Daily Calorie Intake

Recommended daily calorie intake varies from person to person, but there are guidelines for calorie requirements you can use as a starting point.

UK Department of Health Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) are a daily calorie intake of 2000 calories per day for women and 2500 for men.

Of course the problem with average figures is that there are, sometimes very wide, differences between individuals. How many calories are needed each day can vary greatly depending on lifestyle and other factors.

Factors that affect your personal daily calorie needs include your age, height and weight, your basic level of daily activity, and your body composition.

The tables below will enable you to get a better idea of the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.

Calorie Needs Charts

Calories Required to Maintain Weight - Adult Women

Calorie charts based on a 30-60 year old female.

Weight Moderately
10st 1763 2034
11st 1830 2111
12st 1897 2188
14st 2030 2343
16st 2164 2497
18st 2298 2651
20st 2431 2805
22st 2565 2960
24st 2699 3114
28st 2966 3422

Calories Required to Maintain Weight - Adult Men

Calorie chart based on a 30-60 year old male.

Weight Moderately
12st 2262 2611
13st 2357 2719
14st 2451 2828
16st 2640 3046
18st 2828 3264
20st 3017 3481
22st 3206 3699
24st 3395 3917
26st 3583 4135
30st 3961 4570


How Many Calories Do We Actually Eat?

In the UK, national estimates of average calorie intakes are bamboozled by our actual behaviour.

A recent paper published by the ONS Data Science Campus, showed that the majority of us dramtically underestimate the number of calories we consume.

On average people underestimated by 32%:

  • Men reported consuming 2065 calories per day, but actually ate and drank 3119 calories
  • Women said they consumed 1570 calories per day, but actually ate and drank 2393 calories

There are various theories, but no real evidence on why this should be the case. It's most likely a combination of factors.

People often don't really think about the calories in what they drink, don't know how many calories are in what they're eating and/or tend to underestimate portion sizes.

You can test how good your own estimating is with the new wlr Visual Food Diary. Take some pics, estimate the calories, then check some of your estimates in the Calorie Food Diary.

Calories Needed to Lose Weight

In order to lose weight you need to eat less calories per day than your body needs.

  • To lose 1lb a week you need a negative calorie balance of 500 calories per day.
  • To lose weight at 2lb a week you need to reduce your calorie intake by 1000 calories a day.

For examples of what the resulting calorie allowance would be for different people, at different rates of weight loss, see our article on calories needed to lose weight

Weight Loss Resources has all the tools you need to calorie count for weight loss. Including online calorie and nutrition databases, with information for UK foods. Try it free, there's no obligation and you'll learn a lot in a short session.

The programme adds up the calories you consume through the day and deducts them, as you go along, from your daily calorie allowance. So you'll always know how many calories you have left for the day.

It also takes account of the extra calories used during exercise - it's very motivational to know that you've earned some extra calories for a treat after that brisk walk!

Find Out Your Own Calorie Requirements

to lose, maintain, or gain weight. You can set a weight loss goal and see how many calories you need each day to get there - Try it Free.

Take our FREE trial »

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