Use this handy calcount Calories by Age tool to calculate how many calories a day you should eat, depending on your current age. Age matters when it comes to the rate of calorie burn, because our metabolism slows as we grow older (and wiser).
When we say, “eat this many calories”, we do so on the assumption that you want to maintain your current weight. To lose weight, eat fewer calories. To gain weight, eat more calories.
Many factors determine how many calories a person needs to eat each day, such as the person’s current weight, exercise level, gender and of course, age. Of these main factors, age is the one that will change, no matter what else happens to the person.
Ageing bodies Slow Down
Age is an important factor when it comes to calorie burn, for the simple reason that it affects the speed at which your body uses the calories you eat. This rate of energy use can be thought of as the “metabolism”. More specifically, the key change with age is a reduction in the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Even though the body is constantly repairing itself, things just do not get fixed “good-as-new”. There is a gradual build-up of cellular detritus and harmful substances at the smallest scales which negatively affect essential functions. Things like telomeres get shorter. Processes just fall apart in the end. This gradual and general degradation leads to a measurable decline in the speed at which the body extracts energy from food.
For a more detailed explanation of the metabolism and the other factors which affect it, read our Calorie Counter page.
In addition to the slowing BMR, advancing age is often associated with a general slowdown in activity levels as lifestyles change. It is not unreasonable to assume that a 21-year-old is likely to have a more energetic day-plan than a 56-year-old! Reduced activity means that less energy is needed throughout the day, leading to a feedback loop which facilitates a reduction in muscle-mass and metabolism.
If you are “getting-on” in years, you can break the loop, defy the trend, and prolong your faster metabolism rate by exercising regularly. If possible, do activities that make your muscles work hard.
Increased muscle mass is the surest way to keep your BMR humming as you age. Exercising will not stop you from ageing, but it will keep you healthier for longer!
Calories a Day by Age Table
To get a credible answer for the question “How many calories a day should I eat by age?”, we can apply average heights and healthy weights to generally accepted Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) equations. Thus, this tool will work very well for people who are of average height, healthy weight, and do not do any exercise other than normal day-to-day activities. If you do more exercise than a sedentary person, you can use this table to estimate your required calories by age:
|Men, High Level Exercise||Women, Moderate|
|Women, High Level Exercise|
|76 and up||2,200||2,400||1,800||2,000|
This is a simple tool, primarily designed to shed some light on what effect aging has on daily calorie intake requirements. If you want a more detailed calculator which factors in your exact height and weight as well as your age and gender, head on over to the calcount Calorie Calculator. To dig even deeper and find out what your recommended macronutrient intake is (and much more), explore our Calorie Tracker.