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Nutrition Guidelines to Lose Weight

Health Writer

Eating Right for Your Age and Gender is Key to Losing Weight

The main factor in weight gain or weight loss is nutrition. When you gain weight, it means you are taking in more calories than you are burning. When you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. What this means is that if you are concerned about your weight, you need to focus on your calorie intake. The best place to start is with the recommended calories. Knowing the appropriate number of calories for your age and gender will allow you to calculate how many calories you will need to either maintain weight or to lose weight. Here we will look at how recommended calories vary based on age, gender and activity level and what you can do to lose weight in a healthy way.

Why Recommended Calories Differ

Recommended calories differ between men and women, people of different ages and between people whose lifestyles have of different activity levels. The reason for this is that depending on your makeup in the above categories, your body will respond differently to the calories you take in.

Calories are what your body burns to turn the food you eat into energy. Therefore, if you are more active, you will need more calories to maintain a healthy weight. Since men usually have larger bodies and more muscle mass than women, they need more calories for their bodies to function. Finally, as you age, you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows down and you experience age-related hormonal shifts. All of which adds up to needing fewer calories.

What are the Recommended Calories?

Here we will look at the average recommended calories for 3 age groups which cover the whole of adulthood. They are 18-39, 40-59 and 60 plus. These are the recommended daily calories for moderately active men and women to maintain their current weight:

Source - USDA Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020

This chart reflects the recommended calories for moderately active individuals. If you are sedentary, the recommendations are 200 – 400 calories less. If you are an athlete or very active, the recommendations are 200 – 400 calories more.

Diet Plan for Weight Loss

As you can see from this chart since everyone has a different level of recommended level of calorie intake, there is no specific “one size fits all” diet plan to lose weight. However, no matter what category you are in the strategy is the same. You should reduce your calories per day by about 500 to lose weight. Eating 500 fewer calories a day will allow you to burn more calories than you put into your body which will result in a net caloric deficit. This should allow you to lose weight at a healthy rate of 1 – 2 pounds per week.

When reducing your calories, it does not always mean you need to eat less. When you start on a weight loss meal plan, you can reduce your calories and still eat enough so you are hungry or unsatisfied. This will help you keep up the healthy meal plan long-term. Some things that will help you do this are, reducing portion size, watching the calories you consume in drinks and substituting fruits, vegetables and lower fat items for your usual, higher fat alternatives.

One word of warning before you start a weight loss diet. Always be mindful not to crash diet, or starve yourself to lose weight. It is better for your health to make small, daily changes to your habits and lose weight gradually through healthy eating. Consulting a doctor, nutritionist or dietician to help construct the best personal diet plan for weight loss is always a good idea.


When you understand your caloric needs based on your age, gender, and physical activity level, you can start to shape a diet plan that fits you and your lifestyle. Doing this is a smart way will allow you to lose weight healthily and keep it off.

– Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level



– Nutritional Goals for Age-Sex Groups Based on Dietary Reference Intakes and Dietary Guidelines Recommendations



– Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics



– Do Men and Women Have Different Nutritional Needs?



– Why Your Daily Calorie Need Decreases With Age



– Estimated Calorie Needs per Day, by Age, Sex, and Physical Activity Level



– 10 Ways to Lose 2 Pounds a Week



– Cutting Calories


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