I was just reading an article on Cracked.com: 5 Baffling Lies Society Told You About Fat People. If you scroll down you’ll see the section called “Calorie And Fat Guidelines Are Ridiculously Flawed”. This caught my attention because they talk about the 2,000 calories guideline. They say that the the way the “experts” arrived at that figure is flawed, and that the number of calories required for the average person to maintain their weight is actually 2,400 for women and 3,050 for men.
I suspect the problem for many people is WHAT they eat rather than HOW MUCH. For example, it doesn’t take a genius to know that eating 2,400 calories of chocolate cake is going to have a very different effect on your body than than eating 2,400 calories of brown rice, lentils and leafy greens.
The 2000 kcal is very much a ball park average based on BMR’s of different height/weight/gender/activity level etc.
The formulae for BMR will not be exact for everyone but if its not right you will notice on the scales/caliper test and tweak it.
I think a lot of the nutritional guidelines are severely flawed. However, the calorie one is one guideline I think is about right. I don’t know about the US, but in the UK these are based on PAL (physical activity levels). The figures are for basically sedentary invididuals who do no more than light exercise. The average weight, average height people with no illness. Of course, there are huge variations in BOTH directions. Ever come across overweight people who genuinely are eating around 1200kcal per day and walking, but do not lose weight?
I’m no expert on US figures, but you need to look at the population as a whole. Remember, there are significant amounts of African Americans and East Asians in whom the Thrifty Genotype Hypothesis is relevant. This brings the mean average calorie requirements right down.
@Marcus I’m don’t think cracked is a great source of evidence based facts.
I scanned the Atlantic article they referenced and the numbers I saw were: 2,760 calories and the women 1,850 calories a day for a study. At the top of the page they state 2,400 for women and 3,050 for men but don’t source the survey.
Also they don’t state the weight / age / activity level which is very unhelpful to say the least.
I’m an average non-overweight man - 43, 5’ 10", exercise 3 times a week, 11.5 stone - i know my calories very well and if I ate 3000 everyday I would put on weight pretty quickly.
I think rather than subscribing to any advice that gives you a specific figure for your height and weight, it is additionally important to realise the benefits in fluctuating this number, as per, say, the 5:2 diet, which indicates that sometimes having only 500 or 600 calories is beneficial for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and makes one much more insulin-sensitive. The point for me, I think, is to first stabilise the body with a good and healthy standard and then listen to it and apply common sense and/or educated choices from various good sources.