Weight Loss

Revising the Concepts of Calories to Lose Weight

Shweta kumari

June 6, 2023

Weight Loss is no longer just related to being fit, but there has been enough evidence to suggest that it is known to ease stress, boost confidence, lower blood pressure, cholesterol etc. And one pivotal parameter that influences weight loss is the concept of calorie consumption. Calories are a unit of measurement that is used to quantify the energy content in food and beverages. 

The basic principle of weight loss is based on the fact that you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. This creates a calorie deficit and following it constantly can help your body to start utilizing stored fat as an energy source, resulting in weight loss. Attentive calorie consumption is important for weight loss because it directly impacts your energy balance. This article will explore all about calories, how they affects the body and how you can focus on your calorie intake to manage your weight. 

Calories in Food

When we talk about the amount of calories in an individual food, this is the potential energy that can be derived from that food when consumed and metabolized by the body. Different macronutrients have varying calorie contents. Also, it is equally important to understand that the same amount of calories consumed from different foods will have varying effects on the body. 

For example, consuming 100 calories from nutrient-dense sources like fruits and vegetables will have different effects on the body compared to consuming 100 calories from sugary snacks. This is when we also take its nutritional value into consideration. So, fruits and vegetables having 100 calories also provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It helps in weight management. On the other hand, sugary snacks may have the same amount of calories, but contribute to weight gain if consumed excessively.

What are Calories and Why Do You Need Them?

A calorie is a unit of energy. It is defined as the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Similarly, in the context of nutrition, it is often referred to as kilocalories (kcal), where one kilocalorie is equal to 1,000 calories.

Calories play a vital role of providing energy to the body in order to perform various physiological processes. When we consume food and beverages, our body breaks down macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats present in them. These macronutrients are then extracted as a form of energy like calories. This energy is then used to fuel essential bodily functions such as maintaining body temperature, supporting organ function, and enabling physical activity.

Caloric Values of Common Food Groups

According to the macronutrient composition of each good group, different food groups have varying caloric values. Here are some approximate caloric values for common food groups:

  1. Fruits and vegetables: These fall into a single category and are generally low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Most fruits and non-starchy vegetables contain about 25-100 calories per serving. However, it depends on the type and portion size. Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables help in losing weight.
  2. Grains and cereals: These generally include staple foods of people like bread, rice, pasta, and cereals. They are the main source of carbohydrates and also contain some amount of protein. On average, grains and cereals contribute about 80-120 calories per serving, depending on the type and portion size.
  3. Meat, poultry, and fish: Rich sources of protein and often contain varying amounts of fat. Lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry, and fish generally provide around 100-200 calories per serving, depending on the portion size and cooking method. There is various evidence that suggests that a high protein diet can help in weight loss. 
  4. Dairy products: This category may consist of milk, butter, yogurt, and cheese. They are known as good sources of protein, calcium, and other nutrients. The caloric content of dairy products varies, with skim or low-fat options providing about 80-150 calories per serving. Studies have shown that consumption of dairy can help in fat reduction and strengthening of muscle mass. 
  5. Fats and oils: These include cooking oils, butter, margarine, and salad dressings. As mentioned earlier, fats provide 9 calories per gram, so their caloric values can be higher. For example, a tablespoon of oil typically contains around 120 calories.


Different food groups have varying caloric values. This also depends on the portion size and how you incorporate them into your diet. Also, understand how calories relate to macronutrients for informed dietary choices.

How Can You Calculate Your Daily Caloric Needs?

Whether you are going through a transformation or not, knowing your daily caloric needs will help you focus on your health and overall wellbeing. Generally, there are two ways to calculate calories. You can do it by calculating your BMR or through the Harris-Benedict equation. Let’s learn how it is done. 

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

It is the amount of energy or calories that your body needs to perform basic functions while at rest, such as maintaining vital organ functions, regulating body temperature, and supporting cellular activity. BMR is influenced by various factors including age, gender, height, weight, and body composition. It serves as a baseline for estimating your daily calorie needs and can be used to guide weight management goals. Remember BMR is not completely accurate as it does consider other body parameters like lean body mass and activity levels. 

Harris- Benedict Equation

This equation takes into account gender, age, weight, and activity level to calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which represents the total number of calories required in a day.


BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 × weight [kg]) + (4.799 × height [cm]) – (5.677 × age [years])


BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 × weight [kg]) + (3.098 × height [cm]) – (4.330 × age [years])

Associating Calories to Weight Loss?

Since diet and exercise plays an important role in weight loss and management, it is important to create a calorie deficit. A common approach is to reduce caloric intake by 500-750 calories per day to achieve a gradual and sustainable weight loss. This can be done by adjusting portion sizes, choosing lower-calorie options, or a combination of both. 

It is important to talk to a nutritionist before making changes to your diet. The basic guidance offers your information but a registered dietitian can provide personalized guidance for determining caloric needs and setting weight loss goals.

How to Create a Calorie Deficit?

It is always recommended to gradually lose weight. It is a safer and sustainable practice that you can introduce into your everyday routine. This also minimizes the risk of muscle loss or nutrient deficiencies. It’s important to focus on making lifestyle changes that are manageable and promote overall well-being.

1. Master Portion Control

Controlling portion sizes can help effectively reduce overall calorie intake. You can initiate by using smaller plates, measuring food portions, and being mindful about the serving sizes . This can assist in managing calorie consumption.

2. Choose Nutrient-dense Foods

Opt for nutrient-dense foods that offer essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber while keeping calorie intake in check and keep you satiated. Food categories like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats can help you achieve your weight loss goal.

