Most People Burn Over 2,000 Calories
The idea of a 2,000 calorie diet is embodied in many nutritional advice. For example, it is the basis for all daily values on food labels. But it turns out that 2000 is not the right number for almost everyone. These charts show what people actually need to eat in order to maintain their weight.
Only 20 percent of women and 2 percent of men burn 2,000 calories a day or less. The average woman burns just over 2,300 calories, while the average man burns 3,100 calories. The graphs you see here are from FitFolk, but they are based on government research data .
So why are we using 2,000 as our standard number? There is a story behind this from Marion Nestlé of Food Politics. Initially, the FDA suggested 2,350 calories, which is below the overall average, but then they began to receive comments saying that the number seemed too high.
It turns out that we miscalculate our calorie intake: women report 1,600 to 2,300 calories per day, and men 2,000 to 3,000. So, since we are lying to ourselves, it was too hard to believe the real numbers.
So the FDA decided to use 2,000 calories because that was the amount people liked the most, even though it was wrong. Two small benefits were that underreporting could help people lose weight; and, hey, that’s a nice round number.