Why is caloric intake so important? Should I pay any attention on the labels or is this just another urban myth? Is quality more important than quantity?

The calorie topic comes and goes and is often shaded by other fancy nutrition articles regarding how to eat and artichoke or how much diet coke can help you lose weight. The truth is caloric intake plays a major role in weight management.

One of the biggest mistakes found in various glossy cover magazines who claim to bring you the recipe that will make you miraculously lose weight is that those recipes are just general guidelines. We eat different, some more, some less, we prefer different types of food because we are all different.

We have different life styles, different jobs, different hobbies and different weights. So it common sense that 100 different woman trying the amazing losing weight program so much acclaimed in the glossy magazine will turn out 100 different results, some positive, some negative, or some no results at all.

The caloric intake is directly related with various variables out of which here are the most important: current weight, activity (lifestyle), goal. This is the very simple and efficient formula of calculating your daily caloric requirements:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) = 24 x Weight (lb)/2.2


Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) = 24 x Weight (kg)

The BMR is then multiplied by a number representing the individuals activity level:

Sedentary BMR x 1.45

Light BMR x 1.60

Medium BMR x 1.70

Heavy BMR x 1.88

So for example if you weigh 125 pounds and hit the aerobic studio 3 times per week your daily caloric requirements would be:

1.70 x (24 x 125/2.2) = 1.70 x 1363.63 = 2318

Generally, eating more than this number of calories increases weight and less than this number allows weight reduction. However, BMR does not take into account extremes of activity or inactivity. Therefore, BMR should be used as an approximation.

While caloric intake is very important in every weight management program, there are some other factors that come into play, like food quality, ratio between the food groups (carbohydrates, protein, fats), number of meals, timing and so on. Combining all this together will lead you quicker to achieving your personal goals. And yes, reading labels helps as long as you don’t become obsessed with it and still remember to enjoy your meals.