Basal metabolism (that's what it's called) indicates the calorie expenditure of your body in a state of thermal neutrality, i.e. when you're awake, relaxed and haven't eaten for at least 12 hours and your body temperature is between the normal 36 and 37 degrees centigrade: in less scientific terms, basal metabolism is the energy your body consumes when it's just "ticking over".
In more precise terms this factor indicates the minimum quantity of energy you need to keep your life functions working – breathing, circulation, digestion and all the other activities – as well as remaining awake.
So the body is capable of burning up a certain amount of energy by itself. In addition, when you perform other activities like shopping, doing the housework, doing sport or going to work, your body consumes other energy. This can be produced only by introducing the right amount of “fuel” it needs with calories coming from a balanced diet.
By making a simple sum, adding together your basal metabolism and your
energy requirements to perform your everyday activities, you can discover what
your ideal daily calorie needs are.
This is the only way to find out what your right level of food intake is and avoid going over the top or cutting down too much.
There are hundreds of ways of calculating it. If you want to find out what your actual energy requirements are, our advice is to visit a specialist and have a full examination, but if you want to have fun just calculating it by yourself, here are a few of the best-known and quickest formulae:
-man 18 – 29 years old: 15.3 x Kg + 679
- man 30 – 59 years old: 11.6 x Kg + 879
- woman 18 – 29 years old: 14.7 x Kg + 496
- woman 30 – 59 years old: 8.7 x Kg + 829.
Harris & Benedict formulae:
- man: 66.5 + (13.75 x body weight in Kg) + (5 x height in cm) - (6.75 x age in years);
- woman: 66.5 + (9.55 x body weight in Kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) - (4.7 x age in years).
The result you get is in kilocalories and will help you understand immediately if you're following the right diet or need to make some changes.