How many calories should I eat in a day?

How many calories should I eat in a day?

‘How many calories should I eat in a day?’ is a very common question at Physicians Premiere Weight and Wellness Center.  The answer may surprise you!

The answer to this question is a complex one and varies person to person. Trying to determine how many calories you need in a day can vary based on your age, gender and lifestyle.  Not surprisingly, the number of calories needed for weight loss also differs from the number of calories needed during maintenance. 

Basically, a calorie is a unit of energy.  When you eat calories from food, they are converted to energy which is used for all of your basic functions such as breathing, circulation, brain and muscle function. Basically, all of your body’s essential functions run on calories.

When it comes to health, remember that it is not all about calories. This is because not all calories are created equal.  For example, 100 calories coming from a glass of soda and 100 calories from a glass of milk are very different.  The quality or the nutritional value of the calories differ based on the food.  Healthy calories coming from vegetables, whole foods, nuts, beans, and lean meats keep you full longer, whereas empty calories coming from processed carbohydrates and sugars can leave you feeling hungry and craving more very quickly.

If you are trying to lose weight, you need to have a calorie deficit, in other words, consuming fewer calories than you need.  This allows the body to burn stored fat.  But remember, drastically cutting back on calories should be done under doctor supervision.  If the nutritional balance is not there, the weight loss plan will backfire. 

A simple and fairly accurate way of measuring how many calories you need to eat for weight loss and for maintenance is by doing a metabolic test. This test uses indirect calorimetry to assess this.  At Physicians Premiere Weight and Wellness Center, we refer to it as an RMR or resting metabolic test.  It is simple to perform and helps to validate the number of calories you need to lose weight.

If you would like to learn more about RMR testing and how many calories (and in what food combination) you need for weight loss, please contact us at