a man eating porridgeFor years diets like keto, Paleo, and “clean eating” reigned supreme, with a focus on limiting specific foods instead of overall food consumption. But according to the 2021 Food and Health Survey put out by the International Food Information Council, it seems that counting calories is once again the most popular way to diet.

Now, do men need to count every calorie in order to be healthy or achieve your fitness goals? Absolutely not. But, is it helpful to have a basic understanding of how your body uses energy gained from food? You bet.

No doubt, you have some understanding of what a calorie is. After all, calorie counts are listed on packaged foods and on fast food menus, and it’s hard to have a conversation about nutrition or fitness without at least a few mentions of calories. Maybe you’ve even tried a popular calorie tracker like MyFitnessPal or Noom.

But do you really know what calories are, and why they’re so essential? And, do you have any idea how many calories you actually need in a day? (We mean the real number, not some general recommendation that a weight loss app might spit out.)

Here, we’ll go over the true definition of a calorie, as well as what factors influence your energy needs (aka, your metabolism) and how to estimate the number of calories that’s right for you.

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