How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day?
How much should you weigh?
As with how many calories you should consume, your ideal body weight depends on several factors. These include your age, sex, bone density, muscle-fat ratio, and height.
- BMI (Body Mass Index) - some say BMI is a good way of working out what you should weigh. However, BMI does not take into account muscle mass. A 100-metre Olympic champion weighing 200 pounds (about 91 kilograms), who is 6 feet (about 1mt 83cm) tall, who has the same BMI as a couch potato of the same height, is not overweight, while the couch potato is overweight.
- Waist-hip ratio - this measurement is said to be more accurate at determining what your ideal weight should be, compared to BMI. However, waist-hip ratio does not properly measure an individual's total body fat percentage (muscle-to-fat ratio), and is also limited.
- Waist-to-height ratio - this way of determining ideal body weight is probably the most accurate one available today. It was presented by Dr. Margaret Ashwell, ex-science director of the British Nutrition Foundation, and team at the 19th Congress on Obesity in Lyon, France, on 12th May, 2012. It is also a very simple calculation; easy for lay people to work out.
Dr. Ashwell's team found that:
"Keeping your waist circumference to less than half your height can help increase life expectancy for every person in the world."
Put simply, to achieve and/or maintain your ideal body weight, "Keep your waist circumference to less than half your height."
If you are a 6ft (183cm) tall adult male, your waist should not exceed 36 inches (91 cm).
If you are a 5ft 4 inches (163 cm) tall adult female, your waist should not exceed 32 inches (81 cm)
How do I measure my waist? - according to the World Health Organization (WHO), you should place the tape-measure half-way between the lower rib and the iliac crest (the the pelvic bone at the hip).
Calories and different diets
Simply counting calories, and ignoring what you put in your mouth might not lead to good health.
Insulin levels will rise significantly more after consuming carbohydrates than after eating fats (no rise at all) or protein. Some carbohydrates, also known as carbs, get into the bloodstream in the form of sugar (glucose) much faster than others. Refined flour is a fast carb, while coarse oatmeal is slow. Slow-release carbs are better for body weight control and overall health than fast carbs.
A 500-calorie meal of fish/meat, salad, and some olive oil, followed by fruit, is much better for your health and will keep you from being hungry for longer than a 500-calorie snack of popcorn with butter or toffee.
There are several diets today which claim to help people lose or maintain their body weight. Some of these have been extremely successful and good for participants, but are notoriously difficult to adhere to long-term.
Medical News Today recently published an article discussing the "Eight Most Popular Diets". The rankings were based upon how many articles mentioned them favorably, how popular they were generally and which ones received the most positive feedback.