How many calories should you eat a day? Guidelines from the USDA.

Corrections & clarifications: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is Caroline Susie.

Few things are as essential as nutrition, yet few things can feel as nebulous. Even the question of how to lose weight, once regarded as basic, is contested by experts, who say there’s more to it than simply eating less and exercising more.

How many calories should you eat a day?

There is no single answer to this question either, experts say. It depends on a number of variables, including your gender, age and weight among others.

But the US Department of Agriculture puts out rough calorie ranges as part of its dietary guidelines report, published every five years.

Here is how many calories the USDA says you should eat.

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How many calories should I eat a day?

Adult females need anywhere from 1,600 to 2,400 calories a day and adult males need anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day, according to the USDA’s latest “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” report released in 2020.

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