Why you should know your daily food requirements

How much food do you actually eat? Many of us snack our way through the day without any real sense of how much we're consuming. In most cases, we eat far more than we need. That's why it's important to know your daily food requirements.

Though, in a perfect world, you'd eat just enough to provide fuel for your body. In such a world, If you were trying to lose weight, you'd eat roughly 500 calories less than your body needs. But, in reality, many of us eat between 100 and 1,000 calories more than we need — every day.

Why you should know your daily food requirements

Know what you need

For your health's sake it is vital to discover and understand your daily food needs and whether you're exceeding them. The obvious reason is that overeating leads to weight gain, and becoming overweight is among the worst things you can do for your heart.

The slightly less obvious reason is that eating too many calories usually means eating unhealthy foods, which are much higher in calories than natural foods because they usually contain a lot of fat or sugar — or both.

But picky calorie counting is not the best way to achieve your goal of matching your food consumption to your body's energy needs. It is far better to change the type of food you eat. It's almost impossible to consume too many calories if you focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

Plus, a bonus of having a diet rich in produce means you get plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients essential for heart health.Most women need 2,000 calories a day for good health. Men generally need about 2,550. That roughly equates to 300 to 400 calories for breakfast, 500 to 600 for lunch, 600 to 700 for dinner, and two or three snacks of roughly 100 to 200 calories each.

A moving target

But your daily calorie need isn't a static number; it can change over time.

If you're exercising more, recovering from illness or injury, or going through a period of high stress, your body may need extra fuel.

Or, if you've lost weight, chances are your body requires less fuel than it once did.

Then there's metabolism — some of us burn calories more efficiently than others.

Ultimately, what's important to remember is that all adults should be aware of how much food they need to eat each day for optimal health, energy and weight.

Calories are the simplest statistical measure — but steak doesn't have its calorie count stamped on it anywhere, and who wants to spend their life looking up everything they eat in a calorie counter and keeping a running total?

Instead of being so meticulous, simply keep this article's information on how many calories you need every day in mind and estimate your meals' calorie content so you can try to hit that number consistently. If you stay in your suggested range, you'll be better able to head toward health.

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