Is 2,000 Calories A Day Right For Everyone?

Whether you notice it or not, most generic nutrition and dietary recommendations are made based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Most nutrition labels, for example, will calculate the percentage of your recommended daily intake of any given nutrient on a 2,000 calorie diet (via US News). This number was created in the 1990s based on self-reported surveys of Americans sharing how much they ate in a day. After compiling the data, researchers concluded that 2,000 calories per day was an average number they could work from.

It's not surprising, then, to find that this number is not right for everyone. The process used to settle on 2,000 calories per day did not take into account an individual's weight, age, fitness level, health conditions, or other factors that can affect how much they should be eating. The number of calories a professional athlete needs will differ from someone who sits at a desk job all day or a teenager who is going through a growth spurt.

How to figure out how many calories you need

The number of calories you need to eat every day will depend on many factors. Some of these include your age, weight, sex, activity level, health conditions, and fitness goals. The safest and most accurate way to find your ideal calorie goal is to meet with a registered dietician. However, there are some resources available to help you find a rough calculation on your own.

Mayo Clinic has an online calculator that lets you enter your age, height, weight, sex, and activity level to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. Healthline has a similar calculator. According to Healthline, you will need to reduce your current calorie intake by about 500 calories per day in order to lose one pound of body weight per week. Generally, a woman's ideal caloric intake will range from 1,500 to 2,500 calories per day and a man's ideal intake will range from 2,100 to 3,000 per day. But again, your caloric needs will be unique to you and your lifestyle.