Calorie Calculators help people quickly figure out their ideal daily calorie needs using only some basic information, such as an individual’s Weight, Height, Gender Lifestyle, or Daily Physical Activity.
This data is then run through an equation that calculates the number of calories a person needs to consume every day to maintain the same body weight.
Based on this daily calorie requirement, a calorie calculator can also tell you how many calories you need to remove if you want to create a deficit and lose weight or add if you’re trying to gain weight.
A Calorie Calculator is an essential resource for anyone who wants to keep track of their daily eating habits and nutritional needs so they can achieve their personal weight targets and health goals.
Businesses can also use calorie calculators to attract and educate the same kind of people — and entice them to avail of different products and services.
You’ll often find calorie calculators used in the following industries:
If your website deals with any of these topics, adding a calorie calculator will attract more of your target market and help you generate more leads and conversions.
By offering an extremely useful tool like a calorie calculator to your audience, you’re also building up your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness. Once you’ve established your brand, people are more likely to take you up on your offer or at least listen to what you have to say.
What is a Calorie?
A calorie is simply a unit of energy similar to the joule. Nowadays, Calories are mostly used to measure the amount of food energy stored in a serving of food or drink.
Our bodies need calories to survive. Whenever we eat or drink anything that has calories in it, one of three things happens to these calories:
It gets stored in our body as fat or energy reserves
It’s transformed into chemical energy which fuels our bodily functions
It gets dissipated as heat
The Food Calorie that most people are familiar with is actually equivalent to 1 kilocalorie or 1,000 calories of energy. It’s also known as a ‘large calorie’ and is spelled with a capital ‘C’ to distinguish it from the regular ‘small’ calorie unit.
Nutrition labels nowadays almost always use Calories or kilocalories to describe how much food energy a product has, though some countries use kilojoules or kJ in place of Calories.
To convert kilojoules into Calories, simply divide the number of kilojoules by 4.184.
A large apple can contain as much as 400 kilojoules or 95.6 Calories of energy.
400 kilojoules (kJ) ÷ 4.184 = 95.6 Calories
To convert Calories into kilojoules, multiply the number of Calories by 4.184.
How Many Calories Do I Need in a Day?
Your daily calorie requirement is determined by your body’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR refers to the amount of energy your body consumes when it’s completely at rest and not doing anything at all. You can also think of it as the minimum calories your body needs just to stay alive.
There are lots of formulas to estimate a person’s BMR, but the most widely used one today is the Mifflin St. Jeor equation.
BMR calculations differ for men and women because of the many variations in each gender’s body composition such as muscle mass and fat.
BMR for men
(10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + (5 kcal / day)
BMR for women
(10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) - (161 kcal / day)
To convert centimeters into feet and kilograms into pounds, use the following formulas:
1 foot x 30.48 = 30.48 centimeters
1 pound ÷ 2.205 = 0.45 kilograms
With a Calorie Calculator, you can make life easier for your website visitors by letting them choose between imperial and metric units so they can get the results they’re looking for in a matter of seconds.
Once you’ve figured out your body’s BMR, you can then estimate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE. This takes into account the extra calories you need to sustain your daily physical activities.
Even if you have a very sedentary lifestyle and don’t go out at all, you’ll still need to add calories on top of what your BMR requires to not lose muscle mass and fat — unless you’re suffering from a medical condition that requires you to be bedridden all day.
To estimate your TDEE, you simply need to apply these multipliers to your BMR:
Lifestyle / Physical Activity
Little to no exercise/desk job
Light exercise/physical activity 1 to 3 days a week
Moderate exercise/activity everyday
Hard exercise/activity everyday
Hard exercise more than twice a day or training daily for peak sports performance
BMR an TDEE Example 1
Let’s calculate the TDEE for a 30 year old male construction worker who weighs 180 pounds and is 6 foot tall.
First, we need to convert the imperial measurements to the metric system.
BMR for men = (10 x 81.63 kg) + (6.25 x 182.88 cm) - (5 x 30 years) + (5kcal / day) = 816.3 + 1,143 - 150 + 5 kcal / day = 1,814.3 kcal / day
If we assume that our subject does a lot of heavy lifting, climbing up and down ladders, walking, and all sorts of other manual labor on a daily basis, we can classify his level of physical activity as ‘Very Active’ which gives him a multiplier of 1.725.
TDEE = 1,814.3 kcal / day x 1.725 = 3,129.67 kcal / day
To maintain the same body weight, this person needs to consume around 3,130 Calories per day.
BMR an TDEE Example 2
Now, let’s check out the TDEE for a 30 year old female executive who spends most of her time in the office but goes to the gym a couple of times a week.
In this example, let’s pretend this woman is 5’5” tall and weighs 130 pounds.
130 pounds ÷ 2.205 = 58.96 kilograms
Let’s also convert her height from feet and inches to centimeters:
BMR for women = (10 x 58.96 kg) + (6.25 x 165 cm) - (5 x 30 years) - (161 kcal / day) = 589.6 + 1,031.25 - 150 - 161 kcal / day = 1,310.85 kcal / day
In this example, our subject spends most of her work day sitting in front of her computer and attending meetings, but also makes a point to go to the gym, jog or do yoga 2 to 3 times a week. Her level of physical activity can be considered as ‘Lightly Active’ giving her a TDEE multiplier of 1.375.
TDEE = 1,310.85 kcal / day x 1.375 = 1802.42 kcal / day
To maintain the same body weight, our female office worker needs roughly 1802 Calories per day.
Food for Thought on BMR and TDEE Calculators
Keep in mind that these daily calorie requirements are just estimates and the numbers you get should be considered as a starting point.