3. Avoid High-calorie Beverages

Beverages such as packaged, sugary sodas, caffeinated drinks and alcohol generally contain empty calories. They contribute a significant number of calories without providing much nutritional value. Choosing water, unsweetened tea, or infused water can help reduce calorie intake.

4. Incorporate Mindful Eating Techniques

Several studies have shown that practicing mindful eating techniques can help cultivate awareness of hunger and fullness cues, preventing overeating. Slow down while eating, savor each bite, and pay attention to your body’s signals of satisfaction.


Creating a calorie deficit is essential if you are trying to shed some kilos. Strategies such as portion control, choosing nutrient-dense foods, reducing high-calorie beverages, and practicing mindful eating techniques can help in reducing caloric intake. Combining these strategies with regular physical activity promotes a balanced approach to weight loss and overall well-being. 

Monitoring Calorie Intake For Weight Loss

Calorie tracking is a great way to keep a tab of your daily calorie intake. It is essential to be as precise as possible when recording portion sizes, ingredients, and cooking methods. Using tracing journals or apps are a great way to bring into practise. Making this a habit creates awareness of eating patterns and provides a clear picture of daily calorie consumption. Some calorie tracking apps also offer you insight on how to bring in variety and how you can manage your everyday calorie intake. 

Furthermore, it is also essential to read the back label of packaged foods and beverages. The label provides detailed information about the nutritional content of the food, including the number of calories, macronutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. This information helps you make informed decisions about the foods you consume and ensures that you are meeting your dietary needs. Later you can feed this information on the app or tracker you are using. 

Potential Risks of Consuming Less Than Recommended Amount of Calories

We might think eating less calories will help us lose weight fast, but it is incredibly risky to do so. Relying on very low-calorie diets that are fewer than 1000-800 calories per day, may not provide sufficient nutrients to the body. This can result in nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss, decreased metabolism, fatigue, and compromised immune function.

It is advisable to consult with healthcare professionals, such as registered nutritionists or doctors. They can assess your individual health status, medical history, and specific nutritional needs to provide personalized advice and guidance. While calorie reduction is important for weight loss, it should not come at the cost of denying the body of its nutritional needs. A balanced diet should include adequate amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Each nutrient plays a vital role in supporting bodily functions, maintaining energy levels, and promoting overall health. 

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Your daily calorie intake is the approximate number of calories you should try to eat each day. It varies widely from person to person. A calorie deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than your body expends. Calorie deficit of 500-750 calories per day is effective for healthy and sustainable weight loss. To help create a deficit that supports healthy weight loss, avoid sugar and processed foods, calories dense food while getting a balanced diet, including fruits, salad, and regular physical exercise.


Calories play a crucial role in achieving weight loss goals. By understanding and managing your caloric intake, you can create a calorie deficit that promotes gradual and sustainable weight loss. However, it’s important to approach weight loss holistically and not solely focus on calories. While calories are a fundamental aspect, they should be considered within the context of a balanced diet and overall lifestyle. 

Achieving weight loss is not just about the numbers on the scale. It’s about fostering sustainable habits, promoting overall health, and cultivating a positive relationship with food and your body. 

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How many calories should I eat a day to lose weight?

The number of calories you should consume to lose weight depends on various factors such as your current weight, height, age, gender, and activity level. It is generally recommended to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. Consulting a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can help determine the appropriate calorie intake for your specific weight loss goals.

2. Is 1200 calories a day good for weight loss?

A 1200-calorie per day intake is often considered a minimum threshold for weight loss. It can be suitable for some individuals, particularly those with lower calorie needs or those who are closely monitored by a healthcare professional. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re still meeting your nutritional needs with a well-balanced diet at this calorie level. 

3. How to lose 2kg in a week?

Losing 2 kg (4.4 pounds) in a week is considered a significant and rapid weight loss goal. To achieve this, you would need to create a calorie deficit of approximately 7,000 calories, which is equivalent to 1,000 calories per day. However, it’s important to note that such a rapid weight loss may not be sustainable or healthy for everyone. 

4. Is it okay to eat 1000 calories a day?

Eating 1000 calories a day is considered a very low-calorie intake and should be approached with caution. Such a restrictive calorie level may not provide sufficient energy or essential nutrients for most individuals. Very low-calorie diets should be undertaken under medical supervision and for a limited duration. 

5. How many calories are in a roti?

The number of calories in a roti, can vary depending on the size and ingredients used. On average, a plain roti made from whole wheat flour (approximately 35 grams) contains around 85 calories. However, it’s important to note that the calorie content may differ based on the specific recipe and cooking method.

6. What are the lowest calorie foods?

Some examples of low-calorie foods include non-starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, cucumber), leafy greens, fruits (like strawberries, watermelon, and apples), lean proteins (such as chicken breast, fish, tofu), low-fat dairy products, and whole grains (such as quinoa and brown rice). These foods tend to be nutrient-dense while being relatively low in calories, making them suitable for weight loss.

7. How many calories do you burn sleeping?

The number of calories burned during sleep varies depending on factors such as body weight, age, sex, and metabolism. On average, an individual may burn around 40-70 calories per hour during sleep. This amount can vary between individuals and may be higher for those with

Reference Sources

  1. How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight
  2. Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss
  3. Dairy Intake Enhances Body Weight and Composition Changes during Energy Restriction in 18–50-Year-Old Adults—A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
  4. Mindful eating may help with weight loss

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