As the question implies, it’s based on you as individual. Male, female, young or old, active or sedentary, these variables all impact what your body “needs” calorically.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture authored a document titled “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” in 2005. The document is “is intended to be a primary source of dietary health information for policymakers, nutrition educators, and health providers.” So, we can look to it for some guidance on calorie needs.
On page 23, there’s a very useful table that provides guidance on calorie consumption based on gender, age and activity level. We summarized the data into a chart below. For example, a 23 year-old active woman requires 2,400 calories per day. The dietary guidelines provide a range for some combinations of gender, age and activity. We’ve represented the minimum recommendation in these charts. (more…)