BMI Base Calorie Numbers

I'm curious - why is the base calorie amount given on the BMI calculator always so much lower than the 2000 calories that is always given as a recommended daily intake on food packets etc? The percentages on food packets are always based on a base number of 2000 (for women) but I've yet to come across anyone who's base rate actually comes out at 2000 on the BMI calculator. What's going on with this? Am I missing something?


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18 Replies

  • I'm not an expert but I imagine this is because the NHS calculation is in order to give you an energy intake amount that you need to have enough nutrition for normal functions but low enough so that you lose weight. In contrast the food packaging is probably showing you an intake for a healthy weight, non-sedentary active woman of average height?

  • But you seem to get the same low result on other BMI calculators whether you are intending to try to lose weight or not?

  • Interesting. Did you try to enter numbers until 2000 show up? Maybe its just an outdated guideline and changing it would have more disadvantages than advantages for the diet industry. 😂

    Eg Active Female 5ft 7 and 12st 12 can eat 2000!

  • No I didn't. Trying no to get into conspiracy theory mode, but it's starting to seem that way! I come up as having a healthy BMI, although I still have a stone to lose, but it's telling me I should only eat 1478 to maintain. :S

  • Why don't you eat 1478 for a week or so and see how your weight responds?

  • I don't think I want to risk it. Maybe I'll do some experimenting when I make it to my target weight. 🤔

  • How many calories are you eating at the moment?

  • I'm doing 5:2, so it's not that straight forward. I try to aim for the 1200 mark on between days, but I'm not massively strict. I generally just try my best to eat healthy with as many veggies as possible.

  • That sounds quite low 😕 are you losing weight?

  • I don't actually know, I haven't weighed for a while. I keep being bad on weekends though (which I'm trying to stop), so I haven't been sticking to it then.

    I really hate weighing, even if I find out I've lost weight I feel depressed by the rest of the numbers so I only weigh every few weeks rather than every week. My jeans feel looser though.

  • I try really hard not to focus on the numbers on the scales Pseud0nym

    Inches/clothes/general fitness and how you feel inside, health wise, are far more important.

    I firmly believe that trying to cut back too strictly results in a backlash binge . . . Could you try eating at around the 1500 figure for a week or so and see how you go? Or even 1300-1400 and save a few for weekends?

    You are obviously doing something right if your clothes feel better, so it's just small tweaks now 😊

  • I'm happy with what I'm doing now, the trouble on weekends is related to socialising more than anything else.

  • Are you confusing drinking alcohol with socialising?

  • I barely drink, so nope. I meant trouble as in eating too much, because once I go out for a meal I tend to eat too much the rest of the day too.

  • Ah, my bad.

  • The NHS BMI checker calculates the calories you need to lose weight to get to a healthy BMI, then it won't suggest a calorie target.

    I suspect the 2000 is a very average figure, a daily deficit of 500 is suggested to lose weight, resulting in a figure of 1500.

    I personally don't think going much lower than this is recommended, I am not very tall and quite sedentary, yet lose weight on 1300-1400, and maintain at 1500-1600. 😊

  • Thanks Anna, yes this 500 is a good value to have in mind.

  • I'm in healthy BMI range, and mine comes up at 1478. Do you think it would it still be trimming 500 off to get me lower into the healthy BMI category?

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