How many calories per day to eat to lose weight?

Weight loss eating plan
Weight loss eating plan

We have all spent our lives counting calories. But how many calories per day to eat to lose weight? We do this because we want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

In this article, I will explain everything about what calories are, how many calories per day to lose weight, how you can easily get fewer calories and alternatives to counting calories.

What is a calorie?

The best-known method of losing or maintaining a good weight is by counting calories.

But what exactly are calories?

A calorie is an energy unit. Our body needs the energy to move and keep all bodily processes going. This energy is in our diet. The energy that is released can be measured. The term calorie is used to determine how much energy is released by eating a particular product. You can compare it with, for example, electricity. There, the released energy is referred to as kWh (kilowatt-hour).

Other terms that you sometimes come across are kilocalories. There are 1000 calories in a kilocalorie. The term kilojoule is also used, which is a more modern designation. Their kilocalorie is the same as 4.18 kilojoules.

How many calories per day to eat to lose weight?

Our body uses energy throughout the day. But it differs per moment how much energy that is. Walking consumes more energy than sitting still and running up the stairs costs more energy than walking. But even if you don’t do anything, your muscles and organs consume energy. That is called: the combustion at rest.

When you arrive, you get too much energy. Excess energy is stored by your body as fat. Your body is set up in such a way that if it receives an abundance of nutrition (energy), it will save it as a future nest egg.  If you want to lose weight, you will have to make sure that your body starts burning that fat. This is possible if you give the body less energy than it needs.

But how many calories per day can you lose weight?

How many calories per day to eat to lose weight?

How many calories per day do you need to lose or maintain your weight? A standard guideline can be given, but it is important to realize that everyone is different. Everybody is different and many factors play a role in determining the energy requirement.

The following factors play a role in determining the energy requirement:

  • Gender (male / female)
  • Weight
  • Length 0,75 m from Draft
  • Metabolism
  • Lifestyle
  • How much you move

On average, a man needs 2500 kilocalories and a woman 2000 kilocalories.

How many calories per day to eat to lose weight?

To lose weight, you can reduce your calorie intake. Women are often advised to consume around 1500-1700 kilocalories and for men, that would be 1800-2000. Eating a lot less is only counterproductive.

For example, if you live on a crash diet of 1300 kilocalories, you will lose weight quickly, but as soon as you start eating normally again, your body will immediately store all that extra food as fat. You will find that you will gain weight again soon. In addition, a crash diet (such as the hospital diet) can also have negative effects on your health. You get a shortage of nutrients and vitamins.

Often people think that by counting calories they automatically eat healthily, but that is of course not the case. The number of calories has nothing to do with how healthy a product is. You also cannot tell whether you are getting enough nutrients. Finally, counting calories is part of smack work. It is always difficult to say that what you counted at the end of the day is correct.

Lose weight through a low-carbohydrate diet

If you want to lose weight, you can reduce the number of calories. But that is by no means the only way. You can also eat fewer carbohydrates.

Different types of fuel

The body can get its fuel from a variety of foods. In Western countries, the emphasis is mainly on eating carbohydrates. Many nutritionists claim that this is the most efficient and healthy food to provide your body with energy.

There are three groups of foods that the body can use as fuel:

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Fats

Carbohydrates are dietary sugars. Your body can easily use it as a source of energy. Proteins are chains of amino acids and are used by the body as building blocks for muscles and nerves. Your body cells consist of proteins, so for them to function properly you need these proteins. But proteins are also a good source of energy. Fats can also be used as fuel.


In general, your diet consists largely of carbohydrates. These are simple carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, and rice. Or they are complex carbohydrates (whole-grain bread and pasta, brown rice, vegetables, and nuts). The simple carbohydrates provide energy quickly, but they cause a spike in the blood sugar level and the sugars are also quickly converted into fat.

Complex carbohydrates are generally better for the body. They release their energy more slowly and do not cause a spike in blood sugar. They ensure that you feel full for longer. It is the simple carbohydrates that can cause obesity and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

A diet based on fewer (simple) carbohydrates can help you lose weight and reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes. You will then have to choose a different source of energy, which are proteins and fats. The big advantage is that you do not have to continuously calculate how many calories per day you are consuming.


Proteins are the building blocks of your body. Normally they take in about 15% in a diet. If you eat less carbohydrates, you can increase your intake to 20% to 35%. The benefit of eating more proteins is that they reduce appetite. They provide a satiated feeling.

Proteins increase your metabolism. This means that they ensure that your metabolism works faster and more efficiently and that you burn more fat. This ensures the burning of about 100 extra calories. If you want to lose weight, that is ideal. Your blood sugar is not affected by protein, so you will find that you no longer have binges or cravings.

If you are going to eat more products with proteins, it is important to make sure that you are getting good proteins.

What contains proteins? A few examples:

  • Meat, poultry, and fish: tartare, ground beef, steak, salmon, trout, eggs, and dairy.
  • Quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, cashews, chia seeds )
  • Vegetable: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and beans

The quality of the proteins is also important

Yet it is not enough just to pay attention to the amount of protein you eat. There is a difference in the quality of the proteins. To understand that, you need to know that proteins are made up of chains of amino acids. These are shorter or longer chains that can be joined together to form complex structures. These are the proteins.

The body can make some amino acids itself, but not all. We will have to get these from our diet and these are called the essential amino acids. These are mainly found in animal products (ie meat, fish, eggs, and dairy). If you do eat meat, you can be sure that you are getting the essential amino acids.

If you are a vegetarian, you should be careful to find a source of essential amino acids that you can eat. You will especially need to eat seeds, beans, and legumes, as these are the richest vegetable sources of protein.


Healthy fats are important for the body. Fats have gotten a pretty bad name in recent years because they are said to have negative effects on the body. Yet it is necessary to provide your body with fats, especially healthy fats, such as omega-3 and 6. Fats help to stabilize blood sugar, keep your blood vessels flexible and healthy and ensure that you feel full for longer.

Get your healthy fats from olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, and fish (for example salmon). Products such as linseed, nuts, and eggs also contain healthy fats.

Counting carbohydrates

By counting the number of calories you eat, you can gain insight into how much energy you are getting. According to the guidelines, that is 2500 kilocalories for a man and 2000 for a woman. If you are going to eat low carbohydrates, it is better to look at the carbohydrates per day. You can use the following guidelines:

  • To lose weight quickly: 50 – 70 grams of carbohydrates per day
  • To lose weight slowly: 70 – 100 grams of carbohydrates per day
  • To lose weight slowly: 100-150 grams of carbohydrates per day

Do you want to know more about how many carbohydrates you can eat per day to lose weight? In this article, you can find more information about how many carbohydrates to eat per day.

These guidelines will give you some guidance, but be careful not to stare at them blindly. Below is an example of what you could eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Lose weight by tuning in to your hunger

That we eat too much is partly because we eat too many simple carbohydrates, but also because we have forgotten to listen to our body. If we learn to tune in to this better, we can lose weight much more easily. Our body indicates very clearly what it needs. A good way to lose weight is to learn to listen to our hunger.

Constant appetite due to too many simple carbohydrates

Why have we forgotten to tune in to the signals of our body? That has everything to do with what we eat. Our diet contains too many simple carbohydrates and these disturb our sense of hunger. That’s because carbohydrates are converted into glucose. We do get energy from this, but it also makes our blood sugar levels rise.

To counteract this increase, insulin is produced. As a result, your body ensures that the blood sugar level drops again, but you also feel your energy level drop at the same time. And that makes you feel hungry, while you are actually not hungry.

Eat consciously and without distractions

A second reason we overeat is that we don’t give our body time to signal “full”. Often we eat so quickly and are distracted while eating that we don’t notice when we are full enough. As a result, we often eat even longer than necessary.

If you switch to a low-carbohydrate diet, you can learn to tune in to the feeling of hunger again. You don’t have to think about how many calories per day you are taking in. By eating more proteins and fats, you will experience fewer fluctuations in your blood sugar and your hunger feeling will be reliable again. Proteins also have a positive effect on your hunger:

  • They ensure that less ghrelin (the hunger hormone) is produced. And therefore you will eat less quickly.
  • In a high-protein diet, the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin is produced more.
  • Proteins digest more slowly, so you stay saturated for longer.

So you are full longer and experience less hunger if you eat more protein and fewer carbohydrates. A low-carbohydrate diet helps you stay tuned to the signals your body will give. It makes it easier for you to eat healthy amounts.

If you decide to switch to a low-carb diet, you can choose to keep track of the carbohydrates you are still eating. If you also pay attention to your body’s hunger signals, you will find that it is relatively easy to lose weight.

The low-carbohydrate diet is also very suitable for weight maintenance. You can continue to eat low in carbohydrates because you get all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs. To maintain a healthy weight, you can increase the amount of carbohydrates or eat a little more proteins and fats.

Switch to a low-carbohydrate diet

Your body will use a different source of energy if you eat proteins and fats instead of carbohydrates. That will require some adjustment from your body, and you can tell. On the first days, you can feel that you have less energy and that you are more tired. You may also get a headache. If you are very bothered by this, you can reduce these complaints by eating a little more carbohydrates. But be aware that this discomfort will disappear in a few days.

Within a week (in some cases two weeks) your body will have become accustomed to using proteins as an energy source. It hardly needs any carbohydrates. Now you will feel just as fit as usual, actually even better. Because you no longer have dips due to fluctuations in your blood sugar level, you no longer have binged. And you can lose a lot of weight in the first weeks. In the end, switching to a low-carbohydrate diet will certainly prove worthwhile.

If you want to lose weight, you can focus on counting calories. But that is by no means the only or even the best way to shed pounds. It is much better to tackle your diet: cut simple carbohydrates from your diet and switch to proteins and fats as a source of energy. Do you want a handy ready-made diet plan? Then you can get it here for free.


Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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