The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020) suggest that average women should consume between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day.
Men on the other hand are likely to need between 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.
In regard to women’s needs, consuming just 1,400 calories a day comes in at 200 calories under the lower end of the suggested intake.
Whereas this figure is significantly lower than the average man’s suggested calorie intake.
When eating under the recommended calorie guidelines can make you question whether this is a healthy option and if 1,400 calories is an adequate amount to keep you going throughout the day.
In this article, we will explore this.
Why Do We Restrict Calorie Intake?
Restricting calorie intake isn’t actually in our nature as our ancestors who were hunter-gatherers would spend all day trying to source enough food to survive.
They rarely would’ve been able to meet their ‘recommended calorie intake’ for the day.
As our society has shifted away from this societal structure and food is now in abundance, we rarely go hungry.
Our natural urges to eat are mismatched with the availability and types of food we now have.
In particular, highly processed foods with many calories are regularly consumed whereas the energy we once used to find food isn’t burnt off.
This pattern has resulted in an obesity epidemic in many parts of the world.
Restricting our calorie intake to match our energy levels and other determinants of weight gain is vital for us to lead long and healthy lives.
Where Should Your Calories Come From?
The USDA research recommends that the majority of your caloric intake should come from healthy sources such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy sources, nuts, protein sources such as seafood, poultry or plant sources, and legumes.
These foods will provide you with all the essential nutrients your body needs to function properly and keep you healthy.
Highly processed foods such as fast food, microwaved meals, and foods full of trans fats, artificial sweeteners and preservatives are the sources of calories that need to be avoided.
These foods increase your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and other serious health problems.
Who Can Eat 1,400 Calories Per Day?
It’s important to assess whether eating a lower amount of calories is a healthy and sustainable option.
As this is only slightly below the normal number of calories recommended for an adult woman, it’s possible for someone to sustain normal bodily functions on a diet of this size.
It may help them healthily lose weight if a carefully constructed diet is created toin order to get all the essential nutrients.
Eating a calorie deficit diet of 500 calories per day may lead to a healthy 1 pound a week loss in fat.
For those who are engaged in a lot of intense physical activity, this probably won’t be enough to sustain your energy levels and allow you to engage in exercise.
For those of you who are exercising regularly, an intake of 1,900 calories a day would be more suitable.
An average adult male who usually needs 3,000 calories per day and then reduces to 1,400 calories per day will see a faster weight loss process compared to an older woman, who is rarely active and who needs much fewer calories.
The male could lose up to 3.2 pounds in a week with this sort of diet.
However, this diet could be far too low especially as rapid weight loss can also cause muscle loss.
Faster weight loss, which is considered to be more than 2 pounds a week, is also less sustainable as you’re likely to gain most of the weight back.
This diet is only suitable for an older and inactive male who doesn’t need as many calories to sustain their everyday activities.
Choosing The Right Foods
If eating at a calorie deficit, choosing the right foods is essential.
In order to get the nutrients you need, it’s recommended that you eat 5 ounces of protein, 2.5 cups of dairy, 5 ounces of grains, 1.5 cups of fruit, 2 cups of vegetables and fewer than 5 teaspoons of oil from a healthy source.
Choosing unprocessed foods is also very important here.
When eating processed foods, you’ll hit your calorie intake before you know it.
A classic cheeseburger from your favorite fast food restaurant is around 300 calories, which is already a significant portion of your food intake in one part of one meal.
Influencing Factors On Calorie Intake
Factors such as age, height, current weight, health limitations, and activity levels can all influence how many calories you need per day and how many you can limit yourself to if you’re looking to lose weight.
For example, a young woman of 25 who is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs around 126 pounds would need to eat 1,790 calories per day to maintain their weight and 1,290 calories per day to lose one pound per week.
If we look at a male, aged 40 who is 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs around 165 pounds, he would need to eat 2,280 calories per day to maintain his weight or 1,780 calories to lose one pound per week.
These results make it clear that different factors influence how individuals’ needs vary depending on a multitude of factors.
When eating in a deficit, you should take the time to calculate what your body needs to in order to remain healthy.
Always consult with a doctor if you’re losing more than 2 pounds or more in a week.
Eating too much or too little can be dangerous for your health. When looking at the information here, eating 1,400 calories per day is enough for certain women.
Men on the other hand typically need more calories to sustain themselves.
We hope you found this article helpful and interesting!
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