head to or

  • John Wright

    HealthShare Member

    Hi Chris

    I agree that Dietitians along with Physiologists should be best able to determine energy requirements, providing they have access to measurement technologies and not rely on population based algorithms.

    I listened to Emma Ridley from the Alfred at the DAA last week explain that Indirect Calorimetry should be a key tool for Dietitians but wonder how many use them currently?




  • 1


    Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    The number of calories you need to eat each day can depend on several factors, including your age, size, height, sex, lifestyle, and overall general health. A physically active 186 cm male, aged 22 years, requires considerably more calories than a 160cm sedentary woman in her 70s.

    It has been discovered that even factors such as how you eat your food can influence how many calories get into your system. The longer you chew your food, the more calories the body retains, a team from Purdue University found.

    Recommended daily calorie intakes vary across the world. According to the National Health Service (NHS), UK, the average male adult needs approximately 2,500 calories per day to keep his weight constant, while the average adult female needs 2,000. US authorities recommend 2,700 calories per day for men and 2,200 for women.

    It is interesting to note that in the UK, where people on average are taller than Americans, the recommended daily intake of calories is lower. Rates of overweight and obesity among both adults and children in the USA are considerably higher than in the United Kingdom.

    The NHS stresses that rather than precisely counting numbers (calories), people should focus more on eating a healthy and well balanced diet, being physically active, and roughly balancing how many calories are consumed with the numbers burnt off each day. If you eat your five portions of fruit and vegetable per day you will probably live longer, Swedish researchers reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2013 issue).

    Over the last twenty years, sugar has been added to a growing number of foods we consume. Unfortunately, food labels in the USA and Europe do not include details on how much added sugar there is .

    Fast facts on daily calorie intake
    Here are some key points about daily calorie intake:

    Recommended calorie intake depends on factors such as age, size, height, sex, lifestyle (activity level) and overall general health.

    The longer you chew your food, the more calories your body retains.
    US authorities recommend 2,700 calories per day for men and 2,200 for women.

    A big breakfast helps bring your weight down or keep it down.

    When we eat our food probably matters as much as what and how many calories we eat.

    In industrialized nations and a growing number of emerging economies, people are consuming many more calories than they used to. Portion sizes are far greater today.

    For the human body to remain alive, it requires energy. Approximately 20% of the energy we use is for brain metabolism.

    Ideal body weight depends on several factors including age, sex, bone density, muscle-fat ratio and height.

    Not all calories are the same, not all diets are the same. Simply counting calories, and ignoring what you put in your mouth might not lead to good health.

    A 500-calorie meal of fish/meat, salad, and some olive oil, followed by fruit, is much better for your health and will keep you from being hungry for longer than a 500-calorie snack of popcorn with butter or toffee.

    Timing as important as how many calories you should eat
    A big breakfast helps bring your weight down or keep it down - researchers from Tel Aviv University explained in the medical journal Obesity that a large breakfast - one containing approximately 700 calories - is ideal for losing weight and reducing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol.
    When we eat our food probably matters as much as what and how many calories we eat.

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