You may have to adjust the TDEE multiplier to more accurately reflect your level of physical activity if you find that you’re losing or gaining weight after following the daily calorie estimates for some period of time.
Of course, if you want to create a calorie deficit and lose weight, you can always just use the ‘Sedentary’ TDEE multiplier to make sure you don’t eat too much and adjust your calories later to get the results you want.
Similarly, if you want to gain weight, you can select a higher TDEE multiplier and observe for a couple of weeks if you’re gaining more fat and/or muscle mass.
If you’re not happy with your progress, you can add or remove 300 to 500 Calories per day a week at a time until you find the daily calorie intake that works for you.
When it comes to weight management, a lot of it boils down to ‘Calories In Calories Out’ or ‘CICO’. You also have to consider the type of calories you eat. If you’re concerned about your health, don’t waste your daily calorie allowance on ‘empty calories’ from food that doesn’t contain many nutrients and be more considerate about the food that you eat.
Learn more about how many calories you burn with a certain activity with our MET calculator.
What Other BMR Equations Can I Use?
Before the Mifflin St. Jeor formula became popular, the Harris Benedict equation was widely used for many decades. It was first published in 1919.
Harris Benedict Equation
BMR for Men: 66.5 + (13.75 × weight in kg) + (5.003 × height in cm) – (6.775 × age in years)
BMR for Women: 655.1 + (9.563 × weight in kg) + (1.850 × height in cm) – (4.676 × age in years)
While the Harris Benedict equation is still useful, experts estimate that the Mifflin St. Jeor formula is more accurate by around 5% when compared to BMR tests in lab conditions.
Here are some other formulas that nutritionists and healthcare professionals use to estimate BMR:
With ConvertCalculator’s custom calculator builder, you can use any BMR equation you want for your calorie calculator. It’s even possible to let your visitors select different BMR formulas with a drop down menu so they can see which one suits their needs the best. Our Calculator Builder understands any formulas and equations created in Excel or Google Sheets so you can easily plug in any custom calculations into your calorie calculator.
Running Calorie Calculator
Running is one of the most accessible forms of exercise since all you really need is a pair of running shoes. Its intensity can also vary from a light jog to full on sprints and marathon distances which burn significantly more calories.
A running calorie calculator is useful for people who simply want to lose weight through exercise, as well as competitive runners who want to maintain a certain level of fitness. These calorie calculators can estimate how many calories you’ve burned based on your weight, speed and the duration of the running activity. A more complex running calorie calculator can also factor in your average heart rate and perceived intensity.
Treadmill Calorie Calculator
Treadmills are a popular alternative to running because they allow you to exercise in all kinds of weather, any time of the day, and without needing to plan a route. Treadmills also allow you to run at a consistent pace and at a specific incline which is great for training, as well as those who are just looking for a quick yet structured workout.
A treadmill calorie calculator, is similar to a running calorie calculator in that it computes your calorie burn based on the workout duration and speed. But treadmill calorie calculators can also factor in the incline or gradient you’ve set which requires more energy expenditure.
Walking Calorie Calculator
Even the simple act of walking, whether around the house or at work or while doing errands has an impact on your TDEE.
Walking at a brisk pace, up several flights of stairs, while carrying a heavy load, or on a hike burns a lot more calories compared to just shuffling around the house. A walking calorie calculator can take into account the extra effort involved in these activities and give an accurate picture of how many calories you’re actually burning.
Though a typical walk or stroll burns less calories than a light jog, just using your legs to get around is better for your overall health and fitness compared to just sitting around all day and taking your car just to go down one or two blocks. Some individuals may also be limited in the types of exercises and physical activities they can do, so walking is their only choice.
Exercise Calorie Calculator
An exercise calorie calculator usually works in the same way as a MET calculator does. It will give the user several options for different types of activities and calculate the number of calories burned based on:
Duration of exercise
Some exercise options may have more modifiers compared to others to properly determine how much effort the user has put in.
Weight Gain Calorie Calculator
Weight gain calculators are typically used by people who want to improve their physique, as well as those who are underweight for their height.
In general, you need to have a surplus of 3,500 Calories per week to gain 1 pound, so you’ll have to add around 500 Calories per day to your diet. Losing or gaining more than 1 pound a week is not recommended.
A weight gain calculator automatically adds the extra calories needed on top of an individual’s estimated BMR and TDEE, which simplifies the entire process to just a couple of clicks.
Target Weight Loss Date Calculator
Losing weight by a certain date is a common concern. People may simply want to look better before a special milestone or major life event, while others just want to have a timeline for their personal health and fitness.goals.
In any case, a weight loss calculator can be customized to quickly estimate how many calories a person needs to remove from their daily diet to hit their weight loss target on time.
As mentioned earlier, it’s not recommended to lose or gain more than 1 pound a week unless you really know what you’re doing or you’re under the supervision of a medical professional. If the user enters an unrealistic weight loss target like losing 50 pounds in 4 weeks, the weight loss calculator can also be programmed to tell them that it’s not a good idea.
How to Create a Custom Calorie Calculator
If you want to see how a Calorie Calculator can help your website get more traffic and your brand more recognition, you can add our template calculator by clicking the ‘Embed’ button and pasting the HTML code onto one of your pages.
You can also click ‘Start with this Template’ if you want to customize our premade templates and try out our Calculator Builder.
It won’t cost you anything to get started and we’ll only charge you once your calculator gets 100 monthly hits. Our ‘Premium’ plan comes with all the features you could ever need to get the most out of your calculator and costs less per month than what you’d pay a competent developer for an hour of work.