As unfair as it seems, most men really do need more calories each day than most women in order to maintain the same weight. The following formulas, called the Harris-Benedict Calculations, are used to calculate daily calorie requirements:
Men Daily Calories = 66.47 + (6.24 × weight in pounds) + (12.7 × height in inches) ? (6.75 × age in years)
Women Daily Calories = 65.51 + (4.35 × weight in pounds) + (4.7 × height in inches) – (4.7 × age in years)
If a man and a woman are both 22 years old, 5 ft 5 inches tall and each weigh 150 lbs, here are the calculations:
Man 66.5 + (6.24 x 150) + (12.7 x 66 inches) -(6.8 x 22) = 66 + 936 + 838.2 – 149.6 = 1690.6 calories per day
Woman 655 + (13.8 x 150) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 22) = 655 + 652.5 + 310.2 – 103.4 = 1514.3 calories per day
Of course, unlike numbers, human bodies aren’t all mathematically equivalent. Two men of the same height, weight and age may have very different proportions of fat, muscle and bone. The same can be said of two women of equal height, weight and age.
Why does body make up matter? It matters because different types of tissue burn different numbers of calories per day per pound. For example, in general, muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. How much more, however, depends on whether or not your muscles are being used. Muscles in action burn many more calories than muscles at rest. As you’ll notice the Harris-Benedict calculations don’t take movement into account.
In general, men have a higher percentage of muscle than women. Having more muscle, particularly active muscle, means that men have a higher calorie requirement than do women…..in general.
But what about a woman who is very muscled in comparison with a man who is not? In this case, the woman is likely to need more daily calories than the man, as long as they have a similar activity level.
When men and women weigh the same and have the same percentage of muscle, their calorie needs are similar.