Hello. I am a 24 year old 250 pound male trying to lose weight. I read online I need 2500 calories a day and I read I should eat 500 calories less a day. Is it safe to drop my calorie intake to 1500?

Hello and thank you for submitting your question!

The total number of calories you need each day depends on many individual factors besides your age and weight, such as your height and level of physical activity.Your body needs an adequate amount of calories to function properly, and consuming 1,500 calories a day may be not be safe nor an appropriate amount for you. If you eat fewer calories than your body needs for long-term, you may be putting your health at risk. Decades of research also show a majority of people who engage in restrictive eating habits are more likely to regain the weight they lost.3 

I encourage you to ask your doctor for a referral to consult with a registered dietitian who can work with you more closely to help meet your goals and determine the amount of calories is both adequate and nourishing for you. While it is important to consider the calories in your food and beverages, it is also important to consider the quality. Paying attention to diet quality (i.e. nutritional value of foods and beverages) can guide you in making more mindful and healthier food choices to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.2 High-quality foods includes a colorful variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy sources of fat and protein. Check out this Lifestyle page to help you get started: Eat fewer packaged foods, and eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Your diet is only one part of a healthy lifestyle. There are many things you can do to improve your overall health, such as being more physically active and getting a good night sleep. Visit our Lifestyle pages for more tips you can start today for long-term health and wellness!   

Hope this helps!


1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines

2. “The Best Diet: Quality Counts.” Obesity Prevention Source, 15 Mar. 2018. Accessed January 8, 2019. www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/best-diet-quality-count

3. Bacon, Linda. Health At Every Size: the Surprising Truth about Your Weight. Dallas, TX :BenBella Books, 2010. Print.