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Harris Benedict Equation



Weight loss is an issue that is very near and dear to a lot of us. Studies show that a majority of people at some point in life have been unhappy with their appearance and attempted to change that via weight loss. This often never works as people look for get skinny quick schemes which often don’t work, and any actual weight loss is put back on as the consumer never actually learned how to live within their body’s means.

The Harris-Benedict equation (or formula) is a way in which we can calculate the number of calories required to keep our bodies running. Calories are what our bodies use to run and without them we would not function and eventually die of malnutrition. Everything we eat has calories in it; some foods have more than others, which can make keeping track difficult.

Our bodies require a set amount of these calories to run; if we do a lot of exercise then we need more calories (as our body is burning through them faster). Someone in an office job which involves sitting all day would require fewer calories as they would not be considered very active.



The Harris-Benedict equation takes into account the amount of energy we use when not doing any task. It’s the amount of energy we require when sitting or laying down; this variable is referred to as the basal metabolic rate (or BMR) and is the base of the equation. This BMR rate is used to calculate the number of calories we require to simply survive.

Our activity is then taken into the equation and the amount of calories required is increased as out activity level does. This resulting number is the amount of calories we need to consume to simply keep our current weight. There are plenty of available calculators for women and men available on the internet to help you calculate BMR - instantly, and for free.

We actually know how many calories are in each pound of fat in our bodies. If you use the Harris Benedict formula to calculate how many calories you need to maintain your weight you can use it to aid in weight loss.

For example, if you cut your calorie intake by 1000 (off the weight maintenance amount) each day then you would lose one pound of body fat every three days. This scientific approach to weight loss when used with a carefully planned diet can initially show you how to lose the weight and then keep it off by sticking to the recommended amount of calories each day.


* This concept received some much deserved attention recently on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. The host, Chris Powell, gave one of his trainer tips, with a plug for the Harris Benedict Equation, touting that it "Gives you your daily calorie burn. So you know how many calories you can take in." It's great exposure for the Harris Benedict formula!