In modern times, the public is becoming mindful of calorie intake. Calories are a necessity for the proper functioning of the body. An increase in body weight today is no longer regarded as an indication of healthy living. In most of the developed nations, obesity has affected more than 500 million people with adults forming the majority.
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Calories are essential as they enable the body to burn to generate heat. However, too much calorie intake is harmful as the excess calorie in the body piles up as fats hence making people overweight. The calorie intake for adults is different from that of children and also varies from one person to another. The calorie intake depends on such factors as age, occupation among others. Men usually require about 2800 calories daily whereas women need about 2100 calorie intake daily.
It is recommended that half of the entire calorie intake by a person be composed of carbohydrates and the rest be composed of fats and proteins to ensure healthy living. Pregnant women are advised to take 300 additional calories each day, whereas breastfeeding mothers need about 600 calories during the early stages and about 400 daily calorie intakes at advanced stages. Everyone strives to lead a healthy life and living healthy entails a change of lifestyle. Body fitness is essential as it helps to prevent obesity by burning additional calories.
The universal diet is believed to have shifted patently following the Second World War. For instance, there was an increased calorie intake in form of soft drinks. This high consumption of calories gave given rise to increased cases of cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure among people. The rise in calorie consumption gave also been attributed to innovational technology such as the reduction of the world’s food prices and the sociodemographic changes e.g. urbanization.
The research study focuses on the maximum universal calorie intake for an adult per day. The objective of the research is to investigate whether a universal maximum calorie intake for an adult per day can be determined for healthy living.
The high consumption of calories is a result of the profound changes that have taken place in society in the past few years. The transition of the diet is the factor that is making obesity happen. The following are the factors that determine the calorie intake for an adult i.e. rise in income, technological innovation, urbanization, and the globalization of the food markets.
Economic growth and universal maximum calorie intake
Economic growth determines the universal calorie intake for an adult per day. The general assumption is that an increase in income helps to raise the living standards of people. Thus, in developed nations, the rising income gives way to varied diets which have high-fat content. Obesity in these countries is about 2 % of all the diseases and it is estimated that the figures will grow shortly. Poor nations are characterized with retard economic growth implying that malnutrition is rampant and hence low-calorie intake as compared to developed nations. The calorie intake thus depends on the distribution of income implying that calorie is elastic in that an increase in income often leads to high consumption of calories and vice versa (Straub,2006, P.45).
The increased intake of daily calorie intake among adults is a result of economic policies and changing lifestyles. The biogenic condition’s prevalence is increasing in both developing and developed nations. Biogenic refers to the global economic changes that are responsible for the altered diet selection (
Semba, 2007, P.225).
Though the biogenetic conditions vary depending on the regions, there are however some similar trends i.e. an increase in income levels makes people select food that has high sugar and fats as opposed to the ones that have high carbohydrates. On the other hand, low-income families may consume high amounts of calories based on the fact that they lack education on dietary and education. Most of these families fail to know what type of food is harmful (Taylor, 2003, P.85).
Urbanization and maximum calorie intake
As people move to urban areas, their physical activities are reduced, and therefore there is less physical energy that is required. For instance, there is mechanical transport which helps to reduce cycling or walking. The availability of motorized transport has been the reason behind weight gain amongst the urban dwellers (Kazarian, & Evans, 2001, P.154).
Globalization of the world food market and calorie intake
Globalization of food marketing and production has allowed greater access with regards to high-sugar, high-fat, and energy-dense diets. Globalization has seen the transition of developed nations from the traditional cultivation methods as well as diets preparation that depended mostly on vegetables and grains to the consumption of processed foods. Mass-marketing of foods has made foods to be cheaper especially in towns and cities while the prices of fresh foods have remained high.
The agricultural policies have also been globalization and thus contributing to the progressive reduction of meat, sugars, fats, and oils’ prices while the prices of vegetables and fruits have risen. Globalization has therefore caused people to replace traditional diets with foods that have high-calorie content. Taste has played a major role in dietary transitions. From an evolutionary perspective, people have always preferred foods that have high sugar and fat.
This preference for fatty and sugary foods is due to the adaptation for endurance during starvation times. The domestic and international firms to increase their financial growth have convinced people to consume more food than they need and thus contributing to high-calorie intake. These firms have devised creative strategies aimed at creating diets that are cheap to prepare and thus making foods to be readily available in all places including schools. This has encouraged people to prepare food at home. Therefore; people make their nutritional preferences based on the encouragement and information from the companies that process food (Stern, & Kazaks, 2009, P.93).
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Determining the universal maximum calorie intake for an adult
To ensure that one takes the right amount of calories in his or her body, there is a need to consider calorie deficit. Thus one requires knowing the amount of calorie intake that is essential to sustain his or her current weight implying that certain amounts of calories must be taken if one is to maintain his or her current weight. Therefore, the following instructions are necessary for determining the calorie intake;
The first instruction in determining the daily calorie intake is the basal metabolic rate commonly referred to as BMR.BMR entails the rate of burning the calories when one is inactive e.g. sleeping e.t.c. Thus, BMR determines the rate at which the body burns the calories during total rest as opposed to the normal body functions. An online basal metabolic calculator helps to determine the BMR more quickly and easily by using gender and age as the main variables.
The next instruction for determining the amount of daily calorie intake to sustain the current weight is to factor in the daily occupations. One burns calories even in a case where he or she works in an office through daily activities such as walking e.t.c.This daily activity thus plays an important role in determining the daily calorie intake for an adult.
The last instruction of determining the daily calorie intake for an adult is the creation of a calorie deficit to lose excess weight. One can create his or her calorie deficit by such means as consuming lesser calories daily and increasing the calories amounts that are burnt by the body by having regular exercises (Walker, 1990, P.62).
Steps in calculating the basal metabolic rate
The following steps are crucial in determ9ning the basal metabolic rate i.e. the energy amounts required by the body to carry out the daily activities;
One should first compute his or her weight into kilos which are calculated by dividing the kilograms by 2.2. In the case of men, one should multiply the calculated weight by 1.0. and for women, the calculated weight should be multiplied by 0.9.
The number obtained estimates the maximum amount of calories that an adult takes in one hour. This number should be multiplied by 24 to determine the number of calories that are required to support the BMR in one day. The answer obtained represents the basal metabolic rate (Srilakshmi, 2006, P.114).
Determinants of basal metabolic rate
The following are the factors that affect the basal metabolic rate of an adult; Genetics plays the greatest role in determining the basal metabolic rate in an adult. Usually, some people bear faster metabolisms while others have slow metabolisms all this is attributed to hereditary factors.
Gender is the other factor that affects the basal metabolic rate. The basal metabolic rate is lower in the case of women as a result of the differences in the fat to ratio muscle as compared to that of men. The muscle tissues usually consume a high level of energy as compared to the fat tissue. Typically, men require high consumption of calories as compared to women because they have additional muscle tissue. Men consume their calories much faster as compared to women making them have a greater basal metabolic rate.
Age affects the basal metabolic rate in that the BMR usually decreases to about 3 % once a person reaches 20 years. This is greatly associated with reduced hormone levels and loss of muscle mass. This thus implies that if one is deemed to get fatter in case he or she does not change anything as he or she ages (Stanfield, & Hui, 2009, P.148).
Weight is another factor that affects BMR. Usually; heavy people have a high basal metabolic rate as compared to those who are light. This implies that obese women have a high BMR than thinner women.
The surface area of the body is another factor that affects the basal metabolic rate. The surface area of the body encompasses both weight and height implying that a larger surface area results in a higher basal metabolic rate. Thus, people who are tall and thin have a greater basal metabolic rate as compared to short people.
The other factor that affects the basal metabolic rate in an adult is the percentage of body fat. The lesser the percentage of body fat one has, the higher his or her basal metabolic rate. Males have a lower percentage of fat in their bodies and this explains why they have a faster basal metabolic rate than females.
Diet is another factor that affects the basal metabolic rate. Malnutrition has the effect of reducing the basal metabolic rate. Malnutrition can cause the basal metabolic rate to fall by 30 %.
The body temperature affects the basal metabolic rate in that a slight increase of the body temperature causes a sign fact increase of the basal metabolic rate. There are chemical reactions inside the body that arises as a result of temperature increases. Therefore a sick person with body temperatures of about 42C would have a basal metabolic rate increase of approximately 48%.
The other effect that causes a change in the basal metabolic rate is the external temperatures. External temperature entails exposure to hot and cold temperatures. When a person is exposed to cold, his or her basal metabolic rate rises to generate the additional heat required to sustain the internal temperatures of the body. On the other hand, when one is exposed to hot temperatures, the BMR does not change much due to the increased heat losses. However, an extended exposure has the effect of raising the basal metabolic rate (Souhani, & Moxham,2002, P.108).
The other factor that affects the basal metabolic rate is exercise. Continued physical exercise is important as it helps to burn the extra calories and also helps in raising the basal metabolic rate by creating additional lean tissue.
There are short-term aspects that affect the basal metabolic rate and they include illnesses e.g. disorders and fever. Malnutrition and fasting also affect the basal metabolic rate (Sheila, 2007, P.59).
The body of human beings uses food to produce energy implying that each time one makes any movement, energy is used. The body uses energy even during sleep or while one is resting and this is what basal metabolic rate entails. The basal metabolic rate is a more accurate model of determining the universal maximum calorie intake for an adult. However; the basal metabolic rate has some limitations such as failure to consider the lean body mass. This implies that the ratio of fat to muscle is not determined for leaner bodies as it tends to overestimate the calorie needs. The basal metabolic rate plays a vital role in burning more than 75 % of the exhausted calories though the figure depends on such factors as genetic factors, gender, age, weight, and surface area of the body, percentage of body fat, the diet, body temperatures, external temperatures, and exercises.
Depression and fever are some of the short-term aspects that affect the basal metabolic rate. The illnesses thus can cause a rise or decrease of the temperatures and hence the basal metabolic rate to increase. Malnutrition is an effective way of lowering the basal metabolic rate. Increased movements also provide an alternative to reducing the high levels of calories in the body.
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