Whether you aim for weight loss, maintain optimal weight, or increase, you can find numerous ways to reduce calorie intake or what amount of calories particular food imparts, but how many calories are optimal for daily intake? Better Weigh Medical dedicated today’s post to detail on this subject.

An optimal daily calorie intake depends on many things. Major determining factors are age, sex, physical activity, and metabolism. Besides these aspects, facets that also affect the calculation of the ideal daily amount of calories are hormones, medications, genetics, lifestyle, constitution,  and overall health.

Average Calorie Intake

The approximations are that the ideal daily calorie intake for women is 2000 and 2500 for men. Calorie intake considers the number of calories a person intake in food and drinks. In food labels, the amount of containing calories is described with kcal, which is a short name for kilocalories. Additionally, calories can also be labeled as kilojoules (KJ) which is equivalent to kilocalories and represents calories in the International System of Units. One 1kcal is equal to 4,2kj.

When we speak of ideal calorie intake, it divers for each individual. The ideal calorie amount considers the balance between the number of calories consumed and burned during the day. If you are consuming a much larger number of calories during the day than the ones you burn, that is one of the signs of overeating. However, for calculating ideal calorie uptake, we must consider various factors. Additionally, the RDI calorie quantity can change and probably will change as you age, activity level, and health change. Here are the estimations for RDI regarding the age:



For women, calories RDI is between 1600 and 2400 calories, and this varies from women’s age. Women between 19 and 30 years old require a calorie amount between 200 and 2400 daily, while from 31 to 59 years old, this amount lowers and approximately equals between 1800  and 2200. For women over 60, the recommended daily calorie intake lowers even more and equals between 1600 and 2000.


For men, calorie RDI is between 2200-3200 calories. Considering from 19 to 31 years old, calorie RDI equals 2400 and 3000, between 31 and 59 years old requires 2200 to 3000 calories daily, and for men over 60, this number falls between 2000 and 2600.

In elderly and sedentary individuals number of calorie RDI is likely to be lower, while for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people with intensified physical activity, the number of RDI calories increases.


For teenage girls aged 13, the estimated daily calorie intake is between 1600 and 2200, and for boys, this number ranges from 2000 to 2600. These values increases in later teen years. For girls between 14 and 18 years old, calorie RDI ranges from 1800 and 2400, and for boys the same age, this number ranges between 200 and 3200 calories.


Children between 2 and 3 years old require between 1000 and 1600 calories. In ages between 4 and 8, calorie RDI ranges from 1200 to 1800 for girls and 2000 for boys. From the age of 9 to the age of 13, RDI increases for girls in a range of 1400 to 2200, and for boys from 1600 to 2600. At the age between 14 and 18, calorie RDI for girls equals 1800-2400, and for boys 2000-3200.

As we can see, recommended daily calorie intake varies depending on age and sex. Nonetheless, other factors such as height, size, health condition, how physically active a person is, and what lifestyle they have.

A Word about Calories

A calorie is a unit that denotes energy measure. Calories are used to measure the energy values of food and drinks.

Another significant factor that might pass unnoticed when people calculate their calorie intake, is the quality of calories. Not all calories are equally composed. Empty-calorie food refers to junk food, a kind of food that has low nutritive qualities. These calories increase fatigue, and food cravings and leave a feeling of hunger. On contrary, healthy food provides essential nutrients along with calories that make you feel full for longer, satiated, more energized, and feeling stronger.

How to reach your weight goal

Weight loss

To lose weight the key is to create a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is an outcome of calories burned that exceeds calorie intake. You can create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you did before and boosting calorie burning with physical activity and exercise. The recommendations are to cut out around 1000 calories to achieve a calorie deficit but not more than that, as excessive reduction of calorie consummation is considered unhealthy.

Gain Weight

If your goal is to increase weight, your calorie intake should exceed your average calorie amount. To achieve this we recommend consuming healthy-calorie-rich food, eating more often, adding nuts to meals, drinking nutritive-rich beverages, and practicing strength training. To accomplish weight gain you should intake approximately 250 to 500 more calories than you usually do.


For determining your ideal daily calorie intake you can use one of many calculators available online. However, instead of focusing on calorie amounts, the more important is to balance your diet with nutritive-rich food, supplying your body with the required minerals and vitamins to maintain overall health. Additionally, your average ideal calorie intake might differ on days when you will have more physical activity or less than usual, or upon other needs and circumstances.