The calculation of the daily energy needs is the starting point for the elaboration of a personalised diet plan suited to individual goals.
The daily energy needs of each vary depending on various factors and are the first step for those who want to lose (or win!) weight.
To determine the daily energy requirements, which are necessary to maintain the vital functions of the organism are taken into account two different factors.
BASAL METABOLIC RATE
The rate of basal metabolism pertains to the quantity of energy, or calories, that the body consumes at rest.
Because of this, the basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories needed for the body to maintain vital functions, even in periods of rest – as, for example, to sleep. Moreover, at rest the body consumes between 60% and 80% of the calories.
In 1919, Arthur Harris and Francis Benedict, researchers from the Institute of Carnegie of Washington have developed a formula that is used until today – as described above.
There are other ways to calculate the basal metabolic rate, however this continues to be the most used.
To calculate the rate of basal metabolism, several factors are considered, including sex, age, height, and weight.
- BMR Women = 655,1 + (9.5 x Weight (kg)) + (1.8 x Height in cm) – (4.7 x Age)
- TMB Man = 66,5 + (13,8 x Weight (kg)) + (5 x Height in cm) – (6,8 x Age)
BASAL METABOLIC RATE IN WEIGHT LOSS
Note that, the higher the basal metabolic rate, the more “easy” becomes the process of losing weight, because the body needs more energy to maintain the vital functions.
Said another way, the body needs an exact number of calories to maintain. So, when you consume more energy (calories) than necessary and than you can spend in your daily activities, it is natural that an individual has extra weight.
The higher basal metabolic rate, or the body’s ability to burn calories, the more weight the indvíduo will be able to lose.
THE LEVEL OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Physical activity is the second determinant factor to determine daily energy needs. This value will vary depending on the frequency, intensity and duration of exercise you do each day.
It should be noted that exercise not only understands the number of hours spent in the gym; this concept covers the level of physical activity required in everyday life of each one.
Someone who spends 8 hours sitting in a chair will, obviously, require less energy than someone who spends the day going up and down stairs, for example.
To calculate the factor of activity are considered to be the following values:
- Sedentary = 1,2
- Physical exercise light or sports 1-3 days/week = 1,375
- Moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days/week = 1,550
- Intense physical exercise or sports 6-7 days/week = 1,725
HOW TO CALCULATE THE DAILY ENERGY NEEDS?
After you have calculated the basal metabolic rate, and assigned the level of physical activity, you can determine the daily energy needs of an individual.
Energy needs the total result of the multiplication of the two above-mentioned points.
DAILY ENERGY NEEDS = BASAL METABOLIC RATE X FACTOR ACTIVITY
It is from these calculations that if you get a starting point for designing a dietary plan to meet the goals of each – be it weight loss, gain or maintain body weight.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned factors are applicable to individuals healthy adults. There are other factors to take into consideration in different phases of life.
1. PHASE OF GROWTH
The energy required for the growth of a child consists of about 35% of the energy needs the total in the first three months of life.
This value reduces to 5% at 12 months and to 3% in the second year of life, remaining between 1 and 2 in the first years of the adolescence, being almost negligible in the last years of adolescence.
During pregnancy, it is necessary extra energy to the growth of the fetus, the placenta, and multiple tissues, maternal, in particular situated in the uterus, and fat stores, as well as to changes in metabolism and the increase of the effort of the mother is at rest, and during physical activity.
The extra energy associated with breastfeeding is related with two factors: the energy contained in the milk secreted and the energy used for the production of that milk.
Women with good nutritional status can make use of the fat reserves accumulated during pregnancy to meet this need energy “extra”.
There are also other factors, including character pathology, which have an influence on the daily energy needs of the individual.
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