By Winnie Yu; Reviewed by Hope S. Warshaw, R.D., CDE, BC-ADM, 2009
Think of calories as fuel, the energy your body requires to do all that you do, whether it's making your bed, training for a marathon, or simply taking a breath. The amount of calories you need varies widely, depending on your activity level, health, body size, sex, age, metabolism, and whether you've lost and gained weight many times. Weight goals matter, too: People who are trying to lose weight often aim to eat fewer calories, while those who need to gain may strive to get more.
To find out the range of calories you need day-to-day, consult a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator. This calorie guide can help you make a good estimate. Start by figuring out which slide best describes you and your lifestyle and weight goals. Then become familiar with the calorie contents of your favorite foods. By tracking the amount of calories you eat, you can lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, which will help you achieve better control of your blood glucose.
The recommended calorie ranges on the following pages are geared to average-size adults about 40 years of age, which means women who are 5 feet 3 inches tall and men who are 5 feet 10 inches tall.
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