We have spent some time on this blog talking about ways Wolfram|Alpha‘s nutrition and wellness data can be useful tools in your everyday life, such as by computing the nutritional value of your favorite recipe and identifying a healthy body weight. Some of you have since asked how you can use Wolfram|Alpha to understand your body’s caloric needs to maintain a healthy body. With all of the talk surrounding the latest fad diets and nutrition programs, information about our bodies’ basic needs often gets lost in the noise.
You can estimate your body’s daily caloric needs by computing your basal metabolic rate (BMR) within Wolfram|Alpha. Your BMR is the estimated number of calories (energy) your body expends when at complete rest—in other words, your daily caloric needs just to operate your vital organs, nervous system, muscles, and skin. BMR varies based on your age, gender, height, and weight, and needs to be recalculated whenever one of these factors changes. As your physical activity increases through routine movements, and exercise, the number of calories your body needs increases.
When you enter “basal metabolic rate” into the Wolfram|Alpha computation bar, you will be prompted to enter your gender, age in years, weight, and height. Wolfram|Alpha will then calculate the number of calories your body needs to perform vital functions daily, and list your estimated total daily energy expenditure for each of five basic activity levels. Below is an example of a BMR calculation for a 27-year-old male who weighs 154 pounds and is 5’8″ tall. The energy expenditure chart indicates that if he is moderately active, his body requires an estimated 2649 calories per day.
This is just one method of determining your body’s caloric needs and is only an estimate. In a future post, we’ll show you how to calculate your daily food intake in Wolfram|Alpha to help you stay on track to meeting your body’s nutritional needs.