This number was adopted by the UK government in 1998, after the powers that be finally took note of a report by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy from 1991 and it swiftly became the benchmark.
But then Public Health England (PHE) announced in 2017 that women should aim to consume 400 calories at breakfast, 600 at both lunch and dinner, and 200 calories for snacks, equalling 1,800 calories in total. Confused? PHE clarified by saying 2,000 is still the ‘real’ magic number, but as people often underestimate their consumption, this acts as a buffer and means you don’t need to factor in deceptively calorific drinks, like milky coffees.
THE BOTTOM LINE
It’s just a ballpark figure – for a definitive, personalised number, you’ll need to do some more complicated maths. Enter the Schofield Equation, which is a way of calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
It’s a complex calculation, so if you can’t spare the headspace, there are handy online tools (calculator. net/bmr-calculator, for instance) that will work it out for you. All you need to do is input your age, gender, height and weight and it will provide a guideline daily calorie limit depending on your activity levels, from sedentary to very intensive. Feel happier and healthier since you consciously uncoupled from calorie counting? You’re all good. Nutrients > numbers, always.