To lose, gain, or maintain weight, you must understand how many calories you should consume daily. The Harris-Benedict formula, a technique used to calculate your basal metabolic rate, is one way to find this out.
BMR is, by definition, the rate at which you burn calories and convert oxygen into energy while at rest. It is the bare minimum of energy needed to keep vital processes like breathing, digestion, and circulation going. By ensuring that your calorie intake is lower than what is necessary to maintain weight, the Harris-Benedict formula is frequently used to help people lose weight.
A calorie is what?
It’s best to understand what a calorie is before determining your daily caloric needs. A calorie serves as a unit of measurement for the energy content of food. We provide our bodies with energy (calories) when we eat or drink. The body uses that energy as fuel to carry out all of our various tasks. Calories are burned off at a higher rate as we engage in more activities. The number on food packaging is typically expressed in “kilocalories,” or “kcal.” 500 calories, for instance, will be represented as 500 kcal. Calories can also be expressed as “kilojoules” or “kJ” in addition to “kcal”. There are 0.239 calories in one kJ.
How to determine your daily calorie needs
1. Employ a calculator online
Several online calculators are available that you can use to determine your total calorie requirements.
It could be simpler and easier to use these than to manually solve the necessary mathematical equations.
- On the websites of some medical associations as well as weight loss and wellness centers, you can find a variety of calculators. Avoid using calculators from blogs or other personal websites and make sure the website you choose is trustworthy.
- These calculators all function in a similar manner. You must provide your height, weight, gender, age, and degree of activity.
- When estimating your requirements, keep this information close at hand.
2. Use formulae to determine your basal metabolic rate, or BMR.
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body needs to conduct basic, life-sustaining tasks. It’s your metabolism’s rate or the number of calories your body burns while at rest.
- Just to maintain life and carry out daily activities, your body need a certain number of calories. Calorie-based energy is needed for everything from breathing to digesting meals to keeping your heart beating. It is responsible for burning the most calories daily overall.
- BMR for a typical American woman is calculated as follows: (4.7 x your height in inches) + (4.35 x your weight in pounds) – For the BMR, add 655 to this total.
- Average American men’s BMR is calculated as follows: (12.7 x height in inches) + (6.23 x weight in pounds) – The BMR total will increase by 66.
- To calculate your calorie expenditure when activity is taken into account, use your BMR in the Harris Benedict equation.
3. Utilize the Harris Benedict Equation to determine your overall energy consumption
By dividing your BMR by your typical level of activity, you can use the Harris Benedict Equation to estimate how many calories you burn each day.
- Multiplying your BMR by your level of activity You’ll get a fairly accurate estimate of your daily total calorie intake from this.
- Add 1.2 to your BMR if you are sedentary (get little to no exercise).
- Your BMR should be multiplied by 1.375 if you are only moderately active (exercising one to three days per week).
- If you are moderately active (moderate exercise or participation in sports three to five days per week), multiply your BMR by 1.55.
- Increase your BMR by 1.725 if you are very active (those who engage in demanding sports or hard exercise six to seven days a week).
- Your BMR should be multiplied by 1.9 if you are extra active (people who engage in very physically demanding jobs or exercise, such as 2-a-day workouts).
4. Take into account body fat percentage.
People with more muscular bodies or those who have high amounts of lean muscle and low levels of body fat may require more calories each day than the ordinary person.
- You can require more calories than suggested by internet calculators or mathematical calculations if you’re an athlete or naturally have a lower body fat percentage.
- Compared to fat mass, lean muscle mass burns more calories. You might be able to achieve a calorie goal that is more reasonable by eating a little bit more.
- Also keep in mind that the Harris Benedict formula may cause overweight or obese people to overestimate their daily caloric intake.
How to Apply This Data
The AMR gives you the tools to determine how many calories you must either omit from your diet or burn through additional exercise in order to lose a particular amount of weight.
For instance, if you are fairly active and have a BMR of 1,400 (the average for American women), your AMR would be 2,170. (1,400 x 1.55). Since 3,500 calories equal one pound of fat, you would need to reduce your calorie intake by 500 every day to lose one pound every week. You refer to this as your calorie deficit.
You would need 1,670 calories per day to reduce weight solely through food (2,170 – 500 = 1,670). If you want to lose weight only through exercise, you’d have to burn an additional 500 calories each day on top of what you already burn. For this reason, the best results are virtually always obtained by combining food and exercise.
Unfortunately, there are some flaws in the Harris-Benedict equation. The formula is roughly 90% correct about 60% of the time, according to research studies, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
It could be drastically off 40% of the time, which is pretty discouraging. Even worse, when the formula was incorrect, it inflated the research participants’ calorie requirements, resulting in a miscalculation of how many calories they were actually burning.
The issues could be brought on by physical or genetic traits that certain people have that either restrict or increase metabolism. In addition, it’s likely that a lot of people exaggerate how active they are.
The Harris-Benedict formula nonetheless gives you a reasonably accurate picture of your overall caloric demands despite these drawbacks.
1 Simply change your daily calorie intake up or down, or recalculate your AMR using a lower activity level, if the calculations show that you won’t lose weight.
There are many online calculators that can speed up the process, even though it is really not difficult to use a calculator and calculate everything by hand. Anyone who wishes to get their calorie counts under control should start with online calorie calculators.
You can also find workout and dietary calculators that record the calories you expend each day.