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Losing weight: How to determine your own energy requirements

Losing weight: How to determine your own energy requirements


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Do you know your daily calorie turnover?

Often the number of calories consumed determines whether you lose weight, gain weight or keep weight. But everyone has a different energy requirement. Knowing this can make a crucial difference in losing weight.

Whether for weight loss, performance or to keep weight, it can make sense to know the daily energy requirement. But how do you determine this value?

Men use more energy than women

How much energy the body needs per day depends on a number of factors. This also includes gender. "The energy requirements for men and women differ due to their body composition," explains dietician Sara Ramminger from the University of Neubrandenburg.

Men usually have higher muscle mass and less body fat. Because muscles consume more calories, men need more. The organs also play a role. "The organs actually determine most of the energy turnover," says Anja Bosy-Westphal, professor at the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel. Although they only made up about six percent of body weight, they were responsible for 70 percent of energy consumption at rest.

Less energy consumption in old age

Energy consumption is lower in old age because you have less muscle mass but more fat. The organs also shrink somewhat.

Movement also plays a role

Movement is also crucial. People who sit at their desk all day have low energy consumption and should therefore eat less. "On the other hand, if you help friends move, they have a high energy requirement, but they also have a high energy turnover and should therefore eat more," says Bosy-Westphal, Vice President of the German Society for Nutritional Medicine.

How do you determine your own needs?

According to the experts, there are several ways to determine the energy requirement individually. On the one hand, the energy turnover can be measured under physical stress. However, such a test is usually only done in competitive sports. Another option is a rule of thumb and calculations. The resting energy consumption indicates how much energy a person needs in a day when he is not moving.

Rules of thumb for everyday life

"The estimation formulas are usually accurate enough for everyday life," says medical educator Sabine Ohlrich-Hahn, vice-president of the Association of Dieticians. A rule of thumb for resting energy needs is that one kilocalorie is required per kilogram of body weight and hour. A person with 70 kilograms would then have a resting energy requirement of 1680 kilocalories per day.

For the total energy requirement, normal weight people can take their body weight 30 times as a rough guide, according to Ohlrich-Hahn. The 70 kilogram person would then have a total energy requirement for physical activity of 2100 kcal. For a more precise calculation, ecotrophologist Antje Gahl from the German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends the interactive energy demand calculation of the University of Hohenheim.

In order to calculate the total energy consumption independently, one needs the resting energy consumption and the PAL value. PAL stands for "Physical Activity Level". For daily calorie needs, the PAL value is multiplied by the resting volume. For the PAL value between 1.2 and 2.0, you have to realistically estimate how much you move a day.

Who usually sits at the desk can estimate a value of 1.4 to 1.5. Sweat-inducing sport four to five times a week increases the value by 0.3. "From a health point of view, a value of 1.6-1.7 would be desirable," says Ohlrich-Hahn. The guide values ​​for the energy supply of the DGE provide an additional orientation. (vb; source: Bernadette Winter, dpa)

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