The number of calories you should eat daily depends on how active you are and your metabolic rate. The amount of protein you eat daily depends on your weight. You may also need to eat more calories and protein each day if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. In order to keep your current weight, you need to use as many calories as you consume in a day. To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.
Chances are that you eat more protein than you need to each day. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that people should base their protein intake on their weight and not their age. You should eat about 0.36 g of protein for every pound you weigh. If you weigh 150 lbs., that means you should aim for around 54 g of protein daily. Good sources of protein include beans, lean meat and nuts.
Too Much Protein
Although you do need protein, eating too much every day can cause problems with your body. Eating more than the recommended 0.36 g per pound may be OK for some people, but consuming more than 30 percent of your daily calories from protein can cause ketones to build up in your kidneys. People who have diabetes or kidney problems are especially at risk. The buildup of ketones leads to muscle and calcium loss and can also make you dehydrated.
You need to determine your goals before deciding how many calories you eat every day. In order to maintain your weight, you need figure how your daily calories based on how active you are, your age and your weight. You can find calorie calculators online to help you figure out what you need to eat each day. For instance, a moderately active woman in her mid-30s who is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 150 lbs. should eat around 2,200 calories daily. If you are less active, you need fewer calories and if you are more active, you need more calories.
Calories to Lose Weight
Once you have figured out how many calories you need to keep your weight, you can subtract to figure out how many you need to eat to lose weight, if that is your goal. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day by 500 to lose 1 lb. a week. If number of calories you need to eat to maintain your weight is 2,200, eat 1,700 a day to lose weight. Reduce the number to 1,200 calories daily if you aim to lose 2 lbs. a week. Always remember to consult your doctor before cutting your calories to make sure you are in good health. You should also keep in mind that some calories are better for you than others. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, but most of them come from so called empty calories such as refined sugars, you will not be as healthy as you would be if you ate 2,000 calories from protein, whole grains and healthy fats.
What You Need If You Are Pregnant
Your calorie needs may increase when you become pregnant or if you are breastfeeding your baby. You will not need to worry about increasing your daily caloric intake during the first trimester. During the second and third trimesters, you should add between 300 and 400 calories to your daily diet. Keep in mind that some calories are better for you than others. If you eat 2,000 calories a day, but most of them come from so called empty calories such as refined sugars, you will not be as healthy as you would be if you ate 2,000 calories from protein, whole grains and healthy fats. In order to have a healthy pregnancy, add good calories to your diet.
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