Why We Need to Rethink the Concept of Daily Calorie Intake for Women

recommended daily calorie intake for womenIf you think going by a daily calorie intake for women works? Think again! Let me explain…

You know those new thin 100 calorie chocolate bars? Not bad, only 100 calories, right? Well, where are those calories coming from and what is your body doing with them?   You can eat 2 eggs for about the same amount of calories. Which do you think is better for you?

Let’s look at the nutrition information:

Cadbury Thins Toffee (100 calories)

  • Fat 5g
  • Carbs 12g (sugar 10g)
  • Protein 1g
  • % calories from : protein 4%, fat 45%, carbs 48%

2 Eggs (140 calories)

  • Fat 9g
  • Carbs 2g (sugar 0g)
  • Protein 12g
  • % calories from : protein 34.3%, fat 57.9%, carbs 5.7%

If we were following the daily calorie intake for women thinking, we might be inclined to go for the bar over the eggs, but let’s look closer.

There is very little protein in the bar and very little carbs in the eggs.  Which do you think is better for you?

The 19th century concept of daily calorie intake for women doesn’t take into consideration the source of those calories. So basically, it says you can eat 18 of these bars a day and still maintain your current weight.  Do you really think that is true?

A recent shift in the Weight Watchers program proves this point.  The CEO, David Karchoff, explains that the new Points Plus program came about because “calorie-counting has become unhelpful”.

“It’s not what you put in your mouth that matters, it’s what makes it to your bloodstream,” and “the hormonal responses to carbohydrates, protein and fat are different.” (2010, Ferriss, The 4-Hour Body).  Modern science has proven that not all calories are equal, so don’t even bother counting them!

What is important is digestion, carb to protein ratio, and timing!  In other words, what you eat and when you eat it is the secret to maintaining a healthy body, and daily calorie intake for women estimates are completely useless!

Let’s look at it one more way just to be sure the point is clear.  What you eat can impact your metabolism.  A higher metabolism means that you need more fuel (food) to keep your energy levels up.  If you don’t provide that fuel (ie. calories), your body will get the energy elsewhere (eg. fat stores). So if you can eat foods to raise your metabolism beyond their caloric (energy) value, then your body will burn more calories than you consume.  We can clearly see that foods of equal caloric value clearly impact our bodies differently.

The key then is choosing the right foods to meet our body’s nutritional requirements and following a healthy plan to meet your weight goals.  It’s not about worrying about the daily calorie intake for women!

In case you were wondering, the “recommended” daily calorie intake for women is 1800 kcal (do with it what you will).

What Do You Have to Say?


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6 comments for “Why We Need to Rethink the Concept of Daily Calorie Intake for Women

  1. Shanna
    21-Mar at

    Yep! Nutrient Density is key.

  2. Violet
    24-Mar at

    Great article!

    In our Chiropractic office all we try to do is to educate our patients about health, including healthy eating. It get very challenging because I feel like we are speaking a foreign language.

    I thank you for writing this article and for trying to help others be more health conscience.

  3. Diets for Quick Weight Loss
    28-Mar at

    What an interesting post! I’d love more information.

  4. Sherry
    8-Jul at

    Quite a lot of misleading information here. The number of calories required to maintain or lose weight is based on a person’s basal metabolic rate (the number of calories the person would burn in 24 hours doing nothing but lying around.) For me, that is 1120. So even with exercise, if I ate 1800 calories a day, I would gain weight. Also, there is no scientific evidence that timing of food intake has any effect on weight. However, it is very important to eat a balanced, nutritious diet. I aim for 55% carbs, 30% fat, 20% protein. I log everything to make sure that I’m getting enough vitamins and fiber from natural food sources and that I don’t go over on sodium or sugar. It’s a bit of trouble at first, but I’m well worth the effort.

    • Defisante
      14-Mar at

      If your BMR is 1180 and you consume 1800, you would only gain weight if you did nothing all day…I doubt that’s the case.

      Also, your macronutrient ratio is off, it adds up to more than 100%.

      Kudos to you for being so vigilant. You are right, it is important, but as this post says, most folks aren’t (and don’t want to be either), so a healthy shake just helps by making it easier.

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