Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) Calculator (Forbes Health)

Posted: Sep 27, 2022 in In the News

This article was originally published in Forbes Health on September 27, 2022.


If you’re looking for an accurate estimate of how many calories your body burns daily, consider calculating your total daily energy expenditure, or TDEE. Using science-backed calculation methods, TDEE estimates the amount of energy (or number of calories) your body burns over a 24-hour period, factoring in how much energy it uses while at rest, your typical level of physical activity and the thermic effect of food metabolism.

You can get an accurate estimate of your TDEE by using the Forbes Health TDEE Calculator below, which was created under the guidance of Forbes Health Advisory Board members. Select the gender that most closely matches your hormonal makeup and enter your age, height, weight and activity level to see an estimate of how calories your body burns daily.

The Forbes Health TDEE Calculator estimates the number of calories your body burns daily based on your basal metabolic rate (BMR), an activity multiplier that reflects how much you exercise in a given week and the thermic effect of food. It utilizes the Mifflin-St Jeor equation to provide these calculations, as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) suggests it’s the most accurate method for estimating basal metabolic activity.

What Is TDEE?

Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) estimates how many calories your body burns daily by accounting for three major contributing factors: your basal metabolic rate (BMR), your activity level and the thermic effect of food metabolism.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Basal metabolic rate (BMR) estimates the number of calories your body burns over a 24-hour period while at rest. For your body to be truly “at rest,” your digestive system must be inactive, which typically requires a 12-hour fasting period, and your external environment needs to be a neutral temperature. BMR comprises the largest portion of most people’s TDEE.

Activity Level

The more you move your body on a regular basis, the more energy it consumes to maintain its baseline. People who exercise regularly or maintain a very active job or lifestyle generally burn more calories daily than someone who exercises less often and maintains a fairly sedentary job or lifestyle.

The Forbes Health TDEE calculator uses the following ranges to help determine the appropriate activity multiplier for you:

  • Sedentary: Little or no exercise
  • Lightly active: Exercise one to three days a week
  • Moderately active: Exercise three to five days a week
  • Active: Exercise six to seven days a week
  • Very active: Hard exercise six to seven days a week

Thermic Effect of Food

The thermic effect of food is the amount of energy your body uses to metabolize the food you eat. The Mifflin-St Jeor equation used in the calculator above accounts for this estimated contribution to your body’s daily calorie burn.

How Is TDEE Calculated?

There are several equations you can use to calculate your TDEE, but the Forbes Health TDEE Calculator uses the Mifflin-St Jeor equation because experts from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) consider it to be the most accurate. It first estimates your basal metabolic rate (BMR) based on your gender, age, height and weight inputs. Then, it determines the appropriate activity multiplier based on your activity level input, providing an estimate of your TDEE.


More ACE in the News