What is your TDEE?

Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is the calories your body burns daily. It's based on three components. The first is your basal energy expenditure (BEE). The second is something called the thermic effect of food (TEF). The third is the calories your body expends during physical activity, which is referred to as the thermic effect of physical activity (TEPA). These three components determine your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

The first component, basal energy expenditure (BEE), is the daily calories expended to keep your body alive. It includes the calories used to perform essential functions like breathing, keeping your heart beating, and maintaining a constant body temperature. You would burn these calories if you stayed in bed all day and did nothing. It varies for each person and is influenced by sex, age, height, and weight. It does not consider the energy needed for physical activity, exercise, or food digestion.

The second component, the thermic effect of food (TEF), refers to the energy our bodies expend while digesting food. It takes energy to break down food, absorb nutrients, and convert it into usable energy. As a result, we burn approximately 10% of our daily caloric intake through digestion. For instance, in a balanced macronutrient diet of 2000 calories, your body will burn around 200 calories solely for digestion.

The third component, the thermic effect of physical activity (TEPA), refers to the energy expended in your daily physical activities. As a result, the calories burned during physical activities must be included when calculating total daily energy expenditure. The amount of energy expended in a day varies from person to person and depends on individual factors.

Generally, basal energy expenditure is the most significant component comprising 50 to 65% of your daily energy requirements. The thermic effect of digesting your food is a minor component comprising only 10% of your daily energy requirements. Depending on how active you are, about 30 to 50% of your daily energy requirement could come from your physical activities.

In summary, when our body is in energy balance, we consume as many calories as we expend, most of which supports our basal metabolism. Some calories are used to digest food, and the remainder provides us the energy to be physically active and carry out our daily activities.

Daily energy requirements will vary with each person. In addition to age, weight, height, and sex, your genetics, the type and amount of bacteria in your gut, and your body composition affect your body's ability to utilize the energy extracted from food. Given these contributing factors, no single diet type can suit everyone.

To calculate your total daily energy expenditure, visit TDEE Calculator for All Ages. Enter some basic information about yourself and your activity level, and the calculator will estimate the number of calories you burn each day.