In today’s fast-paced world, many face difficulty keeping track of their diet and lifestyle, leading to weight gain. Restricting the daily calories consumed is an effective way to lose weight. It is a good idea to cut down on food that is high in calories and low in nutritional value to lose weight. The number of calories a day for weight loss varies among individuals based on age, gender, body weight, and activity levels.

Calorie restriction is a weight loss method that reduces daily caloric intake to create a calorie deficit. Men tend to lose weight faster than women due to a higher basal metabolic rate and more muscle mass. A safe and sustainable rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week, which translates to a daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1000 calories. However, the weight loss per day can vary based on individual factors. Therefore, consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any weight loss program is crucial.

If you are wondering, ‘How many calories in a day for weight loss?’ this article will provide a comprehensive view of your recommended daily calorie intake based on your circumstances.

Calories: An Overview

Calories are the units of energy in food. The body constantly needs energy and uses the calories from the food and drinks consumed to keep it working. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the different nutrients that contain calories and are the primary energy sources for the body. The calories consumed are stored within the body as fat or converted into physical energy.

If you reduce the consumption of the number of calories eaten in a day and also perform adequate physical activity to burn the calories consumed, you will lose weight. Conversely, you will gain weight if you consume more calories than you can burn.

One must remember that other factors besides calorie consumption could contribute to weight gain or loss. These factors include age, hormonal changes, genetics, and certain medical conditions. So, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help in long-term weight loss compared to reducing your calorie intake.

Daily Calorie Requirement per Day

The number of calories that need to be consumed in a day will depend on several factors, like age, weight, height, gender, activity levels, overall health, and many other factors. While cutting down on the calories you usually take in a day helps in weight loss, it is vital to consume sufficient calories to provide the body with adequate nutrients even if you want to lose weight. In addition, drastically reducing calorie intake could increase the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies and other side effects.

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The approximate daily calorie requirement based on the age, sex, and activity levels of a person is as follows:


Age: 19 to 30 Years

Daily Calorie Requirement
  • Less active: 2400 to 2600
  • Moderately active: 2600 to 2800
  • Highly active: 3000

Age: 31 to 50 Years

Daily Calorie Requirement
  • Less active: 2200 to 2400
  • Moderately active: 2400 to 2600
  • Highly active: 2800 to 3000

Age: 50+ Years

Daily Calorie Requirement
  • Less active: 2000 to 2200
  • Moderately active: 2200 to 2400
  • Highly active: 2400 to 2800


Age: 19 to 30 Years

Daily Calorie Requirement
  • Less active: 1800 to 2000
  • Moderately active: 2000 to 2200
  • Highly active: 2400

Age: 31 to 50 Years

Daily Calorie Requirement
  • Less active: 1800
  • Moderately active: 2000
  • Highly active: 2200

Age: 50+ Years

Daily Calorie Requirement
  • Less active: 1600
  • Moderately active: 1800

Highly active: 2000 to 2200 

These above values will not hold for breastfeeding or pregnant women, as they require more calorie intake.


Calories are the units of energy in food. The body constantly needs energy and uses the calories from the food and drinks consumed to keep it working. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are the different nutrients that contain calories and are the primary energy sources for the body. The body’s daily calorie requirement can vary depending on your age, sex, height, weight, activity levels, and overall health status.

Relationship between Less Calorie Intake in a Day and Weight Loss

According to research, a deficit of approximately 500 to 750 calories per day can help lose weight. Another study shows that a reduced daily calorie intake of 500 to 600 kcal can lead to a weight loss of approximately 0.5 kg per week or about 2 kilograms per month. However, this weight loss slows down after the first few months due to the hormonal adaptations that resist weight loss.

According to research, the calories per gram in macronutrients are as follows:

  • Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram
  • Proteins: 4 calories per gram
  • Fat: 9 calories per gram

A low-fat, low-carbohydrate, and high-protein diet reduces calories and enables weight loss. However, cutting down on too many calories can harm your health. Therefore, it is best to consult a certified nutritionist to guide you toward the correct way to reduce your daily calorie intake to lose weight.


A low-fat, low-carbohydrate, and high-protein diet reduces calories and enables weight loss. Cutting down approximately 500 calories per day is effective in weight loss. Still, it is advisable to consult a certified nutritionist to make a customised diet plan for you.

Ways to Reduce Daily Calorie Consumption

The following are some of the effective ways to reduce your daily calorie intake for weight loss:

Drink Plenty of Water

According to research, drinking water just before or in between meals will reduce hunger, make you eat fewer calories, and eventually help you lose weight.

Limit the Consumption of Sugary Drinks

Avoiding sugary beverages like fruit juices and sodas would be best. Sugary drinks can increase your risk of weight gain. They may also lead to other health problems.

Avoid Junk Food

Avoid processed and junk food items. A snack or two between meals is okay but choose healthy snack options.

Avoid all food items containing sugars, salt, preservatives, and unhealthy fats. Healthy snack items include fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, low-fat cheese sticks, etc.

Decrease Your Intake of Refined Grains and Increase the Intake of Fibre-rich Foods

Refined grains like pasta, white rice, and white bread lack fibre. Also, according to research, a fibre-rich diet helps in weight loss by reducing your appetite and increasing your feeling of fullness. It is, therefore, essential to limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates and increase the consumption of fibre-rich foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, and root vegetables.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercises like walking, jogging, or swimming can help burn more calories, increase the weight loss journey, and improve overall health.

Increase Protein Consumption

A high-protein diet helps in weight loss. According to research, an increased protein intake will keep you full longer and reduce your appetite. Some good protein sources include meat, poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, legumes, and tofu.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

Alcohol does not have any nutritional value and is high in calories. Therefore, cutting down or eliminating the consumption of alcohol in your diet is an excellent way to lose weight.


You can reduce your daily calorie intake for weight loss by exercising, eating more protein and fibre rich foods, staying hydrated, and avoiding junk food, refined grains, and alcoholic beverages.

Potential Risks of Reduced Calorie Intake

Although cutting down your daily calorie intake is an effective way of losing weight, it could lead to specific side effects if you decrease your intake too much. The potential risks may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Increased hunger
  • Nutrition deficiency
  • Regaining all the lost weight

Avoid cutting down too many calories for weight loss. Instead, focus on a healthy, well-balanced, and nutrition-rich diet for weight loss.

HealthifyMe Suggestions

Did you know you can swap some of your favourite unhealthy foods with delicious healthy foods with a similar number of calories and more nutritional value? For example, swap your white pasta with whole wheat pasta, ice cream with low fat frozen fruit yoghurt, bread with rice cakes, and cold cuts with fish to enjoy your meals guilt-free and keep you on track with your weight loss journey.

The Final Word

Counting your calorie intake per day may help you lose weight. Still, following a balanced diet with good nutritional value is more important. It is essential to consult a certified nutritionist if you plan to reduce your daily calorie intake for weight loss. It is equally important not to follow fad diets for weight loss, as they will cause more harm than benefit to your health.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What is the recommended daily calorie intake for weight loss?

A: Most men require approximately 2000 to 3000 calories daily, whereas most women require around 1600 to 2400 calories daily. Eating about 500 calories less than your daily calorie consumption is recommended for healthy weight loss.

Q: How many calories do I need to cut from my diet to lose weight?

A: It is advisable not to cut down more than 500 to 750 calories from your daily diet to lose approximately 0.5 kg of weight in a week. Although many weight loss diet plans suggest cutting down anywhere between 1000 to 2000 calories a day, this can harm health in the long run, and one should not do it. Any drastic reduction in calories should happen under the supervision of a registered nutritionist. 

Q: How do I calculate my daily calorie needs for weight loss?

A: One pound or half a kg equals approximately 3500 calories. Suppose you consume about 500 calories less than your body used for weight management daily. In that case, you will lose about one pound a week.  

Q: Is it safe to consume very few calories for weight loss?

A: It is unsafe to consume very few calories per day for weight loss as it can usually only lead to short-term weight loss, and one regains the weight once the diet ends. Besides, it can lead to other health problems like nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, nausea, headache, and dizziness.

Q: Should I follow a low-calorie diet for weight loss?

A: Following a low-calorie diet is an effective way to lose weight, but reducing the calories drastically or for too long may lead to health problems. You should consult a nutritionist to evaluate your age, health, and other lifestyle factors to determine if a low-calorie weight loss diet suits you.

Q: Can I lose weight by simply counting calories?

A: Counting your calories will help you lose weight, as it will help you estimate your energy requirement per day and then decide what amount of calorie deficit you need to consume daily to lose weight. But, focusing only on counting calories will usually not provide long-term weight loss results. Instead, one should watch what they eat, exercise daily, and eliminate sugar and junk food. 

Q: Is it necessary to exercise to lose weight?

A: Yes, exercising regularly will help burn calories and prevent you from regaining weight after weight loss. Long-term weight loss management needs dietary restrictions, as well as regular exercise.

Q: What are the best low-calorie foods for weight loss?

A: Some of the best low-calorie foods that can help in weight loss include whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, beans, peas, lentils, fish, egg whites, lean meat, poultry, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, egg whites, nuts, seeds, fruits like watermelon and berries.

Q: How long will it take to see results from cutting calories?

A: The time taken to notice results from cutting calories from your diet will vary among individuals. However, most people cutting out a certain number of calories daily will see the results within one or two weeks, even if just 0.5 kg is lost.

Q: How do I stay on track with my calorie intake and weight loss goals?

A: You can stay on track with your calorie intake and weight loss goals by avoiding the consumption of processed foods and refined carbohydrates, eating a high-protein diet, avoiding the consumption of alcohol and sugary drinks, exercising regularly, and keeping yourself well-hydrated.

Research Sources

1. National Library of Medicine

2. MacLean P.S., Bergouignan A., Cornier M.A., Jackman M.R. Biology’s response to dieting: The impetus for weight regain. Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiol. 2011;301:R581–R600. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00755.2010.

3. U.S Department of Agriculture

4. Van Walleghen EL, Orr JS, Gentile CL, Davy BM. Pre-meal water consumption reduces meal energy intake in older but not younger subjects. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2007;15:93–99.

5. National Library of Medicine

6. American Heart Association (AHA) nutrition committee

